Why Clockwise

Drills cut clockwise, bolts and screws fasten clockwise, and of course clocks turn clockwise.

There are probably other examples, but my question is when and why did clockwise become a kind of standard direction for rotation?

My WAG is that it became the standard for clocks because that’s the direction the shadow goes on a sundial.

Might also be a connection to the idea of turning widdershins being a bad thing.

Ooh, a WAG !

Okay, how about: The majority are right-handed and you can tighten better (more strength), manually, at the end of the turn if you go clockwise. Ditto if you are unscrewing - except then it’s the start.

I agree on the right handed thing now that I think about it. Screws must also predate mechanical clocks, since you need screws to build them, duh.

Then our clockwise world must really screw with lefties.

It does appear that Ethilrist’s WAG about the movement of the shadow on a sundial being the cause for the “clockwise” definition is not unfounded.

But as far as screws and the like go, I’d have to go with the simple mechanics London_Calling provided.

Whilst not unfounded as the reason for the “clockwise” definition, last time I checked, all sundials go “anti-clockwise”.

OK, to clarify, I’m in the southern hemisphere, so it’s all backwards.

Presumably on the equator they go essentially in a straight line, with deviation to both the left and right, depending on whether it is summer in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

I actually think that it is more logical that in the society we live in, where we read from Right to Left, that the direction was chosem because the sweeping arm of the watch goes right to left at the top of the clock - Japanese (who read from Top to Bottom) couldn’t cope with this so they had to invent digital watches.

BTW - Righties might be better at tightening screws, but us Left Handed people are MUCH better at opening stuck jar lids (You should see how well I run a jar under a hot tap!)
Left Handed Aussies Rule!

FWIW: I’m right-handed, but when I have to open a jar, I hold it with my right hand and unscrew the lid with my left. How do lefties open a jar? Am I weird? Huh??

Another WAG:
“clockwise”, when you start at the “top”, is the ever-lovin’ left to right.

Left handed Aussies! Yay!

Perhaps it’s because the earth rotates that way! :slight_smile: