Saturday, June 30, 2007

Before progress the late 15th century, a fixed hand indicated the hour by pointing to revolving numbers. Minute hands only came into use in the late 17th century after the creation of the pendulum allowable for amplified precision in time telling. Until the last quarter of the 17th century hour markings were imprinted into metal faces and the recesses filled with black wax. Subsequently, higher contrast and enhanced readability was achieved with white enamel plaques painted with black numbers. Initially, the numbers were printed on small, individual plaques mounted on a brass substructure. This was not a stylistic decision; rather enamel production technology had not yet achieved the ability to create large pieces of enamel. The "13 piece face" was an early attempt to create an entirely white enamel face. As the name suggests, it was composed of 13 enamel plaques: 12 numbered wedges fitted around a circle. The first single portion enamel faces, not unlike those in production today, began to appear c. 1735.