Friday, June 06, 2008

South Pointing Chariots, Ancient Gearing Marvels

South Pointing Chariots Ancient Mechanical MarvelsSouth Pointing Chariots are an amazing mechanical invention from ancient China. From a distance, it would look like a figure standing in a horse-drawn chariot. No matter which way the cart turns or how often, the figure's arm always points South -- the direction of preference in that culture at that time. Seen here is a modern functional model.

So,'s a magnetic compass hidden inside of a figure, right? Nope. it's a gyroscope of some kind then? That's not it either. These South Pointing Chariots use complex gear arrangements to adjust the figure's orientation depending on the motion of the wheels.

Here's a great web site with tons of info about South Facing Chariots. Of particular note is the functional models page showing working examples made from everything from brass, to wood, to LEGOs! So cool.

Thanks bhaaluu!

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