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 ->