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Wall Clocks Are Useful And Beautiful

By Clyde Kaufman

A wall clock is an important and central feature in most homes. They provide great value by helping keep tabs on our schedules and obligations, and can provide a beautiful focal piece for a room’s design aesthetic.

The common design for a clock is the classic white circle separated into twelve equal-sized wedges. The lines delimiting each wedge are marked with a simple line or a numeral representing the twelve hours that make up the morning (A. M. Hours) and the twelve hours of the evening (P. M. Hours). Two arms on the clock rotate through those hour marks. The short arm represents the hour, and the long arm represents the minutes. (Calculating the minutes requires multiplying the number marked by the arm by 5. For example, when the long arm is on the 3, the time is fifteen minutes after the hour.) Arms’ motion gives rise to the colloquial term “clockwise”.

In technical parlance, the device that most of us are used to – if it simply keeps time, but doesn’t make any noises – is a “timepiece”. A “clock” is the timekeeping device that makes a noise to mark the hours and various increments thereof. These clocks might play a song, a simple chime, or gong or bell. (When a bell or gong is involved, the device is called a “striking clock”.) The common forms of these noise-making devices are the German cuckoo clock, or the large-scale grandfather clock.

Timekeeping devices have evolved throughout history. The first were water clocks and sundials. A sundial displays the time by a tracking a shadow across the face of the dial. The water clock involves liquids pouring between two vessels. Both of these early clocks were ultimately replaced by mechanized, electronic, and digital clocks to make-up for technical shortcomings.

There are many famous clocks in the world. Probably the most notable is Big Ben at Westminster in London, England. The world’s largest is the Cosmo Clock 21, a giant ferris wheel in Yokohama, Japan. The directors at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists created a graphical representation – the Doomsday Clock – to demonstrate the likelihood of a globally cataclysmic event such as nuclear war.

Many communities have built clock towers as symbols of local pride at community gathering places. San Francisco created such a local focal point in the Ferry Building at the intersection of Market Street and the Embarcadero. Colleges also use these towers as symbolic centers. The University of California, Berkeley is the home of Sather Tower, also called the Campanile, modeled after the tower in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy.

Clocks are important creative features providing a valuable timekeeping function. When choosing a wall clock, it’s important to make a selection that services your creative and practical needs.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Kaufman, Clyde "Wall Clocks Are Useful And Beautiful." Wall Clocks Are Useful And Beautiful. 26 Aug. 2010. 24 Aug 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Kaufman, C (2010, August 26). Wall Clocks Are Useful And Beautiful. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Kaufman, Clyde "Wall Clocks Are Useful And Beautiful"

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