Thursday, August 09, 2012

A New Type of Escapement??

Here's a nice find on YouTube... from the description:
    Implementation and early development of a fully detached, gravity impulsed, mechanical escapement inspired by the designs of James Arnfield. Prototype built for kinematic amusement with the possibility of satisfactory timekeeping. The pendulum should at no time be connected directly to the going train and only impulsed by a falling tumbler which, after leaving contact with the pendulum, releases the escapement. 

If you know more about this, I'd love to hear from you. Looks fascinating.

How Tower Clocks Work

Here's a great video. Beautiful clock!

A description of an E. Howard and Co. Clock Tower Clock (anchor escapement) and how it functions by breaking down the mechanism into 4 categories and explaining each section. The clock is at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, MA.

Friday, August 03, 2012

NEW MODEL - Brettluhr Castle Clock

We, at North Coast Imports are very pleased to introduce the NEW Brettluhr!

Brettluhr is a "Little Board Clock."  It was a clock that mostly existed in Vienna in the first half of the  Nineteenth Century.  (Here and here are original Brettluhr clocks.)  It appeared in many styles and configurations, but Brettluhren commonly consisted of a board with a movement mounted to it.  Usually the board didn't have any sides or door which encased the movement.

For our version, we decided to use a mechanism which showed off the beauty of the gears.  This "Skeleton" style movement is made in Germany.  It is, of course, made with the best quality materials and according to a time-tested design.  It is a single-train movement with a drop-off bell strike.  In other words, it strikes the sonorous bell once as the minute hand passes the hour.

The clock is powered by the pull of gravity on the weight.  By the end of the week, the weight will have slowly fallen to the ground - requiring your interaction with the clock to pull the weight back up again.

The board comes from Amish craftsmen.  It is hand cut and hand finished.  The solid-walnut board has a beautiful and rich grain.  Each one is slightly different, as a different part of the tree is used.

The clock is available in two versions: with, or without the laser engraving.  The engraved version has a beautiful floral or Arabesque design, inspired by European lace patterns.

This clock would be a beautiful addition to any home.  It's swinging pendulum, falling weight, and ringing bell add life and dimension to a room.  Hanging this piece on your wall will provide a delightful presence and interactive charm.

Ask your favorite Sternreiter or North Coast Imports dealer today about this delicious new clock!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Reposted Mechanical Curiosities from Dug North

I love Dug North's Blog. In case you don't already follow it, here are some noteworthy recent posts - for lovers of clocks and mechanical automata.

Here's a beautiful and artistic piece from Levi van Veluw

An analog clock in a digital world:

This eye-boggling piece was recently featured in Clocks Magazine.

Another book for your library...

The mechanical clock, at least in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with its rational design and regular running, demonstrated an orderliness lacking in almost every aspect of life at that time. The clock came to offer an explanation for the mysterious workings of the cosmos: living creatures were in fact automata, and the universe itself was an enormous clockwork...

Another great clockwork sculpture:

There is truly some fascinating and beautiful stuff out there.  Follow this blog and Dug's blog for constant updates on the world of clockwork art!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Musical Mystery House

Dug North has a writeup on the Musical Mystery House in Wiscasset, Maine


It's an old video, but it features some whistling automata like the bird cage, bird box and whistling man that are available through North Coast Imports!

Address for the Musical Mystery House:
Musical Wonder House 16-18 High Street
Wiscasset, ME 04578

Memorial Day Weekend through Halloween
Monday through Saturday, from 10AM - 5PM and Sunday Noon - 5 PM
Web site:

Monkey Automaton On a Black Forest Clock

Here's a really interesting piece, again from Dug North's inestimable blog.

The monkey is shaving!  It's really a complicated movement, similar to a Black Forest dumpling eater (or rat eater) but more colorful.  I wish there were pictures of the clock too!

