Clocks and Culture: 1300-1700
How did a time-keeping device affect the growth of crafts guilds and the scientific research that led to the Industrial Revolution? Clocks and Culture is a brief history of the changes wrought by and on Europe over four hundred years due to technological advances in timekeeping and the rise of a time-aware culture. In his introduction, Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam Univers...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published February 1st 1978)
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Another one I read a long time ago - it was a real surprise - the title doesn't sound very promising, but it was fascinating. The development of reliable time-keeping devices had a revolutionary impact on society, and we’re unlikely to grasp the significance from our perspective on this side of the revolution without a book like this. It was a good read, and an enlightening one.
Have you ever thought about what time really is? Is time rooted in the physical world? Have you ever thought about the history of measuring time? Man has been attempting to master time and cut it up into finer and finer pieces since before recorded history. First there were the calendars agricultural societies used to track the sun, the phases of the moon, and the solstices and equinoxes. Then there were the sun dials, some of which measured hours and attempted to account for longitude. The wate...more
Companion to Cannons and Sails, short and very legible essay. Great mix of social history, economic history, curiosities, and deep insights into the development of technology in different social, economic and cultural conditions. Interesting that as he makes a very anti-technological determinism argument, he cites Lynn White a lot. It's probably time to go to the source and read what was White argument exactly. Anyway, proof that academic writing doesn't have to be an endless punishment to read....more
There are better, more comprehensive histories of timekeeping. I prefer Landes' REVOLUTION IN TIME, or Dohrn-van Rossum's HISTORY OF THE HOUR. Although, like those books, Cipolla does not really give a sense of the contentiousness of the emergence of the modern time system, or how slowly clocks were accepted as the arbiters of time.