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Viennese Clock Museum houses fascinating collection of timepieces

By Catholic Online
October 21st, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Viennese Clock Museum, housed in the Harfenhaus, or Harpist's House, one of the oldest homes in Vienna. Resting upon medieval foundation walls, the collection houses roughly 3,000 timepieces on three separate floors. All of the clocks are kept at current time, and every hour on the hour the building rings as all the clocks chime in unison.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The museum, opened in 1921 gives visitors a fascinating journey through man's determination to define fleeting moments with inventions of his own design. The museum leads the public through the development of chronometry and timekeeping technology from the fifteenth century to the present day.

Among the collection, there are ornate pocket watches, to a 15th-century tower clock, to sundials, to rare Japanese pillar clocks, to grandfather clocks, to Black Forest cuckoo clocks and a huge clock organ.

There are table clocks on stands with rich figural ornaments manifest the clock's function as a social status symbol. There are exquisite examples of Viennese Biedermeier and belle époque models.

There is also witty and ingenious picture clocks with hidden dial-plates; richly decorated long case commode clocks telling of the social rank of their owners; pocket watches and pendants with luxurious ornamentation as the most exquisite pieces of jewelry.

A variety of clock types of international provenance are on show including picture clocks with hidden dials and the 18th century astrononomical clock by David Cajetano, with a multitude of technical refinements. 

The 230-year-old astronomical clock, built in 1679 and calibrated up to the year 9999, is a gorgeous piece of engineering. With layers upon layers of golden gears, and over 30 readings and dials, the clock, designed by a friar is stunning to look at.

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