When I was a boy, I used to visit a local jewelry store called Schreibman’s.    A man, named Hilfiger, worked there as a watch repairman.  I would look at what he was tinkering with behind a plexiglass window around the bench where he was seated.

He would deconstruct the most delicate of clockwork assemblies.  I used to be afraid for him that he might not be able to reconstruct what he had dismantled.  He always managed to get these intricate works back together.  I can’t remember an instance of any mechanism my family brought to him that he could not bring back into working order.    I thought Mr. Hilfiger was a wizard.  I envied his diminutive  tools, eye loupe, and the insight it must have taken to work with these wondrous machines.  His bench was filled the the trappings of the most delicate of work: miniature screw drivers,  screws so small they had to be handled with tweezers, clamps and blocks.  Fine parts were kept from dust beneath crystal glasses that had their stems broken off.  They had been glassware that had arrived damaged to Shriebmans and put to good use protecting the fine works.  The broken fine, cut crystal seemed an elegant way to encapsulate clockwork bits.  In my thinking, even then, clockwork is elegant… so it should be so reverently handled.

I didn’t believe I had what it took to understand clockwork when I was a boy.  Having spent so much of my life learning the tenants of mechanical design, studied mechanisms and linkages, and have spent so much effort on fabrication, I can now design and build clocks.  I have learned gear and drive train design.  I have obtained many machines tools, such as a 4-axis CNC mill, Laser cutter, and several manual machine tools.  I have many tools that are well-suited for fine, delicate work.  I have also developed a patient, deliberate touch when it comes to these fabrication endeavors.  I am still not working in the scale of the watches that Mr. Hilfiger did.. but I have every confidence that I will eventually.

There used to be a saying, in the vernacular, when things went well: “…it went like clockwork!…”    Clockwork is a far more broad category of machines than just mechanical time keeping.  It encompasses things as simple as wind up toys and spans up to the regime of sophisticated automatons.   Wherever my work falls in that interval, it is all made with the pious love of the art.  I try to create machines that are filled with the sort of whimsy that would have captured my fancy as a child.   I wish Mr. Hilfiger was still alive to see my machines.  I would have loved to have heard what he might say about what I can do now.  Someday, I’ll make something special that incorporates him in an automaton and clock.

I feature, in my clockwork, an automaton.   It’s a figure of a robot, named Newton, who is doing some sort of activity that keeps the clock running along.  It’s Newton’s job to instill wonder.  He is the soul of the machine!

M1: The First Meiswinkel Clock

M2: The Radial Engine Clock, Ex Somnium

M3: The Jump Hour Clock

M4: The Iris  Jump Hour Clock

The Factory Clock

Untitled Radial Face Configuration

Untitled Rolling Ball Clock

Cute Robot Alarm Clock

Tellurian Rev. 2.0

 

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