Thursday, December 29, 2011

Troubleshoot Your Cuckoo Clock Music Mechanism

Here's a great video from the VdS (Black Forest Clock Association) These are advance techniques for adjusting and fine-tuning your music box mechanism. Please be sure to pay careful attention to the video when making any adjustments, and remember that ALL of these adjustments should be VERY VERY small. All wire-bending and tweaking should be done a hair's width at a time. Be careful not to force anything or to bend anything too far.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Very Cute Halloween Costume: A Cuckoo Clock of course!

From playdrmom:

"Honor has been quite interested in cuckoo clocks. Also, one of her favorite songs is “Tick tock tick tock. I’m a little cuckoo clock. Tick tock tick tock. Now I’m striking one o’clock.” So, when asked what she wanted to be for Halloween … she said “a cuckoo clock”."

Click through to the website for instructions! I know what my son will dress up as next year!

More Great Automata!

As always, we're scouring the internets to find you the most interesting postings of fascinating automata!

[via Kugelbahn]

[via io9]

Hugo Cabret

The book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick has been on our reading list for quite some time (Take a look at the other titles while you're at it... just on the side bar of the blog) So, it's great to see that Martin Scorsese has made a movie!

This is Steampunk and Clockworkpunk gone mainstream!

New super-accurate atomic clocks

From New Scientist:

"Clocks that gain or lose no more than a fraction of a second over the lifetime of the universe could be on the way, thanks to a technique for cutting through the "heat haze" that compromises the accuracy of today's instruments.

The most accurate atomic clock we have now is regulated by the electrons of a single aluminium ion as they move between two different orbits with sharply defined energy levels. When an electron goes from the higher energy level to the lower it emits radiation of a precise frequency. That frequency is used to mark out time to an accuracy of better than 1 part in 1017, or 1 second in 3 billion years.

That's pretty good, but it could be better. Infrared photons emanating from the background cause the two energy levels to shift by slightly different amounts..."

[via io9]

Catch up on news from the world of clocks

We've been silent for a while, so here's a bunch of news from the world of clocks to catch up a bit...

[from AdaFruit]

[from Automata Blog]

[from Makezine]

[from Automata Blog]

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Automaton Worth Posting

From the Blackbird journal:

Driven by a key-wound spring, the monk walks in a square, striking his chest with his right arm, raising and lowering a small wooden cross and rosary in his left hand, turning and nodding his head, rolling his eyes, and mouthing silent obsequies. From time to time, he brings the cross to his lips and kisses it. After over 400 years, he remains in good working order. Tradition attributes his manufacture to one Juanelo Turriano, mechanician to Emperor Charles V. The story is told that the emperor's son King Philip II, praying at the bedside of a dying son of his own, promised a miracle for a miracle, if his child be spared. And when the child did indeed recover, Philip kept his bargain by having Turriano construct a miniature penitent homunculus.

[via Boing Boing]

Ferguson's Orrery

“This machine is so much of an ORRERY, as is sufficient to shew [sic] the different lengths of days and nights, the vicissitudes of the seasons, the retrograde motion of the nodes of the Moon’s orbit, the direct motion of the apogeal point of her orbit, and the months in which the Sun and Moon must be eclipsed.”
- James Ferguson, 1764

This is an interpretation of an orrery built by the Scottish Astronomer James Ferguson in 1750. The original does not survive, but there is much information about it in Ferguson's writings.

We've posted about Ferguson and his Orrery before, and you can read more information about it at our /museum page.

Watch this space! And you'll see a lot more about these fascinating little devices.

New Pour Le Merites from Lange u. Sohn

From Watching Horology:

The Hour Glass Atelier at ION is showcasing from the 13th to the 19th of July a complete set of four white gold Pour Le Merites. The PLMs are the jewel in Lange's crown but the fourth iteration is larger and seemingly different in its DNA from its previous three - shown here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Civil War Cuckoo Gets Appreciated in Atlanta

Mike Simpson shows off his Civil War-era cuckoo clock at the National Archives at Atlanta in Morrow. He plans to bring the clock to "Civil War Treasures in Your Nation's Attic, " an "Antiques Roadshow"-like event that will be filmed April 16 at the National Archives at Atlanta.

