Gearpunk! The Reformation Version

37 MinutesIn the year 1530, The Reformation was in full bloom. Martin Luther stood firm in opposition to the Catholic Pope. The German princes saw a way of getting out from under the pope’s thumb and largely supported him.

By Luther’s side, stood a small diminutive man, Phillip Melanchthon. Philip Melanchthon was credited with many of the documents of Lutherism, particularly the Augsburg Confession. Much was written about Phillip Melanchthon, including a little device that he carried with him.

It was in 1530 that Melanchthon took possession of the latest “gearpunk” devices. It was one of the very first pocket watches ever made. It is, in fact, the oldest know pocket watch in history.

The date is confirmed by the inscription, “To God Be The Glory – 1530” on the top. Many people on both side of the Reformation process were quite annoying by Melanchthon’s gadget. The ticking sound annoyed them, the fact that Melanchthon would always be looking at the watch. Many accounts were written of the “accursed device” and descriptions leave no doubt that the item pictured here is, in fact, Melanchthon’s watch.

Philip Melanchthon's Watch

The "Gears"

Close up of the movement

By the way, you can visit this watch any time you want. It’s on permanent display at The Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.
All pictures are from the Walters Art Gallery. See here.

This entry was posted in 37 Minutes. Bookmark the permalink.