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The Conical Pendulum Clock

An Obscure Timekeeper Reborn



23 feet x 6 feet x 6 feet

21 feet pendulum length (5 seconds)

The Conical Pendulum Clock is currently in the collection of the Artist.

Norman Tuck's Conical Pendulum Clock may be the largest conical pendulum clock in existence.


Remarkably, the entire complex mechanism is enclosed within the cone of the 21+ foot long, hanging, stainless steel wire pendulum that surrounds it.


The pendulum encircles the clock in a precise interval of time (5 seconds). The pendulum is driven by a weight driven mechanism that propels the orbiting pendulum bob by gently tapping it with a long rod. The pendulum regulates the fall of the weight to create an accurate timekeeper.

An electric motor rewinds the weight approximately every 8 minutes.


The Conical Pendulum Clock was created by the Artist in 1986 as an Artist-in-Residence project at the New York Hall of Science, Queens, New York. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A conical pendulum consists of a weight (or bob) fixed on the end of a string or rod suspended from a pivot.

Its construction is similar to an ordinary pendulum; however, instead of swinging back and forth, the bob of a conical pendulum moves at a constant speed in a circle with the string (or rod) tracing out a cone.

The conical pendulum was first studied by the English scientist Robert Hooke around 1660 as a model for the orbital motion of planets. In 1673 Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens calculated its period, using his new concept of centrifugal force in his book Horologium Oscillatorium. Later it was used as the timekeeping element in a few mechanical clocks and other clockwork timing devices.

For more information about the physics behind the Conical Pendulum Clock

 see Wikipedia at: 

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The Conical Pendulum Clock has been exhibited at:

The New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY. 1986 

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC. 1991

Technorama Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland. 1993

The Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, NJ. 1994

The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA. 1994

Inventure Place, Akron, OH. 1996

phaeno Museum, Wolfsburg, Germany. 2008

Parque de las Ciencias, Granada, Spain. 2009

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The source drawing for the conical pendulum found in

The Engineers" Illustrated Thesaurus 

©1952, by Herbert Herkimer.

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