Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Conical Coiled Candle Clock

Self-propelled wax helix to light the hours
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Every day at the same time a fresh conically coiled candle is placed on its side on the horizontal, circular, clock face. The narrow end of the candle is put at the center of the level circle and the other, upright end is lit. As the end burns down, that side of the helix loses weight causing the cone to roll away from it and slowly rotate around the clock face while raising the burning end.

The candle’s diameter and wick (burns faster in the beginning) are made so that it rolls twice clockwise around the circle in 24 hours. The darker hours’ radii are especially well lit by the progressing flame.

FarmerJohn, Feb 17 2005


       Someone close the window please.
skinflaps, Feb 17 2005

       If a candle can roll itself around in a circle, then why not candle-powered cars?   

       Man's first great inventions, fire and the wheel, finally combined by [farmerjohn].
robinism, Feb 17 2005

       I think I need a picture to see how this would work.
finrod, Feb 18 2005

       Very little accuracy, but would look lovely. I don't think [FJ] was ever too worried about the accuracy of his clocks.
wagster, Feb 18 2005

       good idea, but 1: what about the wax? 24 hours worth of wax could be a problem. 2: candles like to burn faster on their side, to counter this you'd need a thicker candle that would leave n unweildy husk, or a rather large thin one...how big of a device are we talking here? knights of the round table big? card table big?
Sabriand, Feb 18 2005

       As I have experimented with a wick coiled around an upright cone, I can only laugh as the heat from the flame melts the wax of the next coil and ignites its string until, in five minutes the whole thing is sending out a four alarm fire message.
mensmaximus, Feb 18 2005

       [Sabriand] More like a dinner plate. A standard candlestick candle burns 1 to 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) per hour (30 degrees on the clock face). That makes a helix of at most a 48 inch (122 cm) long candle. Empirical results gave me a hollow wax cone with a height of about 4 inches (10 cm) and a base diameter of 3 inches (7.6 cm) tracing a spiral path on an 8 inch (21 cm) diameter circle.   

       With a smooth candle and clock face, the burning candle end would always be pointing upwards.   

       [mensKreuner] You should test with a quality candle that seldom drips since it hardly melts its perimeter and wouldn’t melt its neighbor 1 cm away.
FarmerJohn, Feb 18 2005

       does the rotation track change based on how much is left? do the adjacent coils soften and stick somewhat at time progresses? is the flame in the center or outside?
Sabriand, Feb 18 2005

       i have to emphasize the fire hazard here. Any amount of excess wick in a design can allow the candle to become a 400 candle flame all of a sudden. A quality wax could mean candle wax versus sealing wax. You can only do two things to wax, squeeze oil out of it, which is what you are referring to or add a plasticizer to it, so that it doesn't lose its shape as it warms up. I would think that a plastic coil of liquid 'wax' would be mor reliable here and in accuracy.
mensmaximus, Feb 18 2005

       fire hazard? not likely...put the thing in a low bowl. a metal one. problem solved...and then refuse the temptation of idiocy and don't set it near the drapes or your spare gas can.
Sabriand, Feb 18 2005

       You're right, every candle has a note attached to it saying: "Do not leave candle unattended", so you'll be there to watch it, 'at all times'. [mensheusler]
mensmaximus, Feb 18 2005

       and q tips say do not place in ear canal. so?
Sabriand, Feb 18 2005

       I'm not allowed to rant here.
mensmaximus, Feb 18 2005


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