From Access Atlanta:
    Michael Simpson has a clock. It was made by the American Cuckoo Clock Co. of Philadelphia. With its fluted columns, the rosewood clock is reminiscent of a Greek temple. At its peak is a small door, no larger than a playing card, that pops open to reveal a tiny wooden bird, light blue with a dappled white breast. The clock has been in his family for more than a century. It was a gift to Aaron Simpson, who was barely more than a child when he joined a New Hampshire regiment as its drummer boy. He went off to war, came back and was presented with a handsome clock from his father, no doubt relieved that the youngster made it through the conflict intact. 
     Unlike young Aaron, the clock never saw much action. For various reasons, it was hardly used from one generation to the next, though a family cat did knock it off a wall, denting the clock’s face. Simpson, 56, plans to show it Saturday. 
    “You don’t see them like that anymore,” said Simpson, a retired chef who lives in Hapeville. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” 
     Its value? “It wouldn’t matter what it’s worth,” said Simpson. “This’ll go to my son, and his son, and so on.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kinetic Wave Sculpture

[via Make]

Cuckoo Birds in an "Evolutionary War"

Here's an interesting piece from io9:
    Cuckoos don't bother building their own nests - they just lay eggs that perfectly mimic those of other birds and take over their nests. But other birds are wising up, evolving some seriously impressive tricks to spot the cuckoo eggs. 
    Cuckoos are what's known as brood parasites, meaning they hide their eggs in the nests of other species. To avoid detection, the cuckoos have evolved so that their eggs replicate those of their preferred targets. If the host bird doesn't notice the strange egg in its nest, the newly hatched cuckoo will actually take all the nest for itself, taking the other eggs on its back and dropping them out of the nest. 
     To avoid this nasty fate for their offspring, the other birds have evolved a few nifty ways to spot the fakes, which we're only now beginning to fully understand. One of the most intriguing finds is that birds have an extra color-sensitive cell in their retinas, which makes them far more sensitive to ultraviolet wavelengths and allows them to see a far greater range of colors than we humans can. This allows wary birds to detect a counterfeit egg where to our eyes they're all identical...

More Fascinating Automata

The clock tower seems to be modeled after the Prague Clock.

[via Automaton Blog]

Clockwork Man

We've had The Invention of Hugo Cabret on our reading list for a while now. Good news is that Martin Scorcese is working on a movie adaptation!

It's a story about a mechanical automaton, and a loose narrative on the life of Georges Méliès.

[via io9]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth


    The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth's day by a fraction and shifted how the planet's mass is distributed.

    A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth's spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

    Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake's impact – which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day – based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet's mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second.

    "By changing the distribution of the Earth's mass, the Japanese earthquake should have caused the Earth to rotate a bit faster, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds," Gross told in an e-mail. More refinements are possible as new information on the earthquake comes to light, he added..."

Mechanical Computer

[via Adafruit]

The German Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments at Bruchsa

The Badisches Landmuseum at Karlsruhe has an excellent website where you can listen to some exceptionally rare and fascinating mechanical musical instruments and musical clocks.

Here you can listen to a Musical cabinet by the Veith-Langenbucher company, Augsburg, circa 1620... or an Elephant Clock, c. 1760, Clock case: Antoine Foullet, Mechanism: Tibeauville-Lamy... or an Apollo Clock, c. 1780... or a Chest with Flute Mechanism, c. 1804, Davrainville workshop, Paris.

The website has this to say about the Musical Chest:

    After Napoleon was crowned Emperor he is said to have commissioned this model and given it to the Duchess of Bordeaux. The metal pin roller, also known asa cob, has eight melodies by Joseph Haydn which he specifically composed for this mechanical instrument.

