Home Activities Here is the reason, why do clocks run clockwise?

Here is the reason, why do clocks run clockwise?


Have you ever notice, when it’s your last class of the day, time decides to slow down as compared when you when you woke up in the morning. You don’t really pay attention to it but have you ever wondered why the hands of a clock always move in the clockwise direction and not counter-clockwise? The reason is much more simple than you might think.

Our ancestors had a readily available timepiece and its called sun. Not the sun exactly, but shadows. Some smart ancient Egyptians came up with the idea of using these shadows to determine the time of the day.

But Greeks were the first ones to create what we call a ‘sundial’. A typical sundial usually is made up of a wedge or a rod (called gnomon), which casts a shadow on a plane surface.

The answer is also related to the fact that for some odd reason, much of human civilization evolved and progressed in the Northern Hemisphere. If you look directly at the North Pole from space, the Earth would appear to be spinning counterclockwise.

This means that on Earth, anything placed in the Northern hemisphere parallel to Earth’s axis will cast a shadow that rotates in a clockwise direction.

So when Egyptians and Babylonians were fashioning their first shadow clocks around 3,500 BC, they saw the shadows turn clockwise.

And since that shadow moved from north to east to south to west as the sun traveled, the trend was taken up with the mechanical clocks as well in the 14th century Europe.

So now when you use your wrist or wall clock, you’ll know that it signifies something very historic and fascinating, and is a reminiscence of the cultural heritage of the ancient civilizations.

If you have any suggestions about this reason, do comments below.


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