Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)
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Thread: Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)

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  1. #1
    Member Radharc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Straight Outta R'lyeh

    Picture Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)

    I was a little surprised I couldn't find a previous thread on this, but I didn't so here goes:

    A few weeks ago, my wife and I went on a trip to Norway (Bergen, Flam, Oslo), Denmark (Copenhagen), and Sweden (Stockholm). I didn't know this existed beforehand, but I found something very interesting in Copenhagen City Hall:

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    Jens Olsen was a locksmith by trade, but had a passion for clockmaking and astronomy. He combined these latter two interests in the design for an astronomical clock that was apparently inspired by an astronomical clock at the Strasbourg Cathedral. In any event, with the later help of an astronomer, he performed calculations for the clock until he was ~60, and then began construction in 1943. Olsen died in 1945, but construction continued and it was completed in 1955. The result from the front:

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    And the back:

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    There are three panels, twelve works, and eighteen dials as explained in detail in the pamphlet that I have linked to below. The clock has over 14,000 parts (over 15,000, actually, depending on the source you look at) and is powered by a Dennison escapement. A partial list of functions/displays includes: Central European time; sidereal time; solar cycle; lunar cycle; movable feasts; month; day of week; date; local solar time; time of day anywhere in the world; sunrise and sunset; position of the stars in the sky and the motion of the celestial pole; and has both a Gregorian and Julian calendar. The clock has a perpetual calendar that accounts for leap years. It is wound once per week.

    Here is the left panel front, left panel back, and diagram of the left panel's displays/function:

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    And the center panel:

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    And the right panel:

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    I have uploaded some images I took of the English-language pamphlet they provided at Copenhagen City Hall to Dropbox.

    And, a totally gratutious shot of my Aqua Terra, which -- as always -- served me in great stead on my trip (love the independent hour hand!).

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Re: Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)

    Whoa. I mean...seriously...that's insane.
    WPAC Member #35.
    "No Desire to Acquire!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)

    The real question is, how much did it set the builder back (although I'm sure it was funded)?!

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  5. #4
    Member Kilovolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Lake Como, Italy

    Re: Mechanical Astronomical Clock with 14,000+ Parts (pic heavy)

    Great, thanks for sharing!

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