Priest mechanic

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Priest mechanic was the name or is called those clergymen who - mostly self-taught - acquired extensive knowledge in mathematics and cosmology as well as mechanics and technicians and who then worked alongside their priesthood as designers of astronomical clocks . The cause was u. a. - explains Heinz Gauly - that “it was precisely the monastic communities in the Catholic Church that had achieved excellent results in a broad field of research and science, and not only in the 18th century” .

Astronomical clocks

Thanks to constantly improved techniques and new scientific findings, astronomical clocks were developed and built in the second half of the 18th century with a previously unknown level of precision. In addition to the hours, minutes and seconds, these “world machines” also indicated the days of the week, the week, the month and the year as well as the movement of the earth , the moon and the planets , every solar and lunar eclipse or the spring and autumn equinox as well as the summer and winter solstice .

Well-known priest mechanics


  • Ludwig Oechslin : Astronomical clocks and world models of the priest mechanics in the 18th century. Simonin, Neuchâtel 1996, ISBN 2-88380-008-1
  • Heinz Gauly : priest mechanic . In: The Johann brothers from Steinach, builders of astronomical clockworks and designers of “world machines”. Sendner & Neubauer, Bad Neustadt 2010, page 42f.

Individual evidence

  1. Erhard Chvojka: Not an hour strikes the happy - or how the idea of ​​“Viennese cosiness” came about , page 35, special exhibition of the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna, 2001 ( excerpt )