Christiaan Huygens

In pursuit of a sea clock, Christiaan Huygens, a mathematician from the Netherlands, changed timekeeping forever. He patented the first working pendulum clock in 1656 and later devised a watch regulator called a balance spring. These inventions became standard components for keeping good time.

Pendulum clocks immediately became the best timekeepers for use on land. But several sea trials demonstrated to Huygens that the pendulum clock would never work accurately on a heaving ship’s deck.

Caption:
This Dutch mathematician patented the first working pendulum clock in 1656 and later devised a watch regulator called a balance spring. These inventions changed timekeeping forever.
Type: Illustration
Credit: Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Origin: Smithsonian Institution
SIL14-H006-17a
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This Dutch mathematician patented the first working pendulum clock in 1656 and later devised a watch regulator called a balance spring. These inventions changed timekeeping forever.