Friday, July 27, 2012


We're about to introduce an exciting NEW model.  Stay tuned for more info.  AND HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

SOLID walnut board, made in the U.S.A. with German mechanism.  We're really excited to introduce this new model from Sternreiter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Strasburg Astronomical Clock

It turns out there is an antique replica (PDF) in Sydney! Made in 1887.

[via Kugelbahn]

Puccini Opera Came From a Music Box?

There's a fantastic article in the New York Times about the Morris Museum in New Jersey.  A musicologist draws connections between an 1877 Swiss music box there with Puccini's Madam Butterfly.

Even now few visitors spend much time in the room where the Swiss music boxes are displayed. Yet, being a musicologist, I lingered there alone last January as my children ran ahead. I kept listening to one box in particular, a harmoniphone from around 1877, equipped with a reed organ and able to play six Chinese tunes from a cylinder. 
Confused at first, I suddenly realized that I had stumbled on the key to a musicological mystery many decades old. Scholars have long known that Puccini used Chinese tunes in his opera “Turandot” (set in China and left incomplete on Puccini’s death in 1924). But they have been puzzled by the origins of two “Japanese” tunes in his “Madama Butterfly” (set in Japan and first performed in 1904). What I had found were Chinese sources for two major themes in “Butterfly” and a surprising connection between that opera and “Turandot.” 
Was it possible that Puccini had heard this very box in Italy and that it provided crucial inspiration for “Madama Butterfly”?
The article is a fascinating romp of detective work on an antique mechanical music box.   

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Don't forget to hold back your clocks this month!

We'll have a leap second at the end of this month. The last minute will have 61 seconds. But, not without controversy:

From Cosmos Magazine:

The leap second has long caused debate among member countries of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), with some arguing for it to be abolished in favour of the exclusive use of atomic time.

Every time a second is added, the world's computers need to be manually adjusted, a costly practice that also boosts the risk of error.

High-precision systems such as satellites and some data networks will have to factor in the leap second or risk provoking a calculation catastrophe.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Black Forest Book

Here's a nice article about our friend Justin and his NEW BOOK!

From the article:
    Collectors Weekly: Was Johann Baptist Beha a well-known clockmaker?

    Miller: Yes, he’s definitely the most prominent cuckoo clockmaker in the Black Forest, and his clocks are collected aggressively. His clocks are usually regarded as the pinnacle of cuckoo clock making, whether deservedly or not.

    If you look at Black Forest clocks as a whole, a lot of them were very cheaply done. They were made for middle- or lower middle-class customers, and most manufacturers were competing with each other, racing to have the lowest price. And how do you lower price? Well, you cut quality and you cut costs.

    One of Miller's most exotic clocks is a cuckoo with a three-train movement and a life-size bird perched on top, designed by Johann Baptist Beha around 1880.

    But Beha basically said, “We’re not going to race to the bottom. We’re going to make clocks of high quality for people who can afford them, and people who value high-end clocks will pay for them.” Many of his clocks stand out as really high-quality pieces, with detailed carving and movements that run for eight days, which was atypical of what you generally would find in a cuckoo clock manufacturer.

    Johann Baptist Beha was also the first to take Eisenlohr’s railway-house design and incorporate a cuckoo into it. He was an innovator as well; Beha was the first one to make a cuckoo clock movement powered by springs, so it could be placed on a table or shelf.

    However, Beha still worked in the traditional cottage industry, which meant that he didn’t actually make the whole clock. It was kind of like the auto industry in Detroit, where there are lots of individual businesses in the area all contributing to the same product. Beha would make the movements, and submit designs for the cases, but there would be a carver or a case maker who would actually make the cases. There would be someone who specialized in making the hands out of bone, someone who made the weights, someone that made the pipes to produce the cuckoo’s call. Basically, the clockmaker would be responsible for orchestrating all these individual parts and combining them into a finished clock. So although Beha had his own workshop where he produced his own movements, there were lots of people that contributed to his products.

