John Taylor designed ’time-eating’ clock for Cambridge University
3D-Metal Forming supplied dial for ‘monstrous’ clock of Cambridge
English inventor John Taylor, who became world-famous for the development of the thermostat switch for electric kettles, is the designer of the new ‘monstrous’ clock for Cambridge University (UK). The clock eats as it were the time, greedily awaiting every following minute. 3D-Metal Forming, specialist in explosively forming metals and part of Van Campen in Lelystad, supplied the dial for this special Clock Face.
The clock, recently unveiled by Stephen Hawking, hangs in the Corpus Christi College of Cambridge University. It is a true showpiece of master designer John Taylor, whose inventions include the thermostat switch for electric kettles which has been incorporated in 600 million kettles all over the world. The clock is a ‘monstrous’ design, with poison fangs, that eats up time. The clock is gold-plated and has as many as six patents.
Designer John Taylor is very happy about his design. He calls the clock monstrous: “He cannot be stopped and devours time in a monstrous fashion,” says Taylor. &quot;He will consume every minute and as soon as a minute has been eaten, he is salivating for the next. And thus he devours the days and years.” When designing the clock Taylor thought about his own life: “I woke up on my seventieth birthday and was stricken at the thought of how much I still wanted to do, and how little time remained.”
The clock’s technology is based on the formula of the old mantle clock, a solid and traditional strike mechanism, a highly unusual application in this digital era. Designing and building the clock took seven years, and is so unique that it has no fewer than six patented inventions. It is assumed the clock will run for at least 250 years. Engineer Stewart Huxley, who was involved in the development of the technology, refuses to reveal how it is possible that the pendulum occasionally pauses momentarily and then swings faster to catch up and still give the right time.
3D-Metal Forming, part of Van Campen in Lelystad, has since 1998 been working successfully on the development of explosive metalforming. 3D-Metal Forming has endless capabilities in the area of metalforming. The company gained recognition as the manufacturer of the beautifully twisted fascia of the new theatre in Alphen aan de Rijn and the ING building in Amsterdam. 3D-Metal Forming supplied the dial for the Cambridge clock. The diameter is approximately 1.4 metres. The dial is made of 1.5mm-thick flat, polished stainless steel, which was formed explosively. Hugo Groeneveld, director Research &amp; Development at 3D-Metal Forming/Van Campen: “Due to the sharp details, the sheet thickness and its size, the dial could only be produced through the process of explosive forming.” 3D-Metal Forming is the only company in the world that has fully developed this technology and is able to produce large surfaces, for example fascia elements, in large numbers.
Groeneveld: “The surface of the dial is plated with gold. Stainless was opted for, because only then could the adherence of the gold layer be guaranteed for two-and-a-half centuries.”
Those interested will find a short video about the ‘monstrously’ beautiful clock at: you tube under: Corpus Clock Cambridge.
Text: Bert Heijnen