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Science Museum

Measuring Time offered a fascinating insight into the history of timekeeping.

The gallery presented a rich collection of more than 500 timepieces. From sand-glasses to sundials, water clocks to wristwatches, the objects traced the remarkable history of timekeeping.

Clockmakers and watchmakers pioneered precision in manufacturing. Early craftsmen, labouring in small domestic workshops, learned to subdivide production into separate specialised tasks—inventing mass production before the factory system. Visitors to Measuring Time discovered how accurate timekeeping was highly prized and attracted the finest craftsmen.

Among the timepieces was the Wells Cathedral clock, built around 1392. The second oldest surviving clock in England and the third oldest clock in the world, it’s currently on display in Making the Modern World.

Explore more timepieces currently on display

Objects