Japanese clock

wisty

Registered User
Dec 24, 2014
105
61
28
Country
Very nice clock. Probably somewhat rare. It almost certainly dates from before 1872 when the Meiji rulers changed Japanese time from a system that divided the day into 6 periods and the night into six over to the standard 24 hour system. The old system meant that the length of the "hours" varies depending on the season (days long in summer & nights shorter, vice versa in winter). So the clocks from pre 1872 needed to be adjustable to allow for the variations. Yours has two foliots one of which will have controlled the day light timekeeping, and one the nighttime. The Foliots are also adjustable to cope with the seasonal variation. There will be a mechanism to switch between the foliots every 6 periods.

I was told when I got my stick clock that after 1873, when the rules came into force, to ensure everyone switched, the ownership of such clock was made a capital offence - so they went out of favour FAST. But I don't have a source to confirm that.

Wikipedia has a brief article on Japanese timekeeping, illustrated with a smaller desk clock similar to yours.

Very envious.
 

zedric

NAWCC Member
Aug 8, 2012
2,077
483
83
Country
Region
Nice to have the stand. It looks like the bell is original, it should have a slightly wider rim at the base than elsewhere
 

remo87

Registered User
Aug 5, 2020
46
70
18
35
Country
Thanks!
Is more precise dating of the Japanese clocks possible?
 

wisty

Registered User
Dec 24, 2014
105
61
28
Country
Yes is the simple answer. There are experts who can date them based on various characteristics. I am not one of them!
Search Dai-dokei, which is the transliteration for that style of clock, will get you lots of information. If you can read Japanese, the clock may even be signed somewhere.
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,534
479
83
Country
A must have book, Japanese Clocks, N H N Mody, published by Charles Tuttle Co.

Many of the early clocks had iron mechanisms, gears, frames, pinions… the gears and frame were lacquered black. There may have been exceptions?

Ralph
 
  • Like
Reactions: PatH

Robert Gift

Registered User
Nov 12, 2012
495
47
28
Denver, Colorado
Country
Region
Wonderful!
Hope that you lubricateverything and get it running and video if you do not wanto keep it running.

Can the rotating/oscillating weight method be accurate?
 

Forum statistics

Threads
177,457
Messages
1,555,187
Members
53,575
Latest member
dlfuller
Encyclopedia Pages
909
Total wiki contributions
3,053
Last edit
Ptolemy's Course of the Planets displayed by CLockwork by Tom McIntyre