Clocks from Around the World

Patrick Delaney
Patrick Delaney
September 15, 2019

This month, Super Grey Beard explores three of the most iconic clocks that are worth making time for.

Clocks are a big part of our culture, thanks to Altura Obscara for the clock inspiration.


The Giant Ghibli Clock

The giant clock is located at the Nittele Tower (headquarters of Nippon Television), Tokyo. Hayao Miyazaki designed this magnificent clock- the famous co-founder and director of Studio Ghibli.

The clock is over 20 tons of copper and steel. It has mechanical vignettes at different hours- a couple of blacksmiths, a wheel spinner, boiling teapot, cannons and two bell-headed pistons cranked

The clock comes to life four times per day from Monday to Friday, with extra performances on Saturdays and Sundays.

See the performance for yourself


Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

Strasbourg Astronomical Clock

Strasbourg Astronomical Clock is the result of 1800’s engineering.

The clock is the third of its kind to exist. In between 1353-1354, the first clock was built in the Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg, by an unknown tinker. In the late 1500s, the first clock was taken down, a more advanced clock was built on the opposite wall.

The current clock was built in 1843, it has many similar features to the previous clocks, including orrery, a rotating display of the current positions of the sun and moon, mechanical rooster and a planetary calendar. A set of cogs accurately calculates the earth and moon in rotation around the sun on the clock. A large celestial globe in front of the planetary clock is also connected to other mechanisms which ensure that the stars are in aligned in the exact position for the day and time of year.

A large celestial globe in front of the planetary clock


Gastown Steam Clock

Located in Vancouver’s Victorian Gastown is a running steam clock. The clock is powered by a series of underground pipes linked to a generating plant at Georgia and Beatty Street.

Every quarter-hour, the steam clock whistles- to a rendition of the Westminster Chime and steam emerges. Every hour is marked with a toot from each of its five whistles.

Only six other “Steam” clocks exist in the world. The clock is a big tourist attraction in Vancouver. As well as marking the start and finish line of the Gastown Grand Prix.


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