The Chronophage

On Friday September 19th Corpus Christi College at Cambridge unveiled a wild clock by Dr. John Taylor (sponsored by Stephen Hawking).  It is electrically powered, but uses a brilliant set of epicyclic mechanically phased vernier openings to cycle light around the dials to display seconds, minutes and hours. I think we should look at this idea to be used with focused sun light.

The escapement is quite literally based on Harrison’s grasshopper escapement, and actually personifies it in a giant stylized grasshopper automata on the top of the clock which “eats” the seconds as they go by.  By chance I will be near Cambridge at the end of this week, and will certainly stop by to check it out.  My wife is calling next week “our dorky clock tour of England”, we will  be stopping by our Clock at the Science museum in London, and hopefully Big Ben, Stonehenge, and the Salisbury Cathedral Clock.

You can see more on this clock including a little internal tour with Dr. Taylor in the video below:

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

More from The Clock of the Long Now

What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

Learn more

Join our newsletter for the latest in long-term thinking

Long Now's website is changing...