    So you have this small region where you have lots of people making clocks, utilizing the same suppliers. That creates problems today, because a lot of people don’t realize Beha didn’t make his own cases; the person supplying cases for Beha was also supplying the cases to Aron Ketterer and other makers, so the outward appearance of these clocks might be identical in every way. Because Beha rarely signed or marked his clocks, many of Ketterer’s products are falsely attributed to the Beha firm....

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Finally! She's running again.

We've been watching the restoration and re-installation of our founder Karl Schleutermann's giant cuckoo clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Sugarcreek Mayor Clayton Wellery, left, and Freeman Mullet line up the clock house of the large cuckoo clock that is being set in the intersection of Main and Broadway Streets in Sugarcreek on Wednesday, May 30, 3012. The wooden clock measures more than 23 feet tall, 24 feet wide and 13 feet deep, and is one of the world's largest cuckoo clocks. (AP Photo/The Times Reporter, Jim Cummings)
Read more:

Friday, June 01, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012


Regular followers of this blog know that I like to repost movies and descriptions of old mechanical automata.  There's a nice little collection of reposted videos over at io9 that's worth checking out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lowe's Commercial

We have no interests in Lowe's, but how can I not re-post this commercial?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"My Cat/Child Would Destroy That!"

This is a phrase we hear all the time from people who love weight-driven clocks (like cuckoo clocks!) but are concerned that their young child or pets might get a hold of the chain or weight and pull the clock down.

It is surely a concern.  We know that it can be nearly impossible to child-proof or pet-proof a modern home, without even considering adding a timepiece.

But consider this: There is nothing quite so personal, or thoughtful, as a gift of a clock to a young child.  It's something that the child will grow up with his or her entire life.  They might even regard a clock as an old friend or at least a remembrance of your love and care.  There are very few gifts which actually last a lifetime.  A mechanical clock is one of those things.

While the child is small, don't worry about needing to keep the clock running all the time.  Sometimes they might just like to see it run now and then... possibly they might enjoy the soothing tick-tock sound while they are asleep in their crib.  When the clock is not running, loop the chain around the top of the clock so that it doesn't hang within reach along the floor.  You could also hang the clock above a shelf or a dresser so that the clock is completely inaccessible from the floor.

It doesn't do the clock any harm NOT to run, or to have something impede the fall of the weight.  You have other devices and tools to tell you the time.  While mechanical clocks do keep excellent time if you need them to, I think that their more important function is to provide a kind of kinetic sculpture.  Ordinary timekeepers (like your cell phone or the clock on your microwave or computer) fill an important function as a tool, but a mechanical clock does so much more.  You don't really need to run them all of the time, so for now gather up the chains and share the enjoyment of a mechanical clock with your young child.  They'll love it!

Baby-Beatrice Anne-email

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

French Clock

Here's an interesting piece. Via Dug North.

    The gilded robed goddess standing atop the marble base has her arms outstretched. The hand of her right arm points to the hour, and the left hand points to the minutes, which are delineated in 5-minute increments. The gilding contrasts most beautifully with the blue enameled backdrop behind the goddess.
    The platform escapement movement works perfectly, translating the clockworks through a clever linkage to the two arms, which when they reach their uppermost point fall dramatically to the lower starting position.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fractal Geared Computer

Meet Bret Thorne, a kinetic sculpturer that makes fantastic clockwork creations!

Go to his website and check out some videos and fascinating descriptions.
Including this one...

    The most primitive computer is comprised of only two parts and from these two parts we can create all others. Those two parts are memory and a comparator. Some may claim that any practical computer must also have input and output, but that just is memory, or registers, memory again, or an ALU, nope that's a comparator. 
    We can further delineate memory into two types, read-only and read-write. We need the read-write type of memory to store temporary values for comparison. For example, read-write memory could be a toggle or counter. Read-only memory is convenient for storing tables or a program, however these two examples are symbolic and not necessary for computation. An example of read-only memory is pegs in a disc, where the presents of a peg represents a symbol.

