The Corpus Clock, or Chronophage, was conceived and funded by Dr. John C Taylor, the British inventor and entrepreneur. Huxley Bertram conducted the detailed mechanical design and build. The Chronophage is on public display at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, UK, and was officially unveiled by Professor Stephen Hawking in June 2008.
The clock is a homage to John Harrison who in 1726 invented the portable sea clock to solve the Longitude Problem. It included a grasshopper escapement to improve the accuracy of timekeeping. The Chronophage, literally ‘time-eater’ from Greek, is a meld of artistry and engineering and took 6 years in the making. The escapement is a grasshopper ‘beast’ clearly visible at the top of the clock whose jaw closes once a minute representing ‘eating time’. The clock shows ‘relative time’ as the seconds indicator speeds up, slows down and stops, demonstrating how we all perceive time.
The grasshopper eye includes blinking eyelids driven by the clock mechanism and the tail jumps up every 15 minutes. The clock face is 1.5mm thick stainless steel which was explosion formed and gold plated. The slits for the LEDs were laser cut. The hourly chime is created by a chain and hammer.