The Time Machine

by Andi

Time Clock
If you didn’t get your hands on the pong clock and really want an amazing time-telling machine that also brings back memories from the good ol’ times, here’s something that’s even cooler: the Time Machine!

We haven’t been able to find a cool clock that has some real mechanic action since the Wave Clock. This one takes the concept of marbles showing time even further, with an even cooler result: 26 marbles run down 3 lanes, showing the time.

The lowest lane displays the hour, the middle one a 5-minute step and the top one a number from 1 to 4, so you can read the time accurate to the minute. A dial located on top turns continuously, displaying the seconds.

Once a ball is released on the top lane, it becomes part of a clever chain reaction which ultimately leads to an accurate display of the time. I’m curious of how much noise this thing makes though: steel balls rolling and colliding aren’t very quiet, and I’m guessing that you’ll get a little bit of noise every minute, some more every 5 minutes, a lot of it when the hour changes and true mayhem at am/pm changes. I wouldn’t use this as a bedside clock, especially as it doesn’t have an alarm.

A great clock to observe and show off, the Time Machine is available at for 53.90 Euros

7 reviews or comments

Anonymous Says: April 11, 2007 at 10:34 am

Man, my parents had this clock about 25 years ago. The thing kept dropping marbles and the time was never right. Must be a slow gadget day…

Al Says: April 11, 2007 at 10:57 am

I must admit when I saw this I thought it looked old, still cool though so I’ll stick it in the retro section as well 🙂 Thanks for the comment man with no name.

EEJ Says: April 11, 2007 at 11:44 am

My grandparents had one of these about 20 years ago. I always loved it and still can’t figure out where the one they had went to.

Now I can finally get one of my own!

The one they had looked just like this one, made of plastic and utilizing steel balls (ball bearings probably). There was an arm attached to the second-hand wheel with a little scoop on the end. On the 30 second mark, it picks up a ball from the “available ball chute” and at the 0/60 second mark would deposit it on the top track, where it winds its way down the path. When it reaches the minute mark, it stops, and if there are enough balls on the minute chute, the weight causes that chute to rotate, sending the balls onto the next chute, which marks a larger amount of time.

You really have to see this thing in action to appreciate it, although after looking at it for a few minutes it seems quite simple.

Oh, and yes, it does make a little bit of a racket, especially at the noon and midnight mark when all of the balls cascade from the top chute through the lower chutes and all of the balls are returned to the “available” chute, but the one we had actually kept pretty accurate time.

Al Says: April 11, 2007 at 11:52 am

Thanks for the explanation on it’s workings EEJ, your grandparents were obviously way ahead of their generation gadget wise.

Sam Yorko Says: April 12, 2007 at 6:34 am

Wikipedia article:

I’ve built the kit clock a long time ago. I;ve also seen a picture of the bowling ball clock.

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