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Why the clock hands turn clockwise?

  1. Jun 2, 2008 #1
    Is that just by chance or there could be some possible reasons?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2008 #2
    The little centrifugal force that they develop due to circular motion is countered by the equally minute inward force (towards the inside of the clock) that we can see by maxwell's right hand rule.. rotate ur fingers clockwise and you see the line of force into the plane of the clock.
     
  4. Jun 2, 2008 #3

    Borek

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    Could be that's because first clock was built in such a way that hands followed direction known from sundials.

    I believe I have seen some discussion about the subject, but I can't remember where.
     
  5. Jun 2, 2008 #4

    Integral

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    I have a clock that the hands move counter clockwise.

    Really it does not matter which way the hands move, that direction will be clockwise by defintion. So the question is retorical at best.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  6. Jun 2, 2008 #5

    Redbelly98

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    Don't clocks turn the opposite way in the southern hemisphere? :wink:
     
  7. Jun 2, 2008 #6

    Integral

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  8. Jun 2, 2008 #7

    Borek

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    It happened that northern hemisphere was more technologically advanced at the time first mechanical clock was made.

    It is one of these things with buried in time historical background, like side of the road you drive your car on.
     
  9. Jun 2, 2008 #8

    tiny-tim

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    No :frown: … they go down the plughole the opposite way!

    :rolleyes: D'uh! :rolleyes:
     
  10. Jun 2, 2008 #9
    I didn't think you could have a backwards or even reverse clock, 'til just now...So very cool, I want one, but does that mean that the mechanics in the inside are differnt, or still the same, but just going the other direction???
     
  11. Jun 2, 2008 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Today they are usually made by simply having the electric motor run in the opposite direction. A purely mechanical clock would just have to have the escapement reversed.
     
  12. Jun 2, 2008 #11
    The time of the day is a 'cyclical' pattern---the circle (with the numbers around the edge) was the easiest way to do it (repeating-- without having to turn the sand container over)---if I remember right a lot of the 'first clocks' didn't have a minute hand.
     
  13. Jun 2, 2008 #12

    lisab

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    Yes, that was what I have always heard, also.
     
  14. Jun 2, 2008 #13

    JasonRox

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    That would make the most sense.
     
  15. Jun 2, 2008 #14

    Kurdt

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    By definition shouldn't a clock's hands always turn clockwise? :confused:
     
  16. Jun 2, 2008 #15
    Arcordingg to me, there could be one reason for that:
    People are mostly right-handed, so when we have to revolve some wheel or the like, it is alwasy easier to turn clockwise. And that sense could become the 'standard' direction before the first clocks were made. So the rest just followed.
     
  17. Jun 2, 2008 #16
    Dunno, my watch is digital.
     
  18. Jun 2, 2008 #17
    what's always been funny to me is that it seems that the first hour and minute of the day should be 1:01 , not 12:01 ---12 is the highest number ---that didn't ever make sense
     
  19. Jun 2, 2008 #18

    brewnog

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    The sundial answer is definitely, positively, 100% correct.
     
  20. Jun 2, 2008 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Not so fast. There were counterclockwise clocks, but when standardization took over, CW won out over CCW (kind of like VHS over Beta). It could have fallen the other way.
     
  21. Jun 2, 2008 #20

    DaveC426913

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    That would be like saying that on the first day of your life you should be 1 year and 1 day old.


    No, a clock is modulo 12. i.e. "12 is the same as 0" so 12:01 is really 0:00.
     
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