A 16th Century Time Machine


The Horologium Achaz on display at APS.

On April 11, The Kelpius Society hosted a public program at the American Philosophical Society (APS) that showcased a rare view of the Horologium Achaz Hydrographicum, a 16th-Century astronomical device that some scholars describe as an early "time machine."

TKS president, Thomas Carroll, lead the noon-time program with a brief presentation about the history of the German Pietist sect that found its way to the Wissahickon community near Germantown in the late 17th century, and its possible relationship to the Horologium Achaz. An animated conversation soon ensued among the twenty or so who attended the program about the technical mysteries of the Horologium, about Johann Kelpius and his followers, and about other historic and religious migrations to America over the centuries.

Horologium photos

Many thanks to Mary Grace Wahl, associate director for Collections and Exhibitions at APS, who organized the special presentation for TKS. She told our group that the Horologium is one of the oldest scientific instruments in the APS collection. A number of on-line resources exist on line for those who wish to learn more about this Horologium and similar gilded brass time pieces designed and created by celebrated German instrument maker Christopher Schissler in the mid 1500s.

See here:

Photos courtesy of Rich Wagner


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