    The true heart of a computer is the comparator. A comparator simply compares two values. One of those two values was read from memory previously and the other value is read at the current position in memory. 
    Now that we have our fundamental blocks we can start creating all the other complications that are common to modern computers. However, I'm out of time now so that will have to wait until later.... 
He's working on a giant geared computer. Very interesting stuff.

[via Make]

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don't Forget Our Twitter Feed

We are making quicker updates on Twitter that don't make it to our regular blog. Please make sure you are following our Twitter feed too. There are lots of cool updates, like pictures of NEW models being designed in our workshop...

You can see this feed at and the RSS feed for that is:

...And Facebook too! We've got pictures and info and updates on Facebook. Like us at

Our Twitter and Facebook updates are also posted to the right on this blog page ->

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

David Secrett

Wow! Check out this fantastic video from 1976.  It features ex-spy and ex-instrument and automata repairman David Secrett, now automata creator.  My next step is to start watching auctions for works by this master craftsman.  Check out the fantastic complexity!

[Via the Automata Blog. As usual, our friend Dug North never fails to find impressive stuff!]

Morbiers in Restoration Hardware

There's a beautiful picture of a warehouse of antiques in the latest Restoration Hardware catalog, featuring some nice Morbiers in various states.  RH is focusing on "deconstructed" furniture with a French Provincial, rustic, and somewhat industrial influences.  They get it! They understand how these beautiful works fit perfectly in a modern environment.

You can't get an original hand made Morbier clock from Restoration Hardware, but you can from North Coast Imports!  Email us today for more info...

Friday, March 09, 2012

New Nuclear Clock

From ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2012):
    A proposed new time-keeping system tied to the orbiting of a neutron around an atomic nucleus could have such unprecedented accuracy that it neither gains nor loses 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years -- the age of the Universe.
New technology may produce a clock 100 times more accurate than the best current Atomic clocks.

[photo: NASA]

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More New Goodies!

Here's another snapshot from our workshop. Stay tuned for exciting new models from North Coast Imports and Sternreiter!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New Watch Prototypes

Here's an interesting interface designed by programmer Trammell Hudson of NYC Resistor. He's got all kinds of new designs for his hackable watch on his Flickr feed. It's great to see all of the new ideas for horology coming from such a wide pool of expertise. Conway's Life (Day 24)

Via Makezine:

    Trammell Hudson of NYC Resistor designed an interface a day for his hackable inPulse watch. He has a lot of great ones but I really like his Conway’s Game of Life interface from Day 24.

    Today I had to work late, so the watch is not really finished. It borrows the game of life code from a previous watch and tries to work the time display into the game grid. Perhaps with a better font this would have worked better; maybe make the 7 into a glider and have some other interesting shapes in the characters.

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Exciting Models Are On The Way!

We're busy working on designing and building exciting new clockwork dreams! So much work done and so much still to do. I can hardly take a moment to put out this blog post, but you will be very pleased with the new horological pieces we will be introducing with our new 2012 collection.

As usual, stay tuned, watch this space and check out our website, Twitter feed, and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don’t Mock the Artisanal-Pickle Makers

Great article in The NY Times:
    When it comes to profit and satisfaction, craft business is showing how American manufacturing can compete in the global economy. Many of the manufacturers who are thriving in the United States (they exist, I swear!) have done so by avoiding direct competition with low-cost commodity producers in low-wage nations. Instead, they have scrutinized the market and created customized products for less price-sensitive customers. Facebook and Apple, Starbucks and the Boston Beer Company (which makes Sam Adams lager) show that people who identify and meet untapped needs can create thousands of jobs and billions in wealth. As our economy recovers, there will be nearly infinite ways to meet custom needs at premium prices.

