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.