MASTERWORKS OF TIME
The cross-beat escapement was invented in 1584 by Jost Bürgi, a Swiss/German clockmaker and mathematician. Designed as an improvement on the verge and foliot escapement, it comprises two foliots, each with a single pallet and, geared together, oscillating in opposite directions to provide locking of and impulse from the escape wheel. Contemporary accounts stated a much improved accuracy over the standard verge escapement although this is now thought more likely attributable to the high quality of workmanship and better tolerances required than the pure technical theory. In use for only a short period in Germany in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the cross-beat escapement is extremely rare and, by the early 18th century had fallen into obscurity.
Monstrance clocks are so called because of the similarity of their cases to the religious vessels of the same name used in ritual ceremony by the Roman Catholic Church. Clocks of this form first appeared in Germany during the second half of the 16th century and are more commonly made from gilt-copper or brass. The present clock is a particularly attractive example of the highest quality incorporating the expected astronomical complications of the period and a rare escapement. The case is well-proportioned and combines very fine engraved fretwork with the most unusual addition of panels of lapis lazuli.
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