    Meanwhile, the idea (or at least the hope) is that as China and other emerging nations develop, the United States can stay on the profitable forefront, delivering specific high-tech parts to their factories and the latest upmarket foods to their middle class. According to this view, the fracturing of industrial manufacturing, however painful, has helped prepare parts of the economy for this new course.

Check out our Orrery, made entirely in the U.S.A.

[via Adafruit]

Time Crystals

Physicists Frank Wilczek at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and Al Shapere at the University of Kentucky, theorize on the existence of Time Crystals or a state at which time arranges itself in the same way matter does within a crystal.

From the Technology Review Blog

    One of the most powerful ideas in modern physics is that the Universe is governed by symmetry. This is the idea that certain properties of a system do not change when it undergoes a transformation of some kind. For example, if a system behaves the same way regardless of its orientation or movement in space, it must obey the law of conservation of momentum. If a system produces the same result regardless of when it takes place, it must obey the law of conservation of energy.

From the io9 blog

    Wilczeck, along with collaborator Al Shapere from the University of Kentucky, has just published two papers examining how the mathematics that govern crystal formations in space could also work in time. They argue that time translation symmetry - the notion that a system will maintain the same features over a given interval of time - can be broken in low energy states and then reduced to a smaller part of the system, which they call time crystals.

    The key here is that the system being described is in its lowest energy state, which means that there should be no movement in it at all. But if something inside the system starts moving, then the time translation symmetry has been broken. What Wilczeck and Shapere argue is that these moving objects could simply get stuck in an eternal loop. The periodic movement of the object through time is just like the periodic arrangement of a crystal's internal structure through space, and the end result is the same - symmetry is broken, but it isn't lost.

[via io9 blog]

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Clock is Chiming, Striking, Cuckooing, Whistling, Calling, or Speaking the Wrong Number!

Probably the most common error made during the setting of a clock that makes noise is that of moving the hour hand independently of the minute hand. Remember: when you set a clock, just move the (longer) minute hand and let the hour hand follow along. Many modern clocks allow you to move the minute hand backwards (counter-clockwise) some allow you to shut off the sounds so that you don't have to listen at each interval. Either way, you shouldn't move the hour hand independently of the minute hand - because you will cause your mechanism to become out of sync with your hands.

But, even if your hour hand does get moved, DON'T PANIC. Most modern clocks allow for an easy fix. Simply follow this procedure:

1. Move your (longer) minute hand clockwise to the hour. NOTE: if you have a quarter-hour or half-hour chime clock, you may have to wait at the quarter or half-hours for your clock to finish making its sounds.
2. Count the number of strikes or calls your clock gives at the hour.
3. Move your (shorter) hour hand, just this once, to the number called. This will get your clock back in sync with what the hands say.
4. Once your clock is back in sync, proceed to set your clock to the proper time - but don't move the hour hand this time! Just move the (longer) minute hand to the correct time and the hour hand will follow along. You may have to go around several hours to be in the correct day or night time to align with your calendar or shut-off mechanisms.

Just remember, that your clock mechanism doesn't know or care what the hands say. You will have to align the hands with whatever time the mechanism "thinks" it happens to be. Once you are locked in, you can move the minute hand to the proper time. The hour hand and clock mechanism will dutifully follow along with your direction.

NOTE: the above procedure is virtually universal for all clocks, but there are always exceptions. Ideally, when moving the hour hand, you should be able to slightly loosen the (shorter) hour hand from its shaft. Most are only fit on by friction, so you can press it back on in the correct setting very easily. If you have a clock where it is very difficult to move the hour hand independently, or if you cannot easily loosen it from a friction fitting, STOP. You should have a clock professional look at your clock.

Some antique clocks (like 18th Century tall case clocks, or skeleton clocks) actually have the hour hand screwed directly into the movement. If you force clocks with stiff hour hands you could cause serious damage to the mechanism. The procedure in this article is meant for most modern clocks.

