Famous Clocks Around The World – Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

The world is full of famous examples of clocks, usually massive towers such as Big Ben that stand not just to tell the time but also as a symbol of the area they’re in. Big Ben, as an example, is more than a clock tower but also a symbol of London. However not all of the world’s most famous clocks are such shining beacons on the cityscape or horizon. Sometimes the famous clocks sit under a roof and are nowhere near as large as Big Ben, but still manage to carry that same sense of grandeur when viewed by others, simply because whatever makes them famous is truly impressive.

The Third Generation

The Strasbourg Astronomical Clock, for example, is hardly a large clock. It sits in Strasbourg Cathedral and has so since the current one was completed in 1842. The current clock is actually the third one of its type to sit in that spot, showing that there is a long history behind the clocks in the Strasbourg Cathedral, and behind the clock itself that sits there, even if it is the third. Designs from the first two would clearly influence the third, while it’s brought up to date with the modern standards at the time of its construction.

Most Complex In The World

But that is not the most impressive feature of the Strasbourg Astronomical clock. Even today, nearly two centuries after its initial construction, the Strasbourg Astronomical clock is still seen as one of the most complicated clocks in the world. Even aside from all of the automata that surround the clock, it bears several features such as a calendar, a map showing the position of the sun and the moon that still remains extremely accurate, and a device showing lunar and solar eclipses when they happen, all of which was put together in 1842, showing exactly how complicated it must really be that the machines still run accurately today with only maintenance to keep them running.

On top of all of the complicated clockwork that goes into running the clock there are several automatons that are triggered by various times, such as a processions of Christ and his apostles that occurs every day at half past midday, when an automated rooster crows three times. These things all run on their own mechanisms, much like the clock, and haven’t been changed since the initial design, merely kept working through modern maintenance. It’s quite the impressive feat when the amount of time and advancements in time keeping between the modern age and the construction of the clock are considered.

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James Lawler is the author of WhenDoTheClocksGoForward.com, all of the dates times and information about when the clocks go forward from 2012 to 2019 and beyond, including free email reminders for registered visitors.

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