Jost Burgi

Modersohn

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The following is a quote from a post by David Creed on this MB from late 2004:

[Jost Burgi] invented the minute hand, logarthms and the crossbeat escapement. I have been in touch with the editor of the clocks magazine UK and he is willing to publish the outcome of my findings. For anyone not familiar with Jost Burgi he was making precision clocks in the 1570s, Dave

/////

I was infact coincidentally wondering about the invention of the minute as a unit of measurement and a facet of a dial. In reading about Bernhard Walther, who used the teeth of a gear to measure amounts of time more precisely than was available on clock faces, I wondered when the minute per se was invented, or decided on, and who engineered its expression in the gears and hands of timekeepers.

Presumably the Minute as a temporal dimension was distinguished before its representation was designed--but this makes me more curious about Jost Burgi--and Walther, for that matter.

Was David Creed's article published, does anyone know? I'm not sure if the "clocks magazine" is the name of the magazine or a generic designation.

I dont' know enough German to read a book or article, unfortunately.

Jessica
 

Modersohn

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The following is a quote from a post by David Creed on this MB from late 2004:

[Jost Burgi] invented the minute hand, logarthms and the crossbeat escapement. I have been in touch with the editor of the clocks magazine UK and he is willing to publish the outcome of my findings. For anyone not familiar with Jost Burgi he was making precision clocks in the 1570s, Dave

/////

I was infact coincidentally wondering about the invention of the minute as a unit of measurement and a facet of a dial. In reading about Bernhard Walther, who used the teeth of a gear to measure amounts of time more precisely than was available on clock faces, I wondered when the minute per se was invented, or decided on, and who engineered its expression in the gears and hands of timekeepers.

Presumably the Minute as a temporal dimension was distinguished before its representation was designed--but this makes me more curious about Jost Burgi--and Walther, for that matter.

Was David Creed's article published, does anyone know? I'm not sure if the "clocks magazine" is the name of the magazine or a generic designation.

I dont' know enough German to read a book or article, unfortunately.

Jessica
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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To bad you don't read German. The only book length treatment of Buergis achievement that I kno of is

Ludwig Oechslin[curator of the clock museum in La Chaux de Fonds), Jost Buergi, published by Verlag Ineichen in 2000, 108 pages i n GErman

published as a scholarly companion piece to OEchslins philosophical, aestetical, mechanical and functional description (in illustrated bookform, also in German) of the small celestial globe by Buergi owned by Musee Suisse in Zuerich.


The Library in COlumbia has a copy of this very rare and hard to find biographical volumeme, as well as the more common descriptive one.

FOrtunat
 

Modersohn

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Hi, David.

One thing occurred to me as I was scrolling through google, on "Ludwig Oechslin."

The PuristS have had some people from Ulysse Nardin come and give them talks, etc. at what seem to be rather swank dinner meetings.

Possibly one of the organizers of that event has contacts through which you could get some help from someone who worked for/with him on his book.

They or their contacts,,,etc,,, may have some knowledge of sources on Buergi in English. Or may provide answers, references, etc either to other people or do a little translation of a few passages, etc, for particular things you're following up.

http://www.network54.com/Forum/201110 is the Ulysse Nardin forum at the PuristS.

Not a lot to go on, but at least they speak English--

Jessica
 

Modersohn

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Hi, David. (The following may be irrelevant or useless, but it's another thought.)

I checked the Columbia University Libraries databases, focussing on the History of Science database (because of Burgi's work on logarithms).

Most of the world on Burgi direct is in german, however, a few things (there are I'm sure others), mostly on other subjects, might include some references to Burgi. Or leads. Plus this was only one database.

Here's some information that might help:

List of Databases available through Clio, Columbia U. Libraries is :

http://wwwapp.cc.columbia.edu/ldpd/app/rti/results?qt=1...&sb=1&ss=1&q=&bk=all

The one I happened to open was:

http://eureka.rlg.org/Eureka/zgate2.prod

-- "History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
© 1993-2005 SHOT, HSS, IMSS, and Wellcome
The History of Science, Technology, and Medicine database describes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields. The database integrates four bibliographies: the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science, the Current Bibliography in the History of Technology (Technology and Culture), the Bibliografia Italiana di Storia della Scienza and the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Updated quarterly, the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine covers 1975 to the present. For the current database size, see the Quick facts box. For a list of journal titles, see Journals Indexed.

