WTCB September: Picture Post: Evolution of Time

(Because I’m not doing well on the Photo of the Week front lately; no inspiration.)

I think I’ve gone on enough about time in the previous posts I have tried to sort out how time flows in my novel and how exactly breaking/rewriting time works. Recently, however, when transferring my pictures from my old computer to my new laptop (more hassle than its worth, believe me), I came across a set of pictures too delicious not to share when talking about temporal science.

I came across this exhibition of the styles of clocks through the ages in the British Museum in 2011, and it only recently occurred to me that the people who live in The Continent will have experienced time and temporal measuring in a similarly evolutionary way to the way we have, discovering one step, or piece of the puzzle, at a time.

Timepieces have taken many different forms as technology and fashion have changed…

Of course, as in our world, clocks started out big and bulky, and were only available to the richest. As the below picture shows, standing clocks were made of metal and – in my opinion, anyway – quite ugly. Imagine having this in your living room! It almost looks like an alien! 😛


The table clock was one of the first portable and buyable clocks for households, away from the might of ancestral grandfather clocks and stonework sundials. Table clocks heralded in the days of personal timepieces, though still a century away from the handheld and wrist-worn watches that both Zara and Peter look after. (Unfortunately, I have no direct photos of pocketwatches for this post.)


Generally, one table clock per house is the quota, as a table clock is an expensive piece. As the picture shows – and as the way is in The Continent – table clocks are elaborate and ornate, featuring gold and silver.

(This one looks more like an astrological clock than anything else…)

Clocks moved to a combination of standing and table – a smaller standing clock with the prettiness of the table clock, but the practicality of the standing clock; it is easier to read at a distance, and, thus, less clocks were needed per household. Again, this suggests the downsizing of property and trend of having a clock to read at a suitable distance from one’s self.

Carriage clock and its mechanism. Boo-yeah!

A carriage clock plays the biggest role in the novel. Who knows to whom the clock originally belonged? Phillip bought it with the house – but the transaction occurs beyond relevance; and, as selling occurs without a middle-man, Phillip will have bought the house from its buyer without much question of property within. At least, the third book might unlock some of those secrets. 😉

In The Continent, carriage clocks were invented as a way of reading the time on train journeys, where the motion made standing and table clocks unusable. The carriage clock’s distinguishing feature is, of course, its handle, but, as Aidelle notes, the exact clock in their home is only an imitation carriage clock (like the one I can see on top of the glass cabinet in my living room! 😉 ).

Display about carriage clocks in the real universe.

The carriage clock is not the most modern of the clocks. Certainly, hanging clocks are a more modern invention. Aidelle has a wooden-based one in her old bedroom, and a metallic-like one hangs in the master bedroom. These are in Roman numerals, as the majority of numerals are in The Continent in 2010.

What kind of clocks do you have around? I’ve seen hanging clocks the most, but a trend still exists for keeping antiquated clocks. Which is your favourite of the replicas in the above pictures?

More on time and clocks:

Things I love: A fascination With Time

A Little Bit More About Time



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