I wish there were better pictures available to post, but the sound files are definitely worth checking out!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mechanical Galleon

This is a beautiful piece that deserves to be blogged about:

From The British Museum:

    Automaton in the form of a 'nef' or ship table ornament.

    Gilded brass hull with embossed decoration of the sea with waves and monsters.
    Three masts with yard arms carrying furled cloth sails. At the top of each mast a metal pennant. Wire rigging ropes and waxed thread ratlines.

    On the main deck eight figures each with a sword.
    A small clock is mounted at the base of the main mast, showing hours and minutes on a silver dial with coloured enamel floral motifs
    In the crows' nests of the main mast sailors strike the hours and quarters on inverted bells.
    Beneath the main mast heralds and Electors automatically process before an Emperor seated beneath a canopy with a double-headed eagle of the Holy Roma Empire.
    On the rear deck, two painted figures with swords.
    The bowsprit contains a wheel-lock canon which fired automatically.
    A further ten cannons are arranged around the hull.

    Within the hull, spring-driven clockwork mechanisms operated the automaton figures and provided motion for the machine to run along and also pumped the bellows to provide air for the regal. On the starboard side of the movement a large rotating programme barrel operated the stop on the regal to play the music.

    Wheels originally at the base of the hull have been replaced with ball feet.

    A regal organ with bellows played music as the machine moved along.
    Whilst in motion the tops of the foremast and mizzen mast rotated.
    Originally the base of the movement was stretched with a drum-skin automatically played when the ship was in motion.

    Height: 104 centimetres
    Length: 78.5 centimetres
    Width: 20.3 centimetres (excluding cannons)

    Curator's comments
    The present state of the nef means that it no longer functions. The eight figures on the main deck are not original, but are cast copies of one original figure on the rear deck. The original figures were trumpeters and drummers. The wheels have been removed and replaced with ball feet.

    For a similar figure, and possibly an original from this nef, see a miniature figure - registration number 1983,0706.1.

    An inventory from the Kunstkammer of the Elector of Saxony in Dresden, describes in detail a nef such this - but it could well have been another example.

    Two other similar mechanical nefs are known to have survived, firstly a silver gilt nef, of different design, formerly belonging to Emperor Rudolf II in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. A similar nef to the British Museum example in the Musée de la Renaissance in Écouen, France.

    Text from 'Clocks', by David Thompson, London, 2004, pp. 52-55.
    Hans Schlottheim
    Automaton clock in the form of a ship or nef
    Augsburg, c. 1585
    Height 104 cm, length 78.5 cm, width 20.3 cm (excluding cannons)
    "A gilded Ship or Nef, skilfully made, with a quarter and full hour striking clock, which is to be wound every 24 hours. Above are three masts, in the crow's nests of which sailors revolve and strike the quarters and hours with hammers on the bells. Inside, the Holy Roman Emperor sits on the imperial throne, and in front of him pass the seven electors with heralds, paying homage as they receive their fiefs. Furthermore ten trumpeters and a kettle drummer alternately announce the banquet. Also a drummer and three guardsmen, and sixteen small cannon, eleven of which may be loaded and fire automatically. With its protective case, it stands on a long green table cloth."

