The evolution of the Clock
Many centuries ago (around 2000
B.C.), civilization kept track of time
using the ancient Sundial. People
were able to tell the time from the
positioning of the shadow of the dial’s
pole. The sundial is believed to be the
oldest tool ever used to measure time.
My variations of clocks have been
invented during the 2nd millennium
such as the classical pendulum clock.
Since then, instruments of time have
evolved and the people of the 21st
century prefer to use the more
accurate and easier to use Quartz
Materials of the Quartz Clock
When you’re in a class such as
history, math, or even science,
you always wonder “what time
is it?” and look at that
constantly rotating quartz
clock in the class room.
However, have you ever
questioned about what nonrenewable resources make this
great invention and where they
Hi, I’m Timey
Join my mother and I
and we’ll tell you about
resources we are made
of and where on Earth
they come from!
The parts and materials of a Clock
Circuit Board (Silicon)
These are just some
the parts (but major
parts) that we are
composed of and need
to function properly.
We’ll just get into 4
different materials in
Hold on a second !
Before we begin, let’s clarify
and give a basic description
of a non-renewable resource.
A non-renewable resource is
a resource that once
extracted/taken from the
earth cannot be naturally
created again or has a
greater consumption rate than
recreation such as oil. Fossil
fuels will take millions of
years to form naturally.
Coal is a non-renewable resource
Materials of a Quartz Clock 1)
We’ll begin with plastic. The plastic gears act as
bones for us. They are consistently moving and
lead to the movement of our hands which keep
track of time. Plastic is made from crude oil and
natural gas (Saudi Arabia is the leading producer).
Russia, USA, and Canada are also leading
producers. Once these are extracted they are
shipped to the factory where they are refined
and eventually turned into polymers which are
melted, cooled, and cut to different shapes.
In 2008, the States produced
an average of 8 million
barrels a day while they
consumed almost 20 million
barrels! That’s a whopping 25%
of the world’s oil a day!
Now let’s start. We (the
quartz clocks) require 4
primary materials. The
factory “our mother” must
have silicon, aluminum,
plastic, and glass to make
Materials of a Quartz Clock 2)
Even though aluminum is abundant in
the earth’s crust (8%) and recyclable,
it is still considered non-renewable for
it is mined and bauxite ore (as well as
other ores) take thousands of years
for the Earth to produce while the
aluminum from an aluminum can has a
limited re-use and only a fraction can
With plastic gears already
created, our mother still needs
aluminum for our skin (aluminum
frame), hands and backbone
(backboard). Did you know that
aluminum’s natural state is not a
metal? In fact, it is the result of a
process that bauxite ore goes
through. Bauxite ore is 1/3 alumina
and consists of other substances
like silica and is mined in Guinea or
Australia. It is later shipped to the
factory where alumina is extracted
(Bayer process) to purify it. It
later goes though a electrolysis and
heating process to form molten
aluminum and is eventually casted.
Materials of a Quartz Clock 3)
And now, “Mama Factory” needs
the most important part; the
quartz crystal. It may sound like a
very expensive rock but is actually
incredibly cheap. Quartz watches
can even be found in cereal boxes!
Quartz is used for the crystal
oscillator which acts like a heart
for us giving off beats every
second. They are mined from the
Earth’s crust and cut into small
and precise slivers at the factory.
Since quartz is the second most abundant mineral in
the world, the semi-precious stone can be found
practically anywhere and are not a demanding
export. However, there still are a few major
producers such as Arkansas and Brazil. Even though
we have large quantities, Quartz will take many
centuries to develop again.
Materials of a Quartz Clock 4)
Countries such China, Egypt, and
India are the leading mass
producers of silica sand but this
abundant substance can also be
found in many other countries all
over the world.
And now “Mama Factory”
needs one final part to
make us clocks which is
the glass cover. Glass is
composed of three main
ingredients which are
silica sand, limestone,
and soda ash. These are
brought into the factory
where they are melted at
fused, shaped and
cooled. With a curved a
glass cover made, all
that’s left to be done to
attach it on the clock.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT!
And there you have it! A happy
quartz clock running on a small
battery that will last for years.
Good job Mom! It is made up of a
variety of substances from all over
the world and keeps track of the
most important statistic of history!
They may be cheap but don’t break
and throw us in the trash. Once
non-renewable resources are gone,
they’re gone for a long long time!
Thank you to these resources