Pascal’s watch The French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) not only invented one of the first mechanical calculators, he’s also the first person described as wearing a wristwatch. He reportedly tied his pocket watch to his wrist. —thoughtco.com
You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.
Can you imagine a world without wristwatches? In this day and age, it’s actually pretty easy to live without a watch, considering a good majority of us have advanced tech like our phones and the internet to tell us what time it is. Our technology is so advanced, we can even know what time it is on the other side of the world with just a few clicks. But for the older generations, they’d probably prefer a good ol’ wristwatch over our fancy electronics any day.
But who invented the wristwatch? It had to have come from somewhere. The true origins of the wristwatch are a little murky, but we are able to find a few instances where people had some pretty neat ideas that have helped to make what our modern wristwatches are today. Most likely in the mid-1600’s, Blaise Pascal was the very first person said to wear a watch on his wrist, tied with a piece of string. But portable watches weren’t a new concept. In fact, they had been around for at least 100 years already, if not longer.
The first portable “pocket” watch was said to be created in 1504 by a man named Peter Henlein, though other sources claim the pocket watch had been around since as early as the 1450’s. Roughly around the same time, a man named Pierre II Woeiriot published his book containing watch designs, one of which was for a ring watch. (Source Link) Later on, other sources mention a gift presented to Queen Elizabeth I, a luxury arm or bracelet watch, given to her by Earl Robert Dudley in 1571.
A feat of early mechanical engineering, wristwatches were a novelty of the time. However, they weren’t very precise. You could either have an accurate timepiece or a small one. Having to incorporate such small parts to fit nicely on the wrist and having them keep accurate time was near impossible. It wasn’t until in the late 1650’s, with the help of Christiaan Huygens’s and Robert Hooke’s invention of the spiral spring balance and Huygens’s pendulum clock, that watches became more accurate.
So, the next time you look at your watch or your calculator, remember Pascal. He invented very helpful tools that have lasted for centuries. Plato, a famous philosopher, said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If you ever find yourself in need of something and wonder, “Why don’t they have a ___? (fill in the bank). Look at it as an opportunity for exploration. Perhaps in time you, too, will invent something very useful for society.
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