    This description of a ship automaton, recently discovered by John Leopold, former curator of horology at the British Museum, in the inventories of the 'Kunstkammer' of the Elector of Saxony in Dresden, could easily refer to a magnificent 'nef' made by Hans Schlottheim of Augsburg in about 1585, which is now in The British Museum collections. It has a small clock, showing hours and minutes on a beautiful silver dial with coloured enamel floral motifs. Sailors wielding hammers in the crow's nests strike the hours and quarters. However, the machine is not essentially a clock, but a magnificent and ingenious automaton designed to announce a banquet by travelling independently along a table. As it went, a small regal or pipe organ would play a tune and drumsticks would play on a skin stretched across the base of the ship's hull. While all this was going on, the tops of the fore and mizzen masts would twirl round. As part of the entertainment, the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, preceded by three heralds, processed and each made a small bow before the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, seated on a throne beneath a canopy. The ship moved on again accompanied by the music and drumming and as a grand finale to entertain the guests, it fired the main cannon in the bowsprit, which then ignited a fast-burning fuse that burnt quickly round the hull, firing off the other cannons in turn to finish its performance in a wonder of noise and smoke.
    Hans Schlottheim was born some time between 1544 and 1547, the son of a clockmaker from Naumburg in Saxony. From as early as 1567 he lived in Augsburg. Although nothing is known of his apprenticeship, it is recorded that he was a journeyman clockmaker in the workshop of Jeremias Metzger in the 1570s. On 20 December 1573 he married Ursula Geiger, widow of the master locksmith Hans Schitterer. By this marriage he obtained his 'smith's eligibility' or Schmiedegerechtigkeit and was thus able to begin working in his own right within the Augsburg Clockmakers' Guild, where he became a master clockmaker in 1576. In 1586 Schlottheim became a 'guard' within the guild, with responsibility for supervising the quality of the work of the other Augsburg clock makers. It was in 1586 that he was given permission to work for a year at the Imperial Court in Prague. In subsequent years he again left Augsburg to work for the Prince Elector of Saxony in Dresden in 1589 and 1593. Schlottheim died in 1625; his second wife, Euphrosina Osswald, having been described as a widow in the tax registers for 1626.
    Schlottheim is also renowned for a number of other clocks and automata, including in 1577 the first public clock to be installed in Augsburg that struck the hours and quarters. He also made two other nefs; one in the Musée National de la Renaissance in Écouen and one in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. As well as these, Schlottheim is known to have made the 'Trumpeter Automaton' in 1582 for Wilhelm V, Duke of Bavaria, who presented it to Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol, and which is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. A further clock known as the 'Christmas Nativity' automaton, described in the Dresden 'Kunstkammer' inventory of 1 January 1589, was intended for the Ottoman Emperor in about 1584. It was destroyed in 1945 and now only survives as a fragment in the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon in Dresden. In 1588 he created two crayfish in red-painted copper, one of them now also in the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Dresden. In addition to these, Schlottheim made a trumpeter automaton in 1589 for the Duchess of Graz and in about 1600, a clock with a rolling ball called 'The Tower of Babel' now in the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden. Lastly there is 'The Triumph of Bacchus' automaton, which he made in about 1605 and which is also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

    The British Museum nef was purchased by Octavius Morgan in 1866 and presented to the Museum. In that year he wrote:
    "My dear Franks, I have as you know, lately purchased a wonderful clock in the form of a medieval ship having several automaton figures which move with the clockwork. My intention was to have added it to my collection of ancient clocks down here but the difficulty and trouble of getting it here when cleaned and properly set to right as it requires and especially the great risk of its sustaining injury in the journey and frequent moving have made me determined to offer it as a present to the British Museum, if the Trustees shall be pleased to accept it. For I consider it to be an object of such great curiosity and interest, independently of its being so beautiful a piece of work, and such a fine specimen of the mechanism of the sixteenth century that I really think it is a pity that so fine a thing should be concealed in a private house instead of forming part of a public collection as it would be if received into the British Museum where it would be appreciated . . . Yours very truly, Octavius Morgan."

    Sadly, the years have not been kind to this nef and now none of it functions and nearly all the original figures are missing. Those on the main deck are all copies of an original standing at the edge of the rear deck and many others are no longer present.
    Presented by Octavius Morgan in 1866.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Image of Clock

Here's a beautiful image, by Todd Mclellan, of a vintage alarm clock - all apart.

From GraphicHug: Todd Mclellan has been creating compelling images ever since his days in kindergarten fingerpainting class.

Check out more on his site, plus a video

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jefferson and Ferguson

James Ferguson (1710-1776) is known for designing orreries, or mechanical models of the Solar System. He was greatly admired by our national hero, and contemporary Thomas Jefferson and the staff at Monticello recently completed a beautiful reproduction of one of Ferguson's models.

Check out our /museum pages for more information on the history of timekeeping, and similar mechanics.

