Clock Moon Dial History

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Clock Moon Dial History

The phase of the moon is still popular on modern mechanical clock movements. It is interesting to know the clock moon dial history as to why and when the it became such a popular feature to add to grandfather clocks.

Why it began

In the late 1600's traveling took awhile and was also hazardous at night when it was dark. The people would depend on the light of the moon to see what they are doing when they were out.

The phase of the moon function was an addition to the floor clocks for this purpose. People could make travel plans with the moon light helping them to see.


In the 1700's clocks began to have the hump on the top of the clock dial for the moon phase. The dial arch was able to accommodate the lunar display disk.

The moon was painted on the disk and the disk would rotate once a month. It was a simple and practical addition to the clock.

Alternate Animations in the Clock moon dial History

Some clock dials with the arch were made with alternate animations besides the moon phase. Ships and jumping deer figures among other things would rock back and forth. These animations did not have any practical functionality as the phase of the moon did.

It was a simple design in connection to the pendulum motion. With the swing of the pendulum, the animation would rock.

That is the history of the clock moon dial in its simplest form. It is always interesting to see how people live and rely so heavily on their clocks back then.

In the days of outhouses and traveling with horse and buggy, a clock was an important appliance.

The content of this website is copyright by Clockworks and written by James Stoudenmire in year 2022

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