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Clocks through time
It was probably around 3.000 years ago that people first began making things to help them measure the passage of time. Having observed that shadows move around trees as the sun moves across the sky, someone drew a circle and put a stick in the centre. As the sun passed overhead, he marked even divisions on the circle as the shadow of the stick crossed it. Then people could tell which part of the day it was by noticing which mark on the circle the shadow fell across. These circles were called "sundials". Later, they were made of stone and metal to last longer.
Of course, a sundial didn't work at night or on cloudy days, so men kept inventing other ways to keep track of time. One invention was a striped candle. Each stripe took the same amount of time to melt. If each stripe melted in about an hour, about three hours would have passed when three stripes melted. A water clock was another way to tell the time. A container had a line with a number beside it for every hour. It also had a tiny hole in the bottom. The container was filled with water that dripped through the hole. When the water level reached the first line, people knew that an hour had passed. Each time the water level fell to another line, one more hour had passed. Candles and water clocks helped people know how much time had gone by. But candles had to be remade, and water clocks had to be refilled. So, after glass blowing was invented, the hourglass came into use. Glass bulbs were joined to be a narrow glass tunnel and fine dry sand was placed in the top bulb. The hourglass was easy to use, but it had to be turned over every hour so the sand could flow again.
It was about 600 years ago that the first clock with a face and an hour hand was made. One of the first such clocks was built for a king of France and placed in a tower of the royal palace. The clock didn't show minutes or seconds. Usually it did not even show the correct time. Since there were no planes or trains, however, people were not concerned about knowing the exact time. Gradually, clocks began to be popular. They still didn't keep correct time, but they were unusual. And they could be beautifully decorated. One clock was in shape of a cart with a horse and driver. One of the wheels was the face of the clock.
Watches came into use as soon as clocks were made small enough to be carried. These didn't always tell the correct time, either. They were often put into beautiful watchcases, which were made to look like anything the owner wanted.
The pendulum clock was invented in 1657. This was the beginning of the style of clocks we call "grandfather clocks", which were enclosed in tall wooden boxes. Pendulum clocks showed the hours more exactly than earlier clocks, since the weight on the pendulum could be moved up or down to make the clock go faster or slower. About forty years later, minute and second hands were put on some clocks. Grandfather clocks are very much in demand again today. They are usually very expensive and require more space than other styles of clocks. As people began to go to more places and do more activities, they were more interested in knowing the correct time. By 1900 almost every house had a clock, and every well-dressed gentleman wore a watch on a chain tucked in his vest pocket.
Today, of course, we have electric clocks that keep giving the right time until they are unplugged or the electricity goes off. Scientists have invented clocks that look like large machines and tell the correct time to a split of a second.
The most modern electrical clock for home doesn't have a face or hands. These clocks are called digital clocks and they tell the time with a set of numerals which appear in a little window.
III. Make up 7 questions to the text.
IV. Choose the right answer.
1. Don't you know him? He always... lies.
A tell В say С says D tells
2. He phoned to say he... his bag on the plane.
A forgot В has left С had left D has forgotten
3. I have never seen such .... men.
A higher В high С tall D the tallest
4. I don't think you should select the pictures so carefully. …will do it.
A some В no С any D none
5. He wonders…he could possibly get the job.
A weather В whatever С whenever D whether
6. The clothes are absolutely wet I should dry ....
A. it В them С their D theirs
7. He decided to save some money and put…in the bank.
A it В their С them D its
8. Shall I make the final choice right now? - No, you ....
A mustn't В can't C needn't D couldn't
9. If food in the Chinese restaurant is not bad and in the Japanese restaurant it is extremely delicious that means that the first one is .... than the second.
A the worst В better С worse D the best
10. …Mississippi is one of the longest rivers in the world.
A a В the C an D—
11. They are.... asleep.
A yet В just С still D else
12. He .... the farm since 1947.
A has owned В have been owning С own D owned
13. The man is old and he can't.... well.
A heard В hear С to hear D listen to
14. They arrived .... the airport on time.
A— B in С to D at
15. A .... wind is blowing.
A stronger В strong С strongest D small