Million Dollar Monday

Need a new watch? Forget it! Why not get the Liquid Vacuum Clock for $85,000? That’s for the 7 ft. model, and if that’s simply not big enough you could always go for the 35 foot model for a mere $495,000. Hmmm… all of the things you could buy with 85,000 dollars let alone 495,000 dollars!

So, how does this Liquid Vacuum Clock work? It uses a variety of pipes and siphons that display the time.  Interestingly, there are only 58 minute markers instead of 60 because it takes two minutes for the pipes to drain and the process to start again. There are disks on the right which show the minutes, while spheres on the left show the hours. The Future of Things  website gives a great detailed description on how it works:

Each daily clock cycle begins when an electric water pump beneath the clock moves the water to the top reservoir. From there it flows into a glass cupel (a shallow glass cup or scoop) attached to a neon green pendulum. As the cupel fills, the increasing weight causes its arm to dip and empty the liquid, which in turn forces the pendulum to swing away from its center position. The cupel then returns to an upright position propelling the pendulum. This occurs every two seconds, keeping a steady stream of liquid flowing into the clock’s systems of curved pipes and siphons. Every hour, the minutes column empties, creating a vacuum that draws liquid into the hours column to fill one of the hour spheres. Together the number of filled spheres lining the hours side of the clock and the number of filled discs on the minutes side tell the time of day. Each disc in the minutes column on the right side represents two minutes. There are only 29 of these minute discs, representing 58 minutes. The missing two minutes are accounted for in the time it takes for the pipes to drain. Just before one o’clock, the minutes and the hours sections become full. When they overflow, they create a siphon that empties the entire clock in a dramatic fashion and the whole process begins again.

This method for telling time is nothing new as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used water clocks to measure the passing day.  If you just don’t have $85,000 to spare and you’d like to see one in person, visit the Indianapolis Children’s Museum where they have one on display!