Prague’s astronomical clock gets a makeover


The famous astronomical clock that is Prague’s most popular tourist attraction has lost some star players for the next two months. The four outside figures, including a skeletal Death, have been removed and are being repainted to protect them from the elements.

The clock was built in 1410 and is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Dials show the position Moon, position of the Sun on the zodiac, and other astronomical events. Every hour there’s a parade of painted figures representing the 12 Apostles. Four other figures, representing vanity, greed, death, and pleasure, stand outside. As the bells chime the hours and the Apostles do their walk, Death shakes an hourglass to remind you that everything is transitory.

It’s quite a show, as you can see from this video by the folks at In Your Pocket: Essential City Guides. They have a free downloadable guide to Prague and many other cities on their website.

The clock will continue to function as the four figures are repainted. Legend has it that if the clock stops, disaster will strike the city.

SkyMall Monday: Clocks

skymall monday gadling irrational numbers clockWe’re a culture that’s fixated on time. We schedule meetings, play dates for our kids, parties and dates. We’re hyper-aware of the time. Here at SkyMall Monday, we have our days scheduled right down to the minute. We keep clocks on the walls, watches on our wrists and smartphones handy to check the time no matter where we are in the ol’ HQ. Our lives can get pretty chaotic this time of year, but you don’t have to let the holidays get the best of you. Stay calm, organized and precise and you’ll not only get through the holidays but also get your whole life in order. Thankfully, SkyMall has clocks for every personality and decor. Let’s take a look at some of the best options.We’ve actually covered some clocks in the past here at SkyMall Monday. You can’t go wrong with the Day Clock (unless, of course, you need your clock to tell you the actual time). Meanwhile, the Message in Time Clock allows you to haunt your family members. For coffee drinkers, the TimeMug kills two birds with one stone.

SkyMall doesn’t stop there, though. It has clocks for everyone:

Irrational Numbers Clock (pictures above): Your underachieving middle schooler will be late for school in no time!

Math Clock: See above.

skymall monday gadling target alarm clockTarget Clock: I’ll defer to the product description on this one:

To make it stop or snooze, the sleeper must sufficiently awaken, grab the laser gun, and hit a bull’s eye. Includes 2 other shooting games for target practice.

All joking aside, this is awesome. However, I think we can all agree that it should be a paintball gun and the target should be your significant other who, if hit, has to turn off the alarm for you. The welt will remind her all day that you love her.

10.5″ Reel Clock: Perfect for film lovers who like to roughly estimate the time based on the vague location of the clock hands.

Fishing Effects Clock: From the product description:

Each hour is announced with fishing sounds: line casting, water splashing, and more.

Perfect for the bathroom.

skymall monday gadling original bird clockOriginal Bird Clock: Let’s migrate over to the product description:

The 13″ Original Bird Clock features 12 of the most recognized birds in North America.

A different bird song announces each hour with live recordings provided by Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

Save your obscure birds for some other clock. I want to make sure I can easily recognize the sound when it’s a quarter past Tufted Titmouse.

Classic Glory Clock: Haunting. Disorienting. Capable of stealing our souls. Isn’t that how we want to describe our clocks?

Peaceful Cosmos Entertainer Clock: See above and watch this video instead.

Anthology Legend Clock: See above, add lights and you have yourself some nightmare fuel.

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

World’s oldest mechanical clock going automatic after 600 years


It’s been wound by hand for 600 years, but technology has finally caught up with the world’s oldest mechanical clock.

The duty of winding the clock three times a week, a task that takes an hour, has been performed by the same family for five generations. Before them a series of clock winders have been at the task since the clock was installed in Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England, in the 1380s.

But now Paul Fisher, the current clock winder, is retiring, and his sons are too busy to take over the task. Curators are installing an electric motor to wind it automatically.

It’s the end of a tradition that goes back to a century before Columbus’ voyage to America, and locals aren’t too happy about it. The clock has two dials, one inside and one outside. The inside face, shown above, has a 24-hour dial and shows the phases of the Moon. Interestingly for the time, it shows the Earth at the center of the universe, with the Sun and Moon revolving around it. The outside face has a more standard 12-hour dial, with mechanical knights who ring the bells and joust with one another.


Photo courtesy user Cormullion via Wikimedia Commons.

Global Time Travel Clock

ClockUnless they can add and subtract, like, really well, globe-trekkers are frequently wondering what time it is. Why bother with annoying old math when you can simply rotate a bezel and get the right time?

Brookstone’s $30 Global Time Travel Clock is so smart, it knows the time anywhere on earth. Simply turn the dial to learn the precise time (and day of the week) in any of the planet’s 24 time zones. Don’t have nocturnal vision? Brookstone didn’t think so. That’s why they gave the clock a backlit screen. Just touch the clock face, and the screen lights up.

Also boasting a built-in super-bright LED flashlight, you can even use the clock to make sure that noise you hear isn’t the sound of your hotel’s doorknob slowly twisting…