The flip clock is an interesting development in the history of time pieces. Sort of a half child with parents in the past and future, it stands abreast the gap of time, as a clever use of ancient technology to develop a more modern display.
The clock itself runs on an analog system of interlocking gears, which are powered by a motor, or winding. These gears turn just like they would in a regular analog clock that tells time with hands. However in a flip clock, there are no hands, and instead the gears turn a series of flip cards, which cover one another in turn to display the time in a digital manner.
This means that the clocks mechanisms work the way that a normal clock with moving hands does, but instead of hands, the gears move the flip cards which each have a consecutive number on them, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 0.
The clock operates with two wheels moving at different speeds. The slower wheel revolves complete once every twenty four hours, while the faster wheel has a revolution ever one hour. Unlike most analog clocks these wheels move continuously, rather than in ticking steps.
The hourly wheel has a set of sixty flat plastic cards attached to it. These cards have numerals which are printed on them, half on one and half on the other. When two leaves are held open, you can see the full number displayed, and every time the wheel ticks the cards change and a new number is displayed.
The smaller ring is a little more complicated because it has to account for not only the time, but also the AM or PM mode. The traditional model has the wheel attached to a series of 48 cards, which fall successively every half hour. This allows the wheel to indicate whether it is AM or PM.
A simpler method has a wheel with 60 cards attached. The cards feature each number repeated across 5 cards, and with each card falling every 12 minutes. Thus the 6 o’clock card would fall 5 times during the six o’clock hour before being replaced with the 7 number.
One of the major problems with flip clocks is daylight savings. Since the gears are made in such a way that the motor can only work by moving forward, you can’t fall back an hour. For daylight savings the clock actually has to be moved forward 23 hours, or left turned off for an hour.
This article was written by Joey Pebble, an artist and designer that has created a unique line of decorative wall clocks made entirely from unique, one of a kind pieces of natural imported stone. These clocks are mountain born creatures, and are a great way to bring the natural world back into your home.