The Midsummer Chronophage


The Midsummer Chronophage.

John C Taylor’s Corpus Chronophage—the extraordinary mechanical clock surmounted by a time-devouring monster—was featured here following news of its installation at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 2008. Two years later its creator is ready to unveil a new clock which he calls The Midsummer Chronophage.

The Midsummer Chronophage pays homage to the 18th century clockmaker John Harrison, inventor of the marine chronometer and the ‘grasshopper’ escapement, a low-friction mechanism for converting pendulum motion into rotational motion. The Midsummer Chronophage takes the grasshopper escapement out of the clock and presents it on the outside as a sculpture. The mythical creature is also the world’s largest grasshopper escapement.

The face of The Midsummer Chronophage is a 24 carat gold-plated steel disc almost 1.5M in diameter, polished to resemble a pond of liquid metal with ripples that allude to the Big Bang. It was created by a series of underwater explosions.

The Midsummer Chronophage has no hands or numbers but displays time by aligning slits in discs behind the clock face back lit with blue LEDS; these slits are arranged in three concentric rings displaying hours, minutes and seconds.

Dr Taylor’s new clock can be seen at London’s Masterpiece Fair from 23rd of June. For those outside London there are more pictures of the device here, and videos of the Corpus Clock in action here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Andrew Chase’s steel cheetah
Another Midsummer Night
The Corpus Clock
A Midsummer Night’s Dadd
William Heath Robinson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Bowes Swan

The Corpus Clock


This splendid clock is unveiled by Professor Stephen Hawking later today at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. If it hadn’t cost a million pounds to develop I’d probably be demanding that someone find me one for Christmas. The mechanical monster perched at the top is explained by its creator:

“It is terrifying, it is meant to be,” said John C Taylor, the creator and funder of an extraordinary new clock to be unveiled tomorrow by Stephen Hawking at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. “Basically I view time as not on your side. He’ll eat up every minute of your life, and as soon as one has gone he’s salivating for the next. It’s not a bad thing to remind students of. I never felt like this until I woke up on my 70th birthday, and was stricken at the thought of how much I still wanted to do, and how little time remained.”

Unfortunately there are few decent pictures to be had of the device but the Telegraph has an article which describes its “grasshopper escapement”, while the Guardian goes one better with a video of the clock in action.

Update: Longer video at the university site with Dr Taylor explaining the clock in detail.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Gold robots
The art of Sergei Aparin
The art of Almacan
The sculpture of Christopher Conte
The Bowes Swan