Why the clock hands turn clockwise?

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Is that just by chance or there could be some possible reasons?
 

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  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
  • #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.
 
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  • #5
Redbelly98
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Don't clocks turn the opposite way in the southern hemisphere? :wink:
 
  • #6
Integral
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Get your own http://www.thebackwardsclock.com/" [Broken]
 
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  • #7
Borek
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Don't clocks turn the opposite way in the southern hemisphere? :wink:
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.
 
  • #8
tiny-tim
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Don't clocks turn the opposite way in the southern hemisphere? :wink:
No :frown: … they go down the plughole the opposite way!

:rolleyes: D'uh! :rolleyes:
 
  • #9
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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???
 
  • #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.
 
  • #11
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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.
 
  • #12
lisab
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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.

Borek
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Yes, that was what I have always heard, also.
 
  • #13
JasonRox
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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.

Borek
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That would make the most sense.
 
  • #14
Kurdt
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By definition shouldn't a clock's hands always turn clockwise? :confused:
 
  • #15
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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.
 
  • #16
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Dunno, my watch is digital.
 
  • #17
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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
 
  • #18
brewnog
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The sundial answer is definitely, positively, 100% correct.
 
  • #19
DaveC426913
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The sundial answer is definitely, positively, 100% correct.
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.
 
  • #20
DaveC426913
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what's always been funny to me is that it seems that the first hour and minute of the day should be 1:01
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.
 
  • #21
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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.
On the first day of my life I was 12 years and 1 day old. The Chinese count not years since your birth, but rather the number of calendar years in which you lived. A child born in the last second of the 2007 would be 2 years old a moment later having lived in both 2007 and 2008.
 
  • #22
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.
wouldn't 12:01 actually be 0:01 instead of 0:00??
 
  • #23
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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.
hmmm---it sounds like you're justifying the way it is right now.



wouldn't 12:01 actually be 0:01 instead of 0:00??
yeah--but no one starts counting at '0'.

A 'new' method was the military clock and they don't have 24:00 (or do they?) ---but the old clock has 12:00-----
 
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  • #24
Chi Meson
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Clockwise angular rotation is considers to be "negative rotation" (according to the right hand rule for angular vectors). I think it all boils down to Benjamin Franklin's mistake in labeling the glass rod as bing the one with the positive charge. This caused the electron charge to be labeled negative, and conventional current to run opposite to the flow of the electrons. Also the convention of calling the attractive force of gravity as a "negative" radial vector quantity fits in here somewhere. I'm sure this had something to do with it.

The sundial theory sounds just too far-fetched.
 
  • #25
Borek
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I think it all boils down to Benjamin Franklin's mistake in labeling the glass rod as bing the one with the positive charge.
Franklin's clock was already going clockwise, so it hardly his fault :smile:

The sundial theory sounds just too far-fetched.
We have a tendency to follow what we know, if you look at sundial face and clock face they are very similar, could be the latter was modelled after its ancestor. At the same time, early clocks were very often used not only as time measuring devices, but also for astronomical purposes, thus following sun seems logical.
 

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