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.