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The Relationship of Horology to Natural Law


This piece was written well before the relativity and atomic theory in general were well known.  Interesting stuff, and, other than the watch history, just about completely wrong...

From The American Horologist magazine, November 1936

The Relationship of Horology to Natural Law


RELATIVE Magnetic Density is the basis of all law and the reason why the earth stays an average of 93,000,000 miles from the sun is that there are two sets of atoms, one positive and attracting and the other negative and repelling. As long as there are equal numbers of each of these atoms the earth will remain as it is, but should the negative atoms diminish it would be drawn closer to the sun as would all the other planets. On the other hand, just the opposite would happen if the positive atoms diminished. So perfectly do these atoms function in their passage back and forth to the sun that the earth does not deviate from its path a second in 10,000 years. These atoms are so small that 900,000 of them can revolve on the point of a pin. They are said to be the basis of all power, light, life and energy. Everything is controlled by them and if under perfect control, will function perfectly. If you could make a perfect watch it would keep perfect time.  Because it isn't entirely perfect is why it fails to run perfect.


In 1730, Graham invented the dead beat escapement and discovered the natural law of that class of escapement and with some refinements it stands today, although first applied to a clock, as the peer of all practical escapements for both clocks and watches. It was applied to a watch by Thomas Mudge.  Phillips, the noted horologist, discovered that the relative expansion of brass and steel was 74 parts of steel to 121 of brass and thus was perfected the bimetalic balance. The only apparent improvement to that seemed to be in the quest for a metal wherein expansion and contraction would be nil and invar appears to have met that requirement.  The mercury pendulum and the gridiron pendulum were discovered for the same purpose and invar seems to have also been the answer to temperature adjustment in clocks. The side pull and excessive pivot friction of the flat hairspring was disastrous to accurate time in watches and the brequet solved that difficulty fairly well until the quest for something more perfect brought about the inner terminal hairspring which seems to have eliminated side friction as far as possible. It is not always advisable to"make watches the most perfect way as they are too difficult for the average man to keep in repair.


I haven't the space to elaborate farther on the various discoveries of Natural Law that have served to bring about that high state of perfection now existing in our modern timepieces. It must be apparent to the most ordinary horologist that a study and even a partial knowledge of natural law is necessary to an understanding of applied horology.

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