Guest post by Selina Hurley, Assistant Curator of Medicine
Meet the Chronophage beast, who chomps down on each minute, devouring a whopping 86,400 seconds each day.
Casting its glass eye across the museum, the beast sits atop of the Midsummer clock, one of only two clocks in the world to try and show our varying experience of time. Its sister clock, the Corpus Clock, lives in Cambridge.
The clock’s inventor, Dr John Taylor, wanted to examine our perception of time. The Chronophage (Greek for time-eater) sometimes speeds up, slows down or stops altogether.
The grasshopper escapement was developed by another inventor, John Harrison (1693-1776), when he was battling with the longitude problem.
Over 200 people were involved in the making of the Midsummer and Corpus clocks.
Dr Taylor has spent his life inventing. Inspired by his father, he has patented over 200 ideas, mainly domestic thermostats. His most successful invention has been the third level kettle control, the Taylor blade. Developed as a fail-safe for plastic kettles in the 1970s, 600 million Taylor blades have been sold.
There’s plenty of time to see the clock as it will be on display at the museum until 30 October 2011. Time flies though, so make sure you don’t miss out…