Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Around-the-Clock Hourglass Clock

The sands of time tell the time all the time.
  (+31, -2)(+31, -2)(+31, -2)
(+31, -2)
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This beautiful, hand-blown timepiece, a marriage of old and new, could grace the wall of your office or home. Imagine two hourglasses next to each other connected by pipettes of glass and mounted on a disc that can rotate. You have thus four interconnected, glass globes. Only the one on the upper left contains sand pouring slowly into the globe beneath it. This takes three hours and is read via markings on the disc behind the globe, that appear as the sand drains away:
When the globe has emptied, an infrared sensor will cause a motor to rotate the disc with hourglasses 90 degrees clockwise. This will make the lower left globe with sand now the upper left globe, showing:
FarmerJohn, Jul 25 2002

The Long Now Foundation http://www.longnow.org/
If you're a fan of odd clocks, you might like this. [angel, Jul 25 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       I rather like this. I think I'd like a version with 12 graduated 1-hour globes even more.
angel, Jul 25 2002

       Nice...This would look really good if done well. Problems telling the minutes, but thats not too bad: it would be style over substance (which, in this case is far more important anyway).
Jinbish, Jul 25 2002

       This is a very bakable concept.. incidentally, have any ideas moved from the Halfbakery to the real world as yet?
senatorjam, Jul 25 2002

       Patent Pending
dag, Jul 25 2002

       A truly inspired vision, dear John. I quite love it. I would prefer to see the demarcations printed (engraved?) right into the globes' surface, however.   

       I wouldn't get hung up on telling the minutes, and agree with rave's observation about the aesthetic quality being more important. However, I would observe that the sand pouring rate would need to be extremely precise, and the precision manufacture of each globe very exact. Minute errors (that's "my-newt"... pun not intended) in the pour rate would magnify quickly as the globes rotated.   

       Resetting it for daylight savings time would suck large, though.
waugsqueke, Jul 26 2002

       Friend of mine used a 1-hour-and 5-minute increment / decrement for daylight saving; had a beautiful but fragile old electric clock which was very accurate but couldn't be adjusted, so he propped one side of it up with a wood block so the whole clock rotated by 1/12 of a circle. The face had plain markers instead of numbers.
angel, Jul 26 2002

       I didn't think 12 one-hour globes in a circle would give enough of an angle between the bottom and exit hole for each globe (30 degrees instead of 90). One could place 13 globes in a three-revolution helix that moves the sand out to an end globe and then changes direction and moves it back (total 24 hours).   

       An eight-hour clock and minute and second wheels would be neat.   

       One could cheat a little to achieve precision. The rotation could be done exactly every three hours even though the sand had already or not yet stopped pouring. Daylight savings adjustment could be done by stopping the rotation for one hour alternately eleven hours.
FarmerJohn, Jul 26 2002

       FarmerJohn, I'm in love with this idea. I'll take two.   

       I came up with the same solution to the time accuracy problem that you described: use an accurate clock to rotate the wheel precisely every three hours, regardless of the positioning of the sand. Sure, it's a little like using a clock to make a clock, but this one is more a work of art.   

       I can easily see such a design become the next fad, like those colorful glass-bulb thermometers containing various liquids of varying densities. The Discovery Channel Store and The Museum Company would definitely buy these up for their stores. I encourage you to take steps towards baking this one.
XSarenkaX, Jul 26 2002

       I think anyone here who has the time and inclination should develop "our glass".
FarmerJohn, Jul 26 2002

       Now I understand; beautiful image. Of course the amount of sand is limited and the glass production would a challenge.
FarmerJohn, Jul 27 2002

       <weeps>That's a beautiful image, alright - *sniff* I'm OK, really - Baaaaaawl</weeps>
thumbwax, Jul 27 2002

       //The Long Now Foundation//   

       The ideas of a clock which is designed to be super-accurate and which phase locks to the noon sun seem contradictory. The earth's revolution speed is not constant; scientists can measure noticeable fluctiations. While one might perceive that the need to occasionally add "leap-seconds" means atomic clocks aren't perfectly accurate, the fact that such leap seconds are recorded and added simultaneously to all atomic clocks worldwide means that they don't affect accuracy nearly as much as nudging a clock ad hoc to make it line up with the sun.
supercat, Jul 27 2002

       I love the pictures, [Steve DeGroof]!   

       I was thinking that a 12-hour version might contain spiral-shaped hourglasses to accommodate the hourly turns, but the problem arises upon the refilling of each container with sand during the 11 hours between its turn. Perhaps a mechanism turning hourglasses not in use during "their" hours in the opposite direction might work. The additional movement of sand elsewhere on the clock besides the relevant one would add interest to the clock if it could be done.
XSarenkaX, Jul 29 2002

       i remember reading 'asterix in switzerland' where the hotel owner that was helping them had to run back to his hotel every hour to shout cuckoo to make everyone turn over their hourglasses
chud, Jul 29 2002

       //I can easily see such a design become the next fad, like those colorful glass-bulb thermometers containing various liquids of varying densities. The Discovery Channel Store and The Museum Company would definitely buy these up for their stores. I encourage you to take steps towards baking this one.//   

       How about having a "clock" with two of those glass-bulb thermometers next to each other, but calibrated for temperatures from 120 to 144F, and incorporating microprocessor-controlled heaters which regulated the liquid temperature as appropriate?
supercat, Dec 17 2002


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