Help to identify weird clock display

Thread Starter

Aleph(0)

Joined Mar 14, 2015
597
Yesterday I was at an estate auction and saw clock with strange type of display. Promoters didn't allow photography and I wouldn't buy whole lot just on curiosity, so I'll describe:)

Display is false digital cuz powered by mechanism with regular canned synchronous clock motor but numbers half drawn on each side of plastic leaves which fold down at regular interval to show time. So time display is formed by juxtaposition of of art on upper and lower leaves! All the leaves are mounted on wheel like old rolodex index cards! It's very strange but clever too cuz of planing order of the leaves so obverse and reverse art combines to count like 12 hour digital clock! I can't find on web cuz I don't know what to call it! Clock looked like cheap piece of dreck would be at home in frowsey trailer park:eek:! But I'll be bummed if I passed up a rare item cuz of conceit. I asked HP too but she said never heard of such thing and told me I must have been stoned:mad::D Thanks for help:)!
 

jgessling

Joined Jul 31, 2009
82
The mechanism was invented by an Itslian and used for clocks and famously for departure signs in airports and train stations. Known as Solari boards after the inventor. Two excellent examples that were seen working recently by myself were seen in the Frankfurt airport and Rome's Termini Railroad station. The clatter when a whole board shuffles up when the top line is removed is pure joy.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
Yesterday I was at an estate auction and saw clock with strange type of display. Promoters didn't allow photography and I wouldn't buy whole lot just on curiosity, so I'll describe:)

Display is false digital cuz powered by mechanism with regular canned synchronous clock motor but numbers half drawn on each side of plastic leaves which fold down at regular interval to show time. So time display is formed by juxtaposition of of art on upper and lower leaves! All the leaves are mounted on wheel like old rolodex index cards! It's very strange but clever too cuz of planing order of the leaves so obverse and reverse art combines to count like 12 hour digital clock! I can't find on web cuz I don't know what to call it! Clock looked like cheap piece of dreck would be at home in frowsey trailer park:eek:! But I'll be bummed if I passed up a rare item cuz of conceit. I asked HP too but she said never heard of such thing and told me I must have been stoned:mad::D Thanks for help:)!
They were commonly called "flip clocks"

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xflip+clock.TRS0&_nkw=flip+clock&_sacat=0
 

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,223
I asked HP too but she said never heard of such thing and told me I must have been stoned:mad::D
You? Stoned!? -- How could I have suspected that?!;););):D

Thanks to other members' kind posting of images, I do seem to recall something of the sort - but not well...:confused: --- Anyway, I doubt you missed out on a 'lost treasure':p:)

Best regards
HP:)
 
Last edited:

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
Ha HA !

Ooops. I feel old now. :oops:

Anyway that was a standard design in cheap alarm clocks. Dad had one when I grew up and it ran for at least 20 years before he got a digital LED one.

I think my Great grandparents had a stove and a microwave with a similar clock systems on them too.

Until mass produced VFD (Vacuum fluorescent Display) and then LCD and LED digital display tech that could run directly off of low voltage digital IC circuitry came along in the 1960's, 1970's on into the 1980's the flip flap card concept for displays was a pretty common system. ;)
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I've seen these in old movies; it'd be great to see one in action. There must be some processing power behind them, especially for the time.
Nope, no processor. Super simple. The one I had would click 15 seconds before it would flip. Little motor inside with lots of gear reduction. It just ran and ran.

The front light that sat just below the the window (aimed at the digits) burned out after about 30 years. Then some fins got bent when a guy with a weak mind and strong back from Allied Van Lines decided to shake it to see how it worked.
 
Last edited:

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,223
in the 1960's, 1970's on into the 1980's the flip flap card concept for displays was a pretty common system. ;)
I must admit they look very 70's:D -- from what I've gleaned from TV, film, art, decor and products of that era, it seems they insisted on making a 'big production' of everything perceived as even remotely 'high-tech' --- that and wood-grain!:eek::rolleyes: -- why is so much of what remains from the 1970's adorned with wood grain???:confused:

Ah well --- I wonder what they'll be saying about the current decade in the 2050's:eek::cool:

Best regards
HP:)
 
Last edited:

Brownout

Joined Jan 10, 2012
2,390
Nope, no processor. Super simple. The one I had would click 15 seconds before it would flip. Little motor inside with lots of gear reduction. It just ran and ran.
I quoted post #5, which refered not to the simple clock, but a more complex system for displaying information using a similar mechanism. There is some kind of processing, although I have no idea what it is. Could be totally mechanical.
 
Last edited:

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,223
and yes this post makes me feel old too..
And I feel like a moron!:( -- Seems everyone on the fora (or the planet?) with the exception of myself is familiar with the technology:oops::oops::oops: (Aleph, being, as she is, an early '20-something', excepted) -- Well hey - as per my mantra - To learn something new is always good thing!:)

Best regards
HP:)
 

Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,223
@Aleph(0)

Inasmuch as you described the motor and the arrangement of the 'cards', I take it that the device you inspected was disassembled? --- Or was it in a transparent cabinet À la those goofy 'neon phones' of that era???

All the best
HP:)
 
Top