Check out more information on the great Monticello Blog!

[Thanks to Charles Morrill.]

Friday, February 04, 2011

More on Kellogg's Clock

I was interested to know more about the big cuckoo clock that Kellogg's is entering for a Guinness World Records® holder. The cuckoo clock will kick off Kellogg's It's Morning Somewhere campaign. I found this news report that shows some pics of the clock, although it's still a little hard to see details of what the clock is. Is it wood? Does it tell time? Does it have a cuckoo bird that comes out and moves?

You can learn more from the Facebook videos here. It looks like the clock does tell time, there is a sound of a cuckoo bird, but I haven't seen one come out yet - instead, they have celebrities coming out of the door at the top.

It definitely doesn't look like it's weight-driven or mechanical. I don't see any bellows. Still, a cute idea - and we love to see more cuckoo clocks around!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kellogg's Wants to be a Contenter

We just got an update from our news correspondent covering the beat in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Kellogg's is starting a new advertising campaign called, "It's Morning Somewhere!" Part of their new promotion involves the construction of the next World's Largest Cuckoo Clock. They're planning a cuckoo clock that will be 66-feet tall and 28-feet wide and is being considered for a Guinness World Records® Record.

From the Kellogg's website:

    The Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cuckoo clock will feature a rich, dark-wood facade and many of the traditional elements of a cuckoo clock, including an outer face with Roman numerals, a shingled roof with eaves and doors from which the Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cuckoo clock character will emerge. Additional elements include decorative accoutrements, such as tree leaves and wood branches, pine-cone-shaped weights and a pendulum in the shape of a spoon.

    "To bring this iconic brand to the U.S., we wanted a symbol that represented the 'It's Morning Somewhere™' campaign and the enormity of the launch," said Yuvraj Arora, senior director. "Creating this immense clock and generating an exciting experience for consumers is a fun way to introduce Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cereal in the U.S. and bring our campaign to life."

We've done a series of posts about the many "Largest Cuckoo Clocks" around the world. It'll be very interesting to see how the Kellogg's example stacks up. I know that one point that the Guinness World Records® decided upon was that clocks qualifying for the "Largest Cuckoo Clock" record should be free standing. In other words, you can't just stick an electric clock movement on the side of a building and call it a large cuckoo clock. Also, we give extra props to those clocks that have a giant traditional mechanical movement to power the clock, like the one at Eble in Triberg:

[pictures from Mimi's Adventures in Europe Blog]

So, let's see some pictures Kellogg's! We'd love to post some sketches of the design!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Martha Stewart is Finally Catching On

We were glad to see a great post on CLOCKS on Martha Stewart's website, by designer Kevin Sharkey.

His blog post includes a great idea of stenciling a clock directly on his wall:

He also has some pictures of a few cuckoo clocks, some are almost as interesting as our /design series...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cute Cuckoo!

Embroidery and knitting are experiencing a resurgence in popularity - especially among young people. We were glad to see that the cuckoo clock theme is included in this fun!

It would be great to see something with a real cuckoo clock movement. If you're out there crafters, let us know if you'll accept the challenge! Make a knitted or embroidered, or otherwise stitched cuckoo with a bird that comes out and calls.

[via Little Dear Tracks]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Memento Mori

"Memento Mori" is a reminder of mortality. Our "All Are Mine" clock is an excellent modern example that is the result of a long tradition of clockmaker artisans who remind us that life is short, and all things must pass.

This clock tells us a story. In the upper left part of the clock, you'll see a rich man (with his bags of money and fine suit). Just above the 12:00 position, there is a carving of a king, and to his right there is a carved figure of a monk. Underneath the dial are carved representations of the young and the old; and at the bottom you can see the world. The clock bears the inscription, Alle sind mein, or "All Are Mine."

Whether you are a rich person, royalty, a man of the church, young and old, all around the world, Death will eventually come to collect you. At the top, astride the foliott balance, the personification of the End of Life swings to collect his harvest.

