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x0x Tick tock, tick tock; imperial clock

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  • TRH
    x0x Tick tock, tick tock; imperial clock collections in Istanbul [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqi_al-Din and
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2007
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      x0x Tick tock, tick tock; imperial clock collections in Istanbul

      [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqi_al-Din and
      http://phys-sun-1.phys.boun.edu.tr/~semiz/universe/near/04.html ]

      Saat1- The observatory of Takiyuddin Mehmet where
      students are being taught astronomy. The
      astronomical clock is most likely the instrument
      on the right side of the carpet in the miniature.
      Saat2- The clock tower at the entrance to
      Dolmabahce Palace. Saat3- One of the ornate 19th
      century clocks at Dolmabahce Palace.

      Clocks as we more or less know them today started
      with the invention of the gear, credited to
      Archimedes in the third century BC History tells
      us the Fatih Sultan Mehmed asked that a clock
      maker be sent from Venice in 1477. But it seems
      that the first Ottoman clock maker may have been
      the famous Takiyuddin Mehmet (1521-1585) who built
      the first observatory for the Ottomans


      ISTANBUL Turkish Daily News

      "So that's what time is," are supposed to have
      been the last words that the famous mathematician
      Albert Einstein spoke before he died - leads a
      person to wonder if we'll all be able to find out
      what time is at that point.

      We all know that time is considered the fourth
      dimension, that we consider it to progress in
      linear fashion, that our lives are ruled by it, at
      least in Western cultures, that it seems to go by
      too quickly.

      The first device used to tell time must have been
      something like a crude sundial, a simple
      instrument that used the position of the sun to
      determine hours. Even today one can occasionally
      find a sundial in a garden where it serves a
      decorative purpose or as in the cartoon strip
      "Garfield" a useful perch for the birds that
      bedevil that cat's life.

      Over the centuries other means of "telling time"
      included candles that burned fairly steadily and
      were marked at regular intervals to show how many
      hours had passed. Or water running from one
      receptacle into another at a steady pace and known
      as a clepsydra was developed and used by the
      Greeks. The hourglass came into existence only
      long after the discovery of how to make glass.

      Clocks as we more or less know them today started
      with the invention of the gear, credited to
      Archimedes in the third century B.C. The ensuing
      centuries saw further development and refinement
      to the point that clocks were made small enough to
      fit in houses and eventually were so small that
      they could be put in peoples' pockets.

      Muslims and time:

      Muslims were greatly interested in keeping
      accurate observations as it was important for them
      to know the times of prayer and the days when
      special events of a religious nature took place
      such as the beginning and ending of the month of
      fasting, Ramadan. Even in pre-Muslim times, the
      Arabs were fascinated with mathematics and
      astronomy. Yet we read that the early Muslims
      determined the time for morning and night prayers
      by whether or not they could distinguish between a
      white and black thread. If they could, it was
      daybreak or night had not yet fallen. In modern
      times with the division of the world into time
      zones to facilitate business, a Muslim in the
      western part of a time zone the way Turkey is
      should end up breaking his fast even though the
      darkness has only fallen in the eastern part of
      the country. So Muslim Turks are reminded on
      television, radio and the newspapers of the exact
      minute they may start in the evening and stop
      eating at daybreak.

      The clepsydra was prevalent throughout the Middle
      East in pre-Muslim times and urban Muslims who had
      access to sufficient water readily adopted it. The
      sundial of course stayed in use. The astrolabe was
      developed early on because it was of great use to
      sailors in determining their course when out of
      sight of land and it told them the time of day in
      addition to providing such measurements as the
      heights of mountains and depths of wells.

      But the development of clocks such as we know them
      today comes from the West. Before then, people in
      the West could tell time because church bells
      would ring the hours for prayer - something no
      longer heeded by anyone except people in
      monasteries and convents - much like the muezzin
      did and still does in the Middle East. Time for
      Muslims is still measured in prayer services and
      the intervals between them while time in the west
      ceased to be the intervals between prayers and
      became the amount of time needed to complete
      tasks, to think through new and even daring ideas
      and to travel from one place to another without
      having to stop everything to pray. Time became the
      measure of life in the West. Clocks began to
      measure slices of time always in smaller
      increments " from hours to seconds to today's

      Much is known about the development of clock
      making in Europe although the origin of the first
      mechanical clock is shrouded in the Dark Ages.
      Speculation has it that monasteries developed this
      type of clock so that they would not miss prayer
      services held at night. Such famous names as
      Copernicus and Galileo have been associated with
      further developments.

      It wasn't long before clocks were taken to other
      countries, including the Ottoman Empire, as
      purchases or gifts. These were meant for the
      rulers or ruling classes of the country involved.
      It was not just that clocks were imported into the
      Empire; the technology also seems to have been

      Clocks, clocks and more clocks:

      There are two major collections, one at Topkapi
      Palace and one at Dolmabahce Palace. The Topkapi
      clocks and watches number 376 and date back as far
      as the 16th century while the Dolmabahce
      collection has 158 clocks and watches from Turkish
      and European origin. And the south entrance to the
      palace has an imposing, ornate clock tower between
      the gate and Dolmabahce Mosque.

      Clocks are known to have been manufactured in
      Istanbul from the 15th century and four examples
      are to be found in the Topkapi Palace Museum

      After the conquest of Constantinople, history
      tells us the Fatih Sultan Mehmet asked that a
      clock maker be sent from Venice in 1477. But it
      seems that the first Ottoman clock maker may have
      been the famous Takiyuddin Mehmet (1521-1585) who
      built the first observatory for the Ottomans. The
      clock, however, seems to have been an astronomical
      clock designed to fix the locations of heavenly
      bodies and was more accurate than any previously

      Other watchmakers came from Europe and settled in
      the Galata region where they worked and also
      trained Turks to make clocks as well. Some of the
      latter were employed at Topkapi Palace in the
      workshops there.

      The clock and watch collection at Topkapi is of
      Turkish, German, Austrian, English, French, Swiss
      and Russian origin. The types run the whole gamut
      from the so-called skeleton clocks to table, wall
      and even musical types, jewel-encrusted and gold
      framed with beautifully hand-painted decorations.
      Although some were purchased, many were presented
      as gifts such as the one we know Queen Elizabeth I
      of England sent to Sultan Murat III in 1583.

      Although acquired later, the collection at
      Dolmabahce Palace was restored and put on exhibit
      not too long ago. The oldest clock is only 250
      years old and shows 64 hours while the most recent
      is from the 19th century.

      One doesn't have to be a specialist in clocks and
      watches to appreciate the work that went into
      these pieces. Some are of curious shape such as
      the one made in the shape of a pistol or are part
      of an organ. Then there is the table clock
      presented to Sultan Abdulhamid II by Russia's Czar
      Nicholas and decorated by the famous Faberge.

      Today people seem to prefer electronic timepieces
      and there is such a lack of interest in the normal
      wristwatches, that a number of watchmakers have
      abandoned making them. They have however continued
      their very expensive lines such as the $100,000
      watch that made news in the Turkish newspapers
      recently. After all our mobile telephones,
      computers and even television give us the time.

      Copyright 2007, Turkish Daily News. This article is redistributed with
      permission for personal use of TurkC-L readers. No part of this article
      may be reproduced, further distributed or archived without the prior
      permission of the publisher. Contact: Turkish Daily News Online on the
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      matters please contact tdn-f@...
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