Tompion, Thomas

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Thomas Tompion, 1639?–1713, English clockmaker. When the Royal Observatory at Greenwich was established in 1676, Tompion was chosen to make two clocks, to be wound only once a year, which proved to be more accurate timepieces than those available to other observatories. Utilizing the new inventions of the cylinder escapement (which enabled the making of flat watches) and the balance spring (discovered by Robert Hooke), he raised clockmaking and watchmaking to a fine art. Several of his clocks survive and still run.