Along with my previous post, here are more very fine examples of Memento Mori in the world of horology:

Mary Queen of Scots's Skull Watch

From The Watchismo Times:

It is believed Mary gave this watch as a gift to Mary Seaton, one of her maids of honor. The skull is of silver gilt and is engraved with lines of Horace, figures of Death with his scythe and hourglass, Adam and Eve, and the Crucifixion. The lower part of the skull is pierced to emit the sound when it strikes, being cut in the form of emblems of the Crucifixion. The works occupy the brain's position in the skull fitting into a silver bell which fills the entire hollow of the skulL The hours are struck on this bell by a small hammer on a separate train.

1810 Skull Pocket Watch

From The Watchismo Times:

18K gold, enamel, diamond verge and fusee skull watch. 43 mm high x 27 wide x 32 deep.

19th Century Victorian Skeleton Automaton Alarm Clock

[Via The Watchismo Times]

Crystal Skull Watch from Circa 1715

From The Watchismo Times

This skull watch/clock, circa 1715, by watchmaker James Harmar of London was carved from rock-crystal and fitted with a gold-mounted watch. Three-body skull, made of three solid pieces of rock crystal, the top and the bottom mounted in gold engraved frames, the lower frame housing the movement, the jaw articulated on the sides opening to expose the silver champlevé with Roman chapters and half-hour divisions, outer minute ring with Arabic five-minute numerals. Blued-steel, 'beetle and poker' hands. 39.5 mm o, hinged, gilt brass full plate, tulip pillars, fusee and chain for the going train, English single-footed cock pierced and engraved with symmetrical foliage and a mask in the base, rack and pinion with silver plate. Signed on the dial and movement. Dim. Length 85 mm, width 50 mm, height 80 mm. Published in the Sandberg book (Antiquorum), pages 376-377.

Incerta Mortis Hora - “The Hour of Death is Uncertain”

[Via Daily Info, Oxford]

Jacobean Lantern Clock

From The Times:

LONDON A rare memento mori clock that predates the Great Fire of London fetched a record £120,000 at auction.

The brass lantern clock, made by William Bowyer in 1623, is engraved with a skeleton on one side and Chronus, the Greek god of time, walking with his scythe, on the other. It had been expected to sell for £30,000 to £50,000.

The memento mori (remember your mortality) message reflected the preoccupation of 17th-century Puritans with divine judgment and the afterlife.

The clock, dating from the reign of James I of England (James VI of Scotland), was sold at Bonhams.

Of course, one could argue that ALL clocks are essentially reminders that time is fleeting, and that your life is being used up, one tick at a time.

Skull Clock

Here's a very interesting piece that recently sold at the Antiquorum Auctions. Perfect for all of you Steampunks and Goths, this piece is nearly 400 years old!

This is a very interesting fusee with chain, verge escapement, and plain steel two-arm balance without spring.

From the Watchismo Blog:

During the first minute, the skull's expression seems to smile, the second minute it seems to laugh, the next appears to scream and finally, the jaws snap shut, as if the skull were trying to bite something. At the same time, one of the snakes slowly sinks back down into one of the eye sockets, while the other slowly comes out of the other eye, before retracting suddenly, as the first snake again springs out from its eye-socket. And to view the time, just open up the skull cap! It sold recently for $135,000.

Designed & built in 1610 by Nicolaus Schmidt der Junger (Augsburg, Germany) as a skull set on two crossed shinbones and mounted on a gilt brass tripod, the hinged skull cap (restored) disclosing the dial. Later hexagonal ebony molded base. D. Silver champlevé enameled dial with floral decoration. Gilt brass single hand. M. Hinged oval gilt brass full plate with urn pillars, fusee with chain, verge escapement, plain steel two-arm balance without spring, gilt brass pierced and engraved irregular cock secured by a screw, with matching click for the ratchet wheel set-up. The movements of the automaton jaw and the snakes in the eyes are controlled by two six-spoke cams driven by the fusee and revolving twenty times an hour, so that the jaws take three minutes to open and then close suddenly while the snakes alternately pop out of, then return back into, each eye socket, twice a minute. Height 14 cm, including the base. Back plate signed.

