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Midsummer Chronophage displayed at National Museum of Scotland

Category: Scotland

Published: 24th May 2012 10:40:06

A clock which "eats" time and has no hands or numbers has gone on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

The Midsummer Chronophage was designed to sometimes stop or slow down to show everyone experiences time differently.

It was created by Dr John C Taylor, who is best known for inventing the safety switch that turns a kettle off when it boils.

The timepiece will displayed in the museum's Discoveries Gallery until 13 January.

The clock face is made of 24ct gold-plate, on stainless steel. It was formed into its wave shape by several underwater explosions.

Accurate time is shown once every five minutes through the light slits which replace traditional hands and numbers, with a light show being created in concentric circles as each minute passes.

The Chronophage - a grasshopper which chomps away time on top of the clock - was inspired by the work of the 18th century horologist John Harrison.

Harrison is famous for his portable sea clocks, invented to solve the problem of measuring longitude at sea, and for his many inventions to increase the accuracy of timekeeping, including the grasshopper escapement.

Dr Taylor told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It's different from any other clock because most clocks are boring. I'm an inventor, so I wanted to make a clock that was different and which engaged with the person alongside it."

The idea behind the Chronophage was to represent the concept of relative time, he explained.

Dr Taylor added: "Harrison didn't invent relative time - that was Einstein. He gave an example that an hour sat on a park bench with a pretty girl can seem like a minute but a minute sat on a hot stove can seem like an hour.

"So the clock runs fast, it runs slow, because time is relative to the circumstances".

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BBC News, 2012. Midsummer Chronophage displayed at National Museum of Scotland [Online] (Updated 24th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1430633/Midsummer-Chronophage-displayed-at-National-Museum-of-Scotland [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]

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