Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unique water-powered pendulum clock

Sure, pendulum clocks have been around for hundreds of years. Water clocks have been around for thousands of years. But this -- a water driven pendulum clock -- is quite unique as far as I know. This timepiece invention is the work of Nigel Loller.

The Pendulum itself is driven by the weight of the flowing water landing in the T-shaped tube which is divided by a baffle. As the pendulum swings, the water is forced to flow into one side causing the pendulum assembly to tip that way. Having shifted, the water then flows into the opposite side, causing it to become the heavier side. The resulting alternating movement powers the clock by via a ratchet and pawl mechanism.

This clever arrangement allows for a very simple gear train (as far as clocks go, anyway). Here's how Mr. Loller describes it:

The Clock 'ticks' at 46 beats per minute and therefore the escapement wheel has 46 teeth...from there on it is simple to gear the minutes and hours. Apart from the obvious water power (small pond pump in base), the other unique thing is the drive from the escapement (not a true escapement as it only drives the clock and isn't regulating the drive from the pendulum in any way) to the minute (60 tooth) wheel is by effectively a one tooth gear, having a single peg which only engages once per revolution and does away with one complete 60 to 1 gear train.

The white parts are machined from acetal plastic and the metal ones are stainless steel. The most amazing thing of all is that this is his first attempt at building a clock! Kudos!

To learn more about the history of timekeeping, check out the engaging book titled Time's Pendulum: From Sundials to Atomic Clocks, the Fascinating History of Timekeeping and How Our Discoveries Changed the World.

[ Thanks New Gottland! ]

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Anonymous Metal Wall Art said...

Pendulum clocks have been in use since the 17th century. According to Swarthmore College, they were among the most common types of clocks until the 1930s. This means that pendulum clocks represent many different era and movements in industrial and interior design. Pendulum clocks can enhance and lend authenticity to homes or rooms decorated in a traditional or period style. Some pendulum clocks are valuable antiques and others are works of art with handcrafted wooden cases, precision movements and precious metals used in their construction.

August 28, 2012 at 2:15 AM  

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