Remember to follow our blog and on Twitter for continuous product updates and troubleshooting tips. We also have many helpful articles on our /instructions page on our main website

How to Set Your Quartz Cuckoo Clock

There have been some changes to the quartz cuckoo clock movements. The new models don't have the cumbersome "eye" or light sensor, but rather a more sophisticated night-off system. The newer clocks also have nicer music!

In order to properly set up your new quartz cuckoo clock, there are a few things to take note of. The proper set-up procedure is already in your printed instructions, and here, but please also reference this article to troubleshoot.

The point of the setup procedure is to FIRST properly align the chiming computer mechanism with the clock hands, and SECOND to set the correct time on your clock hands. In order to do this, you'll need to find out what time your bird thinks it is. Once you have the batteries installed, move the longer minute hand only (don't touch the shorter hour hand) clockwise until the hour is reached. Please make sure you have the cuckoo switched on before taking this step.

Once the hour is reached, count the number of times the cuckoo calls. Keep in mind, that each cuckoo call is followed by an echo - in other words: you should only count the first LOUDER "cuckoo" of each set. The softer echo call is not meant to be counted.

If you did not hear any cuckoo call, you are probably in the nighttime or PM setting. Keep going around with the minute hand until the cuckoo will call again. You need to get back on to the AM setting so that you can hear the bird.

Once you have counted the amount of calls, compare it to what the hands say. If, for example, the clock cuckooed 9 times and the hands show 7:00 you'll need to push the setting button twice to realign the movement with the hands. If your clock is calling 11 times and your hands show 6:00, then press the button once (7:00) twice (8:00) three times (9:00) four times (10:00) and finally five times to reset the computer to synchronize the chime with the hands. In other words you'll have to tell the computer to catch up to the hands.

If your clock calls 6 times, and your hands show 5:00, you'll need to push the button 11 times.

An alternative method of aligning the computer with the hands would be to simply move the hour (shorter) hand independently to match the number of calls counted. This is the same procedure used on mechanical clocks.

Remember, you can only make this synchronization when the clock is in the daytime hours. If, at any time during this phase of the setup your clock does not make any cuckoo calls DON'T PANIC. You are probably in the PM time range, and will simply have to advance the minute hand a few hours so that the clock will cuckoo again.

Once your computer and hands are synced up, you can set the time as usual. Simply move the minute hand around until the correct time is reached. NOTE: You don't have to wait at each hour for the music to finish. Once the bird and hands are synchronized, they will remember where the hands are pointing.

You will probably have to realign using this simple procedure every time you change the batteries.

Troubleshooting FAQ:

Sometimes my cuckoo doesn't cuckoo at all, or at least not when it should.
A: Your clock is probably in the nighttime range. These clocks are meant to be silent between approximately 10pm and 8 or 9am. Simply move your minute hand (so that the hour hand follows) clockwise several hours until your clock starts cuckooing again. Now you are in the daytime range.

My cuckoo clock is cuckooing way too many times. Sometimes it cuckoos 15 times!
A: Remember that your quartz cuckoo has an echo. There are other sounds playing too, for example there is another kind of bird that starts the hour chime, then the cuckoo, his echo, and music. Be sure to only count the louder cuckoo calls - without their echos.

My quartz cuckoo clock isn't cuckooing the correct number of times. How do I sync the bird with the hands?
A: There are two methods for this. You could press the setting button a number of times equaling the difference between what the hands show and what the bird is calling. Count the number of calls first, then push the button to bring it up to what the hands say. You could also move the hour hand (independently of the minute hand) to match the number of calls the bird makes.

Remember to follow our blog and on Twitter for continuous product updates and troubleshooting tips. We also have many helpful articles on our /instructions page on our main website

Monday, January 16, 2012

A New Book!

