For more than 25,000 years, mankind has sought to understand and measure the passing of time, in the process creating some of the most remarkable and beautiful timepieces. Now, in Nicholas Foulkes's lavishly illustrated book, the battle to tame time is brought vividly to life.
From the baboon bone dating back to the palaeolithic era that marked the lunar cycle and on to the 3500-year-old water clock at Karnak, from our earliest days mankind has sought to track the passing of time. More recently, the struggles to measure longitude and to create a workable train timetable across the vast, open expanse of the United States have inspired new developments. In Time Tamed, Nicholas Foulkes reveals how we have done this by focusing on some of the most significant developments in timekeeping across the ages. He also highlights the most stunning and lavish clocks and watches in history - from Big Ben to Rolex - for telling the time has never been purely about function, but also about design.
The book is filled with remarkable tales, from the 14th century monk in St Albans who created one of the first mechanical clocks to the Holy Roman Emperor who built a clock into an automated ship that fired a cannon to summon guests to dinner. More recently, there was the Surrey woman who used a Napoleonic era watch to 'deliver' the accurate time to London shopkeepers in the wartime era of Churchill, or the Swiss denture maker who solved a tricky problem for the Indian Raj's polo players. Time Tamed is a book you'll want to spend many hours enjoying.
Nick Foulkes is the author of more than two dozen works of non-fiction and is widely considered the leading English language writer on watches and timepieces. His most recent book was Patek Philippe: The Authorised Biography. He has written on the subject for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Financial Times, Newsweek and GQ, and he edits On Time, the twice yearly magazine on watches for Vanity Fair.
'Downright fascinating...indispensable reading for horophiles of every stripe. Enthrallingly recounted'
– Daily Telegraph
'An edifying, readable book that will not only delight watch lovers but enrich the relationship they have with the timepieces they own... This book is not just a history of time-measuring instruments: it’s a history of humanity itself, of its desperate attempts to harness the forces around it and find its place in the cosmos... A Christmas-list perennial.'