[via the Automaton Blog]

Check out our fine, handmade modern clock of a similar style:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Every Clock Tells a Story, What Will Yours Be?

There's a charming story at the Springfield Illinois State Journal-Register. A very nice turn-of-the-Century Bahnhäusle hangs on the wall of its maker's grandson.

From the State Journal-Register:
Charles Neuner was a craftsman and jeweler who emigrated from Germany to Springfield permanently in 1905. His shop, Neuner’s Reliable Jewelers, (slogan: “Gifts That Last Will Always Be Remembered”) was at 124 N. Fifth St. [in Springfield] until his death in 1954.

Back in Germany, Charles worked for a German clock company. He handmade a cuckoo clock that he brought with him to Springfield. The clock was on the wall of the home on North Second Street where Charles and his wife, Pauline, lived.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homunculous Sculpture

Nemo Gould does some beautiful and interesting work in automata. You can watch him document his creations on his blog.

[Via target="_blank">Nemomatic]

Nice Watch at Bonhams, But We Have One Like It

Here's a nice watch going up on the block at Bonhams auction.

Eternamatic: An 18ct gold automatic calendar wristwatch
The signed silvered dial with applied gilt baton hour markers, gilt hands with sweep centre seconds hand and date aperture, 21-jewel Cal:1466U automatic movement, polished round case with screw on back, fitted associated leather strap, dial diameter 3.4cm.

A nice, classic design, and very similar to our 1966 model, or our Yaroslavl model watches.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Setting a Hermle w1217 Quartz Movement

Here's a great post from Instructables on how to set the time and chime on an old w 1217 Hermle movement.

This German-made movement was a pioneer in bringing a "real-sounding" chime to a quartz movement. If your older clock has one of these movements, and it doesn't work, it's more cost-effective to replace it with a more modern mechanism. But, if you just need to set it, here are some good step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

From Instructables:

Top left are the STOP and START buttons.
Three knobs along the left side are also buttons.
A knob in the center sets the analog hands.
Upper right corner has the Make (Hermle) and Model# (1217)
Lower right is the battery compartment.

- The STOP button stops the analog movement and resets all digital settings.
- The START button begins keeping time after you're done setting the clock.
- Knob 1 sets the time in the digital portion of the clock. Turn the knob to the number you wish to set and press it until you hear a beep.
- Knob 2 sets the chime. Turn it to the the one you want and press the knob. This one apparently doesn't beep to confirm the selection.
- Knob 3 sets various options. This one also doesn't make a confirmation beep. The first position will do a full test chime with 12 "gongs" while the clock is running. Option two turns off the sound (default is on). Options three lets you set one of two volume settings (default is loud). Fourth option turns off the chime at night (I think...I didn't test it) (default is to chime at all hours).

After you've made all your digital settings, pull the analog knob and set the time on the clock hands.
Press the green START button to begin ticking.
Replace the back panel and replace the clock on your mantle (or wherever).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Single Gear System that Changes Speed

Should be interesting to any gearhead:


Have you heard about Boilerplate? A fantastic historical discovery has been made!

From Boilerplate's website:

Boilerplate was a mechanical man developed by Professor Archibald Campion during the 1880s and unveiled at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Built in a small Chicago laboratory, Boilerplate was a prototype soldier built for "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations". Although it was the only such prototype, Boilerplate was eventually able to exercise its proposed function in several combat actions.

Boilerplate embarked on a series of expeditions to demonstrate its abilities, the most ambitious being a voyage to Antarctica. Boilerplate is one of history's great ironies, a technological milestone that remains largely unknown.

Note: Although we are reasonably sure that (overall) this blog is pretty factual, we definitely make no guarantees on this particular post :)

Historical Automata

There's a great rundown of historical automata at Dark Roasted Blend.

We've pictured many of these great devices on this blog before. I was glad to see the pooping duck, which I had previously only read about in Tom Standage's delightful book.

[via Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik]