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Changing Concepts Of Time

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Chapter Summary

Otto van Eck's parents had an unshakeable faith in a future utopia, based on the achievements of science. In their view, a watch was not only the high point of technical ingenuity but also a regimen: modern life ought to be regulated by the hands of the clock. As a ten-year-old, his life was already subject to a schedule specifying appropriate times for getting up in the morning, doing his lessons, reading his books, and eating his meals. In the course of the eighteenth century, clocks appeared in more and more households, and began to be displayed more prominently, usually taking pride of place on the drawing-room mantelpiece. A boy of twelve with a pocket-watch was no longer an exception in Otto's day. Inventories show that such timepieces had become widespread among the Delft elite.

Keywords: Delft elite; eighteenth century; Otto van Eck; time

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