His first attempt, made in the same year, at the Dolcoath mine in Cornwall, failed in consequence of an accident to one of the pendulums; a second attempt in 1828 was defeated by a flooding of the mine, and many years elapsed before another opportunity presented itself.
When generalizing the theory of pendulums of Jacob Bernoulli (1654-1705) he discovered a principle of dynamics so simple and general that it reduced the laws of the motions of bodies to that of their equilibrium.
A nickel steel containing 36% of nickel has the property of retaining an almost constant volume when heated or cooled through a considerable range of temperature; it is therefore useful for the construction of pendulums and for measures of length.
On drawing a violin bow across the edge, the pendulums are thrown off to a considerable distance, and falling back are again repelled, and so on.
If the difference of the number of oscillations made by the two pendulums in a given time is small compared to the number made by either of them separately, then it is easy to show that the power given to the circuit is measured by the gain or loss of one clock over the other in a given time, and can therefore be indicated on a counting mechanism or registering dials.