Understanding Pendulums

A Brief Introduction

  • L.P. Pook

Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 12)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. L. P. Pook
    Pages 1-6
  3. L. P. Pook
    Pages 7-25
  4. L. P. Pook
    Pages 27-41
  5. L. P. Pook
    Pages 43-62
  6. L. P. Pook
    Pages 63-75
  7. L. P. Pook
    Pages 77-97
  8. L. P. Pook
    Pages 99-106
  9. L. P. Pook
    Pages 107-127
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 129-133

About this book


Despite their apparent simplicity, the behaviour of pendulums can be remarkably complicated. Historically, pendulums for specific purposes have been developed using a combination of simplified theory and trial and error. There do not appear to be any introductory books on pendulums, written at an intermediate level, and covering a wide range of topics. This book aims to fill the gap. It is written for readers with some background in elementary geometry, algebra, trigonometry and calculus. Historical information, where available and useful for the understanding of various types of pendulum and their applications, is included.


Perhaps the best known use of pendulums is as the basis of clocks in which a pendulum controls the rate at which the clock runs. Interest in theoretical and practical aspects of pendulums, as applied to clocks, goes back more than four centuries. The concept of simple pendulums, which are idealised versions of real pendulums is introduced. The application of pendulums to clocks is described, with detailed discussion of the effect of inevitable differences between real pendulums and simple pendulums. In a clock, the objective is to ensure that the pendulum controls the timekeeping. However, pendulums are sometimes driven, and how this affects their behaviour is described. Pendulums are sometimes used for occult purposes. It is possible to explain some apparently occult results by using modern pendulum theory. For example, why a ring suspended inside a wine glass, by a thread from a finger, eventually strikes the glass. Pendulums have a wide range of uses in scientific instruments, engineering, and entertainment. Some examples are given as case studies.

Indexed in the Book Citation Index– Science (BKCI-S)



Authors and affiliations

  • L.P. Pook
    • 1
  1. 1.KentUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-94-007-1414-4
  • Online ISBN 978-94-007-1415-1
  • Series Print ISSN 1875-3442
  • Series Online ISSN 1875-3426
  • Buy this book on publisher's site