Why Time Is One of Humanity's Greatest and Most Important Inventions

Without the pendulum clock, the Industrial Revolution doesn’t happen. Without the quartz clock, the technology in the digital revolution doesn’t happen. It’s time, weirdly enough, that advanced our world. How?


The pendulum clock (conceived by Galileo, made by Christiaan Huygens) was useful for accurate timekeeping because the time it takes for a pendulum to swing is approximately the same regardless of the size of the pendulum. That means, a pendulum swing could serve as an accurate measurement of time. Before this, time was relatively useless because of how inaccurate it was across people, countries, and the world. This put everyone on the same time, so to speak.

The quartz clock (shout out Pierre and Jacques Curie) was even more accurate, since when electricity is sent through quartz it vibrates at a specific frequency so it can be programmed for exact timekeeping purposes. This is all necessary to coordinate the microprocessors in our computers and technology.


Wendover Productions goes in deeper about how time is so important and why it’s one of man’s greatest inventions in the video below. Well worth the watch (heh).

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Fun fact: some of the earliest mechanical clocks (c. 11th century) were made by Monks who’s religious orders required prayers at specific times of the day and night. These devices had no clock dials; they would simply strike a bell or chime at the required times, waking the Monks for prayer.