Featured Not an Antique, but check out my new clock. Clepsydra

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by hamptonauction, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    It's called a clepsydra aka water clock, made by George Dorne's circa 1975. I'm in the process of calibrating it, it gains about 1/2 hour every 3 hours. Calibration is done by adding or removing lead weight in the brass cylinder on the rear. I this case it's fast so I'll have to remove weight. It's a 12-hour clock.
    I'm curious to find out how many were made.
    CLEPSYDRA 1.jpg
    CLEPSYDRA 2.jpg

    CLEPSYDRA 3.jpg
    cxgirl, Any Jewelry, Bronwen and 9 others like this.
  2. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Fascinating! What function does the water perform?
    Michael77 likes this.
  3. BMRT

    BMRT Jewelry cherry-picker, lover of silver

    That’s gorgeous and very unique.
    Michael77 and Christmasjoy like this.
  4. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Ooooo, very nice look to the clock!
    Michael77 and Christmasjoy like this.
  5. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    If you look at the last photo, on the left side you see a tiny little hole on the bottom center of the vane, the vanes are tilted such that the ant-freeze /water empties from each cell to fill the other cell, trying to achieve equilibrium, but the weight in the rear ads enough torque to offset the equilibrium. The knurled knob on the rear shaft is used to wind the string from the weight counterclockwise so as to rotate the cylinder in a clockwise direction. I hope that I was able to describe its operation correctly. It's a pretty clever design.
  6. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Fig & BMRT.
    Figtree3 and Michael77 like this.
  7. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    I love unusual things,thats a very cool piece.
    Any Jewelry and Michael77 like this.
  8. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Andy. I suspect I will need to ponder this for awhile. Maybe I can find a public place here that has one (like a museum?) so I can see it in operation.
  9. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Johnny, so do I.
  10. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    I would make a video, but it rotates so slowly, it really wouldn't show much. The round brass ring with the roman numerals fits in a "V" groove on the brass hub attached to the rotating liquid drum, as it rotates it causes the brass ring to rotate.

    I'll try making a video and post it on YouTube.
    BMRT likes this.
  11. BMRT

    BMRT Jewelry cherry-picker, lover of silver

    Yes please! Very intriguing. Would never have imagined a working clock like this, even with the description.
  12. Bakersgma

    Bakersgma Well-Known Member

    Ah! You answered my next question before I could ask it! I was wondering what part or parts actually moved. I think I get it now!

    But one last thing - it looks like there is only 1 hand. Is that correct?
  13. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    That is correct.

    Here are 2 more photos detailing the front and rear mechanics.

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Figtree3 and Any Jewelry like this.
  14. Lucille.b

    Lucille.b Well-Known Member

    Fascinating! Never seen similar. Really cool!
  15. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    Thank you Lucille.
  16. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes On Road Trip

    Wonderous thing. Do you add fluid or is it closed?
  17. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    It's a closed system, no way to add fluid. I believe that the fluid is most probably glycol, IE: antifreeze. I believe this because the clock sat in a non-heated Hew Hampshire barn for several years.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    KikoBlueEyes likes this.
  18. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    I hope this helps explain the fluid movement from one cell to the next, these photos were taken over a 5-minute time span. The rotation is counter-clockwise, causing the brass roman numeral ring (removed) to rotate clockwise.

    CLEPSYDRA 6.jpg
    KikoBlueEyes, Bakersgma and Figtree3 like this.
  19. afantiques

    afantiques Well-Known Member

    I have never seen anything like it. Some may be old enough to understand what I mean when I refer to it as a Heath Robinson gadget.

    It exemplifies useless complication for the sake of it, and would be ideally suited to a collection of 1980s 'executive toys'.
  20. hamptonauction

    hamptonauction Well-Known Member

    Thank you AF and I agree, but interesting, none the less.
    The way I look at it is that a watch can have many complications making it more desirable and expensive, but it's still just a watch. This clock is simple but clever and non complicated, in that it tells time by a very ancient water flowing through a tiny hole time keeping method. But it's still just a clock ànd has no other purpose but to show the designers cleverness.
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