Tools of Enablement

  • Jane DesboroughEmail author


Dials were used as tools of enablement in the period 1550–1770. Clock- and watch-makers used dial formats to enable users that were otherwise excluded from using traditional dials by either a lack of sight or an absence of light. In the case of the former, this was the touch-pin of the mid-sixteenth century to the early-seventeenth century. Touch-pins were small, rounded protrusions located at each numeral of the hour index. In the case of the latter, it was the illuminated night clock of the mid-seventeenth century to early-eighteenth century. These clocks were fitted with a lamp behind a rotating dial with transparent numerals and had three contexts of use—to read the time in the dark, as a representational device and as a tool of devotion.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science MuseumLondonUK

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