Magic History 101: Mystery Clocks

Posted by Peter Monticup on 10/17/2020 to Magic History 101

Have you ever seen a Mystery Clock?
These are clocks whose hands move seemingly without any clockworks moving them.

The most famous (and valuable) Mystery Clocks were built by the legendary magician Robert-Houdin in the mi-1800s.
Robert-Houdin was a master clockmaker, and he also was a performing magician.
Yes- THAT Robert-Houdin, the man Houdini took his professional name from!
Anyway, Robert-Houdin combined his passions, and created Mystery Clocks, clocks with clear faces so it was a mystery how the hands were being moved.

Years later, other companies produced their own versions of the Mystery Clock.
In America, the Ansonia Company, famous for its bronze figurine clocks, made a series of "Swingers", small bronze statues holding pendulum clocks.
Though the pendulums were held by the tiniest finger of the statue, the clocks worked and the pendulums swung for days, without any apparent energy source.
In 1940, a Dutch inventor named Prins made the first electric Mystery Clock.
An American clock company, Jefferson, purchase the patent and for several decades produced millions of these Golden Hour Mystery Clocks.

How do they work?
Let me show you two Mystery Clocks from my collection...


Date 10/21/2020
Peter - I enjoyed your video about mystery clocks, very interesting. I don't have any mystery clocks or any commercially made clocks as I have been making my own clocks for many years. I make unique clocks of various sizes and shapes. I still have about 40 clocks around the house after giving some to family and friends even selling a few. There is even one clock in the UK with our inlaws. Kazar
Date 11/7/2020
Dan Lopez
Although I never commented before, I enjoy your videos. This one in particular is very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to produce these videos and demos. It's a bit of relief from the every day stress of politics and covid etc. THANK YOU! Dan

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