The Clockmaker Family Meyer and Their Watch Keeping the alla turca Time

  • Atilla BirEmail author
  • Şinasi Acar
  • Mustafa KaçarEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 275)


Praying five-times-a-day is one of the most important religious obligations for Muslims, and prayers should be performed during certain periods defined by the position of the Sun at a given location. Before the full adoption of the international standard time in Turkey in the twentieth century, the mean solar time, popularly called “European time” (alla franca time) started to be used in the major cities of the Ottoman Empire, mainly in communication and transportation networks connecting the Empire with European countries. Thus both the solar mean time and the local apparent time (Turkish time or the alla turca time) were concurrently used in the Ottoman Empire in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The present paper examines the mechanism of alla turca clocks and especially the pocket watch designed and manufactured by J. Meyer (1843–1920) in Istanbul for keeping automatically both the Turkish and European times.


Solar Time Clock Face Spiral Spring Celestial Equator Full Adoption 
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The authors are grateful to Mrs. Inge Traut (Hunger) Detmold, Wolfgang Meyer’s spouse and to Mr. Nahsen Bayındır for providing documents and photographs related to the members of Meyer family and their horological activities.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Electrics and ElectronicsIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of ArtsAnadolu UniversityEskişehirTurkey
  3. 3.Department of the History of Science, Faculty of LettersIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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