The Beauty and Function of 18th- and 19th-Century Tall Case Clocks to be Examined in a New Exhibition Opening in November 2020 at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

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The Beauty and Function of 18th- and 19th-Century Tall Case Clocks to be Examined in a New Exhibition Opening in November 2020 at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

Although it is common today for most people to own a personal timepiece, in centuries past it was not so. Marking time to the exact minute was a new innovation during the late 17th century, and the development of the tall case clock helped to make that possible. Until the early 19th century, only the wealthy could afford these expensive timepieces. Average people had little need for the precision these devices provided, relying instead on the location of the sun in the sky, sundials or public clocks to know the hour. As society became more dependent on time regulation, clocks