Database Sources:

History of Science Society (HSS)
Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)
Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza (IMSS)
The Wellcome Trust "

///////////

A couple of references that might lead somewhere (maybe) and are in English (except one in French):

Karlsen, Helge B. J.
A 16th-century astronomical tableclock by Jost Bu?rgi (Justus Borgen) with non-uniform motions of the sun and moon / Helge B. J. Karlsen.
In: Antiquarian Horology 1983, 14: 63-75.
Bruins, Evert M.
On the history of logarithms: Bu?rgi, Napier, Briggs, De Decker, Vlacq, Huygens / Evert M. Bruins.
In: Janus: Revue Internationale de l'Histoire des Sciences, de la Me?decine et de la Technique 1980, 67: 241-260.
Grimwood, Peter.
A 'Tycho Brahe' orrery / Peter Grimwood.
In: Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Society No. 59 (Dec. 1998) p. 27-28 : ill.
Christianson, J. R.(John Robert)
On Tycho's island : Tycho Brahe and his assistants, 1570-1601 / John Robert Christianson.
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000.
xii, 451 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
ISBN 0-521-65081-X (hc.)
Gingerich, Owen.
Tycho Brahe's Copernican campaign / Owen Gingerich, James R. Voelkel.

Another ource of data: Isis Current Bibliography of History of Science.

One citation in the Eureka search was to some essays or articles there.

Jessica
 

Ralph

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I let David know via another list, that I found my Burgi book. It is in German. The title is,

Die erste Sternwarte Europas
mit ihren Instrumenten und Uhren

400 Jahre Jost Burgi in Kassel.

Author - Callwey Verlag, Munchen

It is 158 pages.

Maybe you can order it from your library.

Cheers, Ralph
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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Just a small correction to Ralphs note:

The author of that book is


von Mackensen, Ludolf

(who is the director of the Museum in Kassel, where there are several pieces of Buergi, and b y the way before Buergi went to the imperial court in Prague he was the court clock and instrument maker to the Count in Kassel.)


Callwey is the publisher.

Fortunat
 

Ralph

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Fortunat,

Thanks for the correction....

Cheers, Ralph
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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Remember that the Buergi crossbeat escapement predates the pendulum as a timestandard for clocks.

(Galileo dicoverd that pendulums -theoretically- are isochonous in regard to amplitude, so he discovered the "pendulum as a timekeeper" he used free (undriven) pendulums whith mental counting of swings to time some of his astronomical observations.Galileo (as did Leonardo) also drew some sketches of pendulum clocks but none are recorded to have been built. Christian Huygens on Christmas day 1656 in his daiary describes and sketches a full pendulum clock, and had one built in 1657 by Samuel Coster in the HAgue, and got a patent for the invention).

The crossbeat escapement, in spite of the pendulum like appearance of the two arms, physically does not contain a pendulum. But its performance was vastly superior to the verge and foliot escapment then prevelent.

Fortunat
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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A further reason Buergi clocks had superior performance is that the finish of the movement was orders of magnitudes better than what ANY other clockmaker had achieved up to that time. AT least that is the case in the three Buergi movements I have had the privilege of handling (all of them at major museums, and one of them [the Bergkristaluhr in Vienna] has an unbroken provenance since its making and we know the owner -the imperial Habsburg collection- has not been running it since at least the late 1600s, and it never has been "restored" )

Superior finish of metal surfaces greatly enhances performance.


FOrtunat
 

Bill Ward

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I believe that Henry King, in his magnum opus "Geared to the Stars", discusses Burgi. This is available by mail loan from the NAWCC Library in Columbia, PA (isn't this what the previous poster meant by "Columbia"? The Columbia University library catalog is, unfortunately, a completely separate reality from their library holdings.)
Ludwig Oechslin also broaches Burgi in his 3 volume work "Astronomische Uhren" (1996?), also in German. Do you read French? I could, perhaps, secure an author's permission to get you an unpublished (and unfinished) work on Burgi.
The early history of the mechanical clock was largely driven by the demands of astronomy, and theory was many decades ahead of practice. It is thought that Johannes Kepler, who formulated Kepler's 3 laws of planetary motion while employed by the Danish King at the Uranianborg Observatory, had a Burgi clock, probably of the cross-beat type. Various people made extravagent claims for the accuracy of these clocks, but it is highly dubious that they approached the precision of the humblest pendulum clock.
 

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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Oechslins' work "Astronomische Uhren und Welt Modelle der Priestermechaniker im 18. Jahrhundert" in my opinion is one of the most ambitious (and insightfull) books ever written on astronomical clocks and orrereys, but it does not specifically examine any Buergi clocks, as it deals with an 18th century phenomenon.

Some three years ago a posted a rewiew of that book on this Message board and I will be glad to repost it as a seperate current thread on this board to make it more accessible.

Fortunat
 

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