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American Philosophical Society
Most Important Clock in America: The David Rittenhouse Astronomical Musical Clock at Drexel University: Transactions, American Philosophical Society (Volume 99, Part 2)
Ronald R Hoppes
During the years of 1767-1770 David Rittenhouse designed and produced two orreries, one for Princeton University and one for the University of Pennsylvania. During the last two years of this interval he also produced two thirty-day musical tall-cased clocks, both with an orrery in the arch above the dial. The first clock, built in 1769, is currently owned by the Pennsylvania Hospital. The following year (1770) Rittenhouse made a second tall-case musical clock, which was more elaborate than the first. Additional indications show the Moon’s elliptical orbit and its positional orientation in the Zodiac. This clock, currently owned by Drexel University, is a very good example of Rittenhouse’s work as it has experienced only minor changes over the years. This was the masterpiece of his clock-making career and is a national historical treasure. Ronald Hoopes, author of this study of the Rittenhouse Clock, is a retired development engineer with a degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University. An avid clock and tool collector, he makes cabinet and movement replacement parts for clocks that are faithful to the originals. Drawings and color photographs.
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