Rolling Ball Clocks

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Rolling Ball Clocks on the Alarm Clock Blog

Hey, Clock Fans, have you ever seen a Rolling Ball Clock before?

Rolling Ball Clocks are just one kind of kinetic clocks. Kinetic Clocks are a special kind of clock that tells the time by using some kind of repeated mechanical motion. “Kinetic” means having to do with motion. And that’s exactly what kinetic clocks are about: they count the time through some kind of mechanical motion that keeps repeating itself.

Rolling Ball Clocks are just one kind of Kinetic Clock, in which (obviously) the time is kept through the use of rolling balls, usually steel ball bearings.

Surprisingly, there are several different kinds of Rolling Ball Clocks in existence, and, while somewhat exotic, many of them are even available for anyone to purchase.

The first Rolling Ball Clock that we’ll mention is the Time Machine Rolling Ball Clock, as seen in the video below:

As you can see in the video, you read the time on the Time Machine Rolling Ball Clock by counting the number and positions of the various ball bearings, which roll into and out of place with the changing of the time. This Rolling Ball Clock doesn’t actually keep the time through the rolling of the balls; instead the rolling of the balls are presented as a kind of visual entertainment that you can use to read the clock. In truth, this means that the Time Machine Rolling Ball Clock is not a true kinetic clock – since the passage of time is not actually counted by the balls, but instead simply displayed through the rolling of the balls as a cool visual gimmick.

Much different is the Congreve Rolling Ball Clock:

In the Congreve Rolling Ball Clock, the passage of time is indeed counted by a ball bearing running along a predefined path.  Each ball takes 15 seconds to travel the length of a zigzag track. Once it reaches the end of this path, it trips an escapement and actually moves the clock’s hands forward to the next position.  In the case of the Congreve Rolling Ball Clock, it truly is the rolling of the balls which are responsible for the keeping of the time, which is pretty neat. The current time is then displayed on a relatively normal clock face located at the top of the clock above the zigzag path that the ball bearings travel.

Whatever method they use to display or count the time, Rolling Ball Clocks are a truly elegant way of keeping time, since the slow, gliding movements of the ball bearings is not just useful, in terms of counting minutes or seconds – it’s also quite beautiful to watch.

Did you know that there is also a Rolling Ball Clock that is a whopping 38 feet high? This is the AION Rolling Ball Clock in Lucerne, Switzerland. This huge Rolling Ball Clock has been officially declared the “World’s Largest Rolling Ball Clock” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

A ball bearing is set in motion to mark the passing of a quarter hour in AION, the world's largest Rolling Ball Clock.

A ball bearing is set in motion to mark the passing of a quarter hour in AION, the world's largest Rolling Ball Clock.

Hey, take a look at how large the ball bearings are in the AION Rolling Ball Clock photo above…those things are as big as basketballs!

You can find the Time Machine Rolling Ball Clock and the Congreve Rolling Ball Clock on sale at Amazon. You will not, however, find the AION Rolling Ball Clock for sale there…and you might just have to sacrifice your first-born child in order to afford that thing. :D

So, if you’re interested in buying your very own Rolling Ball Clock, it’s time to get rolling – get on the ball…and a whole lot of other bad puns!

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