A new achievement in the history of Islamic clocks

Published Date: 
28 November 2013

The Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) announces their new achievement in the history of Islamic clocks. For the first time, the work of Ibn al-Haytham on the water clock (Maqala fi ‘amal al-binkam) is uncovered and edited from two manuscripts. Whilst work is currently  undertaken to produce a critical edition of the text in a book that will be published in 2014, we are proud to publish a glimpse of this pioneering work of Ibn al-Haytham’s contribution on mechanical clocks. In this article Professor Salim Al-Hassani, President of FSTC, summarises the text and publishes its draft English translation. In addition, he describes the mechanism of the water clock and produces engineering diagrams as well as a 3D animation video of its working procedure. To verify the technical details of the description of the clock, a mathematical analysis was also carried out. Although rudimentary at this stage, this analysis, in conjunction with the drawings and video animation, should be useful in design replicas or models of this clock. This ground breaking article precedes the full historical editing work which is to be published by Professors Al-Hassani and Mohammed Abattouy in due course: