Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?

I know, I know, this may sound stupid, but have you ever really wondered why do clocks run… clockwise? I mean, they could have been designed to run the other way round (in which case that would be called clockwise), right?

To understand why clocks move clockwise, we have to look back on how people used to tell time. From around 1500 BC up until a few hundred years ago, the main device that people used to tell time was the sundial. The sundial is an incredibly simple device that uses a stick to capture the sun’s movement according to the shadow of the stick:

Photo: Creative Commons

Because the Earth rotates both on its axis as well as around the sun in a counter-clockwise direction, from the Earth’s point of view, the sun appears to move in a clockwise direction. Therefore, the shadow of the sundial will always move in a clockwise direction. (the article continues after the ad)

Since for thousands of years people used to tell time by watching the shadow of the sundial move in this direction, the first clocks replicated this movement but with no apparent reason other than this being the ‘natural thing’; clocks could have been designed to run counter-clockwise and it would have made no difference at all.

And this is why clocks run clockwise.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is Why A Minute Has 60 Seconds And A Full Circle Is 360 Degrees 

Photo: Meadows & Passmore, Creative Commons

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