As early as the 1300s, timepieces became all the rage. These crude early models required the wearer to wind up the spring mechanism that kept the watch hands moving. While this technology was relatively accurate, there was plenty of room for improvement.
In this wind up watch, spinning the watch's wind up mechanism caused a spring to tighten. As it loosened, an object called an oscillator began turning the gears that attached to the post that made the watch hands move. Gears prevented the watch hands from moving too rapidly.
Oddly enough, this technology would last for more than six centuries. With all the advancements in technology, it would not be until the 1960s that battery operated watches replaced wind up watches.
In the 1960s, quartz crystals were being used in computers, radio transmitters, and radio receivers. Quartz crystals had tremendous electrical properties that were emitted when the quartz crystal heated up. Scientists began to question if these electrical properties could be used to operate a watch. Early models proved to be highly successful, and better at keeping accurate time than older, wind up watches.
A new problem existed, however. How could watch makers fit a shard of quartz crystal into the average watch and still have room for the necessary battery?
To make the new style of watch work, a battery would create heat that caused the quartz crystal to vibrate. The vibrations of the quartz crystal transferred to the other components. This caused the gears to slowly turn which operated the watch hands. To fit a battery, the crystal had to be carefully designed.
The quartz crystal was trimmed down so that it represented a fork. The fork shaped quartz crystal was then placed underneath the compartment that housed the battery. This allowed the quartz crystal to heat up and begin the watch's operations.
From that day on, the watches people wear are commonly powered by a tiny shard of quartz crystal. The crystal will continue working as long as the shard is not allowed to come into contact with dirt or body oils. This can cause a quartz crystal to fail gaining the appropriate charge of energy.
Watches have come a long way from their early beginnings. Who knows, in fifty to one hundred years, watches may be powered by wind, water, or even a person's natural movements.
People from all walks of life wear watches. Wrist watches help a person to keep time so that he or she is on time for meetings, appointments, games, concerts, and a slew of other events that require prompt attendance. Without a few technological advancements, we would still be stuck winding up our watches on a daily basis. It makes one glad they live in today's society!
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