A clock is an instrument that indicates and maintains time and passage. Before clocks were established, the terms “sun wise” and “deiseil” were used. The earliest form of time keeping dates back to 3500 B.C. These words are from the Scottish Gaelic. They refer to the direction of the clocks hands. Have you ever wondered why clocks run clockwise? The definition of clockwise is the same direction as the hands of a clock. Well that makes sense. It may seem like a funny question but let us explore it. Inventors who were trying to make models of the suns movement in the sky invented clocks in the northern hemisphere. Today this region is actually Iraq! To watch the sun from this hemisphere you have to face south.
Therefore, the sun would rise on your left and pass over your head to set on the left. Therefore, the hands of the clock were designed to move left to right over the clock clockwise. The hands were modeled after the design of a sundial-(a vertical stick or obelisk). It is described as a tall four-sided shaft of stone that casts as shadow. This is how people used to tell time. You can find one in Jantar Mantar in Delhi. We actually did not have watches until the early 20th century. Throughout history, the movement of the earth around the sun determined time. It seems this movement is by accident as to where people settled and human nature. If so, long ago our ancestors had decided to settle in another place like Africa, we would be dealing with a counter clockwise movement. This is because everything is reversed south of the border.
Long time ago people realized that the earth revolved around the sun so they knew when the sun was in a certain position what time it was. You probably are familiar with the notion that when the sun is highest in the sky it is close to noon. Clocks were not invented until 100 A.D. in China. It is surreal to think that if we were in a different hemisphere we would read out clocks and watches differently. If clocks were invented in the southern hemisphere instead of the northern hemisphere, we would be watching the hands of our watches go from right to left! That is weird to think that things could have been so different. In fact, some Arabic and Jewish clocks run right to left but then there lettering reads from right to left too.
Therefore, I hope this helps to inform you about the movement of clocks. It is fascinating to know and the history of clocks and little known gems of facts.