Clockwork: Background information when reading Angelmaker

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A Novel

by Nick Harkaway

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  • First Published:
    Mar 2012, 496 pages
    Oct 2012, 496 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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At the heart of Angelmaker is an immensely intricate clockwork device. When we hear the word "clockwork" we generally think of old-fashioned non-digital timepieces. The term, however, refers to any mechanical device that uses a combination of springs and gears to function. In addition to wind-up watches and clocks, wind-up toys, old phonographs and traditional music boxes are all types of clockwork.

All clockwork mechanisms require some kind of power source, typically a weight or coiled spring. This stored energy is then translated into movement through one or more interlocking gear wheels; the release of energy is controlled using a device known in clocks and watches as an escapement, which is in turn connected to a regulating element such as a pendulum, spring or balance wheel.

Antikythera mechanismSchematicThe earliest devices were complex and designed for specific tasks, generally having to do with astrophysical calculations. The oldest extant example is the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient ...

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