Spectacular discovery at the symposium “Going Dutch“

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Going Dutch” is a Dutch-English symposium about the invention of the pendulum clock. This symposium will be held on December 3rdnext, from 10: 00 to 17: 00 in Teylers Museum in Haarlem.  In the symposium the spectacular discovery of one of the world’s oldest extant pendulum clock movements will be made public. This clock can be directly linked to the invention of the pendulum clock in 1656 by the famous Dutch mathematician, physicist and astronomer Christiaan Huygens.

During the preparation of the symposium a weight driven pendulum clock was discovered which was probably made in Salomon Coster’s workshop. Coster was the clockmaker of Christiaan Huygens. So far, only 8 spring driven pendulum clocks by Salomon Coster, dating from this stage are known. The newly discovered clock dates from 1657, and agrees in many ways with the design that Huygens published in 1658 in “Horologium”. It is probably the oldest weight driven pendulum clock we know!

After a suggestion from Prof. Dr. Ir. Plomp and 2,5 years of research by Mr Michiel van Hees (Board member of MNU, as well as initiator of the symposium) the clock was discovered in the storage of the University Museum in Utrecht. The late recognition of the clock is due to the fact that the clock is not housed in its original case, nor is the signature shield original.

As far as known, weight driven pendulum clock were developed in a later stage. Although we know from Huygens’ correspondence that clocks like this one were made by Dutch clock makers, the oldest extant examples were those made by the famous French clock maker Thuret.

In addition to this spectacular newly discovered clock is a number of very rare clocks from different countries from the period before, around and after the invention of the pendulum clock, on display in an exhibition at the MNU in Zaandam. The exhibition runs until 5 December 2011.

Under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. E. van den Heuvel, the speakers will be Pier van Leeuwen (curator MNU), Prof. Dr. IR. R. Plomp (author), Rebecca Pohancenik (PhD student), Michiel van Hees (Board Member MNU), Prof. Dr. Ir. C.A. Grimbergen (Board Member MNU), Sebastian Whitestone (horologist) and Keith Piggott (horologist).

During the event many aspects of the invention will be highlighted, such as the development of clock technology prior to the invention of the pendulum clock, the scientific interest of Christiaan Huygens, the international proliferation of scientific ideas and competition around the invention. The symposium is organized by the Dutch Clock and Watch Museum(MNU).

The participation fee is € 95.00. This includes entrance to the Teylers Museum, coffee, lunch and drinks, a printed and illustrated copy of the symposium proceedings and access to the exhibition at the MNU. You will meet and speak to many people at the symposium that share your interest. At the symposium English will be spoken.

The venue will be open and coffee will be served from 9:30. The symposium starts at 10:00 with a word of welcome by Robert Beuker, MNU board chairman.

Speakers are:

10.30-11.00 Pier van Leeuwen Setting the stage for 17thcentury developments
11.00-11.30 Rebecca Pohancenik The 17th
century intelligencer
11.30-12.00 Kees Grimbergen Isochronism and the
13.00-13.30 Sebastian Whitestone Huygen’s invention, claim and counterclaim
13.30-14.00 Michiel van Hees Development of the movement in 17th centuryEurope
14.00-14.30 Reinier Plomp Going and striking trains driven by a single spring or weight
14.30-15.00 Keith Piggott Open research database

Lunch will be served from 12:00 until 13:00. During the lunch break there is opportunity to view the Teylers Museum.

After the concluding discussion an important inititative in the field of horology will be highlighted. MNU and the Stichting Museum en Archief van Tijdmeetkunde (SMAT), owner of the clocks on display in the Dutch Silver Museum in Schoonhoven, have recently decided to co-operate. As a result the Horlogical Collection of the Netherlands Foundation has been formed, which will be inaugurated during the symposium. From 16:00 until 17:00 drinks will be offered jointly by MNU and SMAT.

The symposium may count on a proper interest on both sides of the North Sea. You can confirm your participation in the symposium by payment of € 95.00 to account number 471655716 in the name of Museum van het Nederlandse Uurwerk, Zaandam. (IBAN: NL20ABNA0471655716; BIC: ABNANL2A). You will then receive by e-mail your admission ticket. In case of any further questions, please send an e-mail to directeur@mnuurwerk.nl.

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