Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Foreword

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

Foreword

Article excerpt

When I assumed the presidency of Drexel University in 1995, my first task was to stabilize the University's precarious financial situation. Among the cashraising measures suggested to me was the sale of our 18th-century David Rittenhouse astronomical musical clock, one of the finest examples of the genius of Philadelphia's preeminent astronomer, mathematician, and clockmaker.

The several million dollars such a sale would generate was a significant sum, given the condition of Drexel's finances, and in fact a sales catalog had already been prepared by a New York auction house. But then I looked at the clock.

Completed in 1773 by Rittenhouse (1732-1796), our clock represents the pinnacle of American clock making of the period. It provides the time, date, phase of the Moon, placement of the then-known planets, the equation of time, the position of the Sun and the Moon in the zodiac and the revolution of the MoOn around the Earth. It also plays ten tunes. The clock came to Drexel in 1 894 when the widow of George W. Childs, the best friend of our founder, Anthony J. Drexel, donated this masterpiece to The Drexel Collection. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.