In this day and age, everyone knows what time it is. Time is displayed on your microwave, DVD player, and of course your cell phone. I can’t remember the last time I put a watch on or looked at analog clock on the wall. Visiting the American Clock & Watch Museum [100 Maple St, Bristol, CT 06010] is like stepping back into time, to see where it all began.
The museum is dedicated to exploring horology, the study of timekeeping and timekeepers – a fascinating relic whose romance is fading in today’s society.
The location of the museum couldn’t be more suiting, Connecticut is the historic heart of American clock making and the emphasis of the museum surrounds the very manufacturing area.
On display there are 1,500 clocks and watches of all kinds, truly works of art.
You’ll find grandfather clocks, banjo clocks, and hickory dickory docks – where the mouse really does climb up the clock.
I found the collection of watch keys to be interesting, never even dreaming of a time before 1875 – where almost all watches were made with a key to wind the time.
Every hour, on the hour, there is a cacophony of clocks clamoring, be sure to listen in the main room.
Many clocks are one of a kind, obscure, and beautiful. The paper mache clocks,
spring driven clocks,
and globe clocks which are read by revolving rings on the north pole and equator.
Japanese way of telling time is different from our own, where hours do not depend on the standard 60 minutes, but periods of time that change in duration coordinated with sunset to sunrise.
Times change, however and new advances occur. Learn about Eli Terry, the father of American clock making and pioneer of their mass production in the country. Before his innovation, clocks were made by apprentices who had to study the trade for years, their prices so steep only the upper class could afford them. Terry’s ingenuity created interchangeable parts, a catalyst for the industrial revolution. The craft and artistry of time pieces may be a part of the past, but the beautiful relics live on within this museum.