Schiffer LTD. has just released a new book on the subject of Black Forest Horology. It promises to be a lovely book with great pictures and information on very rare clocks. You'll probably recognize a few clocks that have been featured here on, as well as our online museum at

Pre-order Rare and Unusual Black Forest Clocks, by Justin Miller at the author's website.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Build Your Own Sidereal Clock

From Wikipedia:
Sidereal time /saɪˈdɪəriəl/ is a time-keeping system astronomers use to keep track of the direction to point their telescopes to view a given star in the night sky. Briefly, a sidereal day is a "time scale that is based on the Earth's rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars."[1]

From a given observation point, a star found at one location in the sky will be found at nearly the same location on another night at the same sidereal time. This is similar to how the time kept by a sundial can be used to find the location of the Sun. Just as the Sun and Moon appear to rise in the east and set in the west, so do the stars. Both solar time and sidereal time make use of the regularity of the Earth's rotation about its polar axis, solar time following the Sun while sidereal time roughly follows the stars. More exactly, sidereal time follows the vernal equinox, which is not quite fixed among the stars; Precession and nutation shift the equinox slightly from one day to the next, so sidereal time is not an exact measure of the rotation of the Earth relative to inertial space.[2] Common time on a typical clock measures a slightly longer cycle, accounting not only for the Earth's axial rotation but also for the Earth's annual revolution around the Sun of slightly less than 1 degree per day.

A mean sidereal day is about 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.091 seconds (23.93447 hours or 0.99726957 mean solar days), the time it takes the Earth to make one rotation relative to the vernal equinox. (Due to nutation, an actual sidereal day is not quite so constant.) The vernal equinox itself precesses slowly westward relative to the fixed stars, completing one revolution in about 26,000 years, so the misnamed sidereal day ("sidereal" is derived from the Latin sidus meaning "star") is some 0.008 seconds shorter than the Earth's period of rotation relative to the fixed stars.

The blog at our favorite open-source company Adafruit has a link to an observatory in Brazil with an article on building your own Sidereal clock:

    A clock that displays UT(Universal Time) and LST (Local Sidereal Time) is a useful device to have in an astronomical observatory. Using the Arduino open source platform it is possible to build a sidereal clock for less than $200.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hugo Movie's Automata the Real Thing!

Now that's impressive... According to propmaker Dick George Creative's website, two of the models of the central-figure automaton actually worked! The automata actually drew Georges Melies's image without the use of CGI.

The Automaton - Behind the Scenes from Sociates on Vimeo.

Hugo Cabret

I finally had a chance to see the movie "Hugo" which is a film adaptation of Brian Selznick's book - which we've had on our reading list here for a long time.

Best Movie Of All Time? Probably not, but definitely worth the watch (pun intended) for any clock nuts (and Clockworkpunks)!

I loved the shots of Hugo's dad working on the two Orrerys. Did you see our NEW Orrery by the way?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Introducing Sasa!

We're pleased to introduce a new type of clock. As always, North Coast Imports is exploring new ideas in artistic horology.

At the nexus between home design, horology, sculpture, and fashion you’ll find Sasa, a fresh expression of passing time. Rather than letting time control your life with schedules and limits, Sasa allows a more peaceful reminder of the flow of time. Each five minutes another bead clicks down. You can tell the hours by counting the number of colored beads that have fallen, and the minutes with the lighter beads.

Tired of the reminder? Take the beads down and wear them as a necklace.

Sasa, in Kiswahili culture, means “What is now.” By minimizing the focus on each minute that has past or is to come, we can instead live in the present.

Visit our website for more information on these new and exciting clocks!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Gingerbread Cuckoo Clock How-To!

Crafter Mezcraft did a great Instructable on building this edible delight. Here's what she has to say:

Over the past year I have been brainstorming about what I would do this year and what I am came up with was a Gingerbread Cuckoo clock with working gears. I couldn't get this idea out of my head and so I went forward and began planning and figuring this out!

I have never actually made anything with gears before, so I will talk about how I tried to figure this out and my trials and tribulations in the process.