History dating platform clock escapement

19-Jan-2018 16:07 by 3 Comments

History dating platform clock escapement

The meager dot of light above is not sufficient to see much otherwise.Lights off, the Clock sits in near total darkness, talking to itself in slow clicks, for perhaps years at a time.

Building something to last 10,000 years requires both a large dose of optimism and a lot of knowledge.

After you pass the weights, you arrive at the winding station. For the next 70-80 feet of ascent you pass 20 huge horizontal gears (called Geneva wheels), 8 feet in diameter, each weighing 1,000 pounds.

It is a horizontal windlass, or a capstan like the turnstile on an old sailing vessel that winds up an anchor. This is the mechanical computer that calculates the over 3.5 million different melodies that the chimes will ring inside the mountain over the centuries.

The differential power is transmitted to the interior of the Clock by long metal rods.

As long as the sun shines and night comes, the Clock can keep time itself, without human help.

But in order to get the correct time, you need to “ask” the clock.

When you first come upon the dials the time it displays is an older time given to the last person to visit.

Only the Clock calculates without electricity, using your stored energy to moving its physical logic gates and bits. On days when visitors are there to wind it, the calculated melody is transmitted to the chimes, and if you are there at noon, the bells start ringing their unique one-time-only tune.

The 10 chimes are optimized for the acoustics of the shaft space, and they are big.

It takes two or three visitors to push around the capstan of the clock and to lift its 10,000-pound stones. The chimes never repeat so that every visitor’s experience is unique, and the calculated variety creates a sense of progressive time, rather than endless recycling.

And “calculate” is the correct word, because cut into the gears is an elaborate system of slots and sliding pins, which, much like a Babbage Difference Engine, will perform digital calculations, generating the next sequence of the ten bells.

Round the tunnel and up the tube toward the light you head.

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