MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Clocks Run “Clockwise”

As you look up at the clock & will it to hit 5:00pm as quickly as possible, do you ever wonder: why do clocks run “clockwise”? Who decided that that was the direction they should go?

Think about it: in most of our revered sports (baseball, NASCAR, horse racing, most forms of skating, and more), we’re used to seeing things move in a counterclockwise direction. So, why do clocks go the opposite way?

Well, before the advent of clocks, humans used sundials to tell the time of day. Here in the northern hemisphere, shadows on sundials rotated in the direction we now call “clockwise”. So, since the clock was originally created here in the northern hemisphere, the clock’s hands were built to mimic the natural movements of the sun & how it threw shade around a sundial.

If the clock been devised in the southern hemisphere, things would’ve been very different. What we know as “clockwise” would’ve been “counterclockwise”, as the sun & shade move in the opposite direction from what they do here in the northern hemisphere.

And now you know!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at andy@wfre.com.

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