[Bell Historians] Clocks

Ron Johnston R.Johnston at b...
Wed Dec 4 14:48:31 GMT 2002

Reply from my colleague who is an expert on the history of clock time

Dear Ron,

In many ways, the question is asked the wromg way round! IIII 
was the standard notation on turret clocks, domestic clocks and 
watches, as indeed it was for the writing of Roman numerals in 
medieval documents. 
Even when IV makes headway (as it is doing in early modern probate 
inventories, for example), IIII remains standard usage on clock dials. 

So perhaps the expected answer is "it didn't"

On the other hand, IX is standard from the first domestic clocks, and 
VIIII hardly used, if ever.



On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 13:08:23 -0000 Mike Chester 
<mike at m...> wrote:

> Not quite "on topic", but hopefully someone knows the answer!
> When did they start using IIII instead of IV on church clock faces? 
> I need the details to hopefully avoid the embarrassment of giving my 
> 9 year old son the wrong answer in his school quiz!
> Cheers
> Mike
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Ron Johnston
School of Geographical Sciences,
University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1SS
0117 928 9116 (FAX 0117 928 7878)
r.johnston at b...

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