John C Taylor

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Secrets of the Chronophage Revealed

Noted inventor and horologist Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng delivered a speech at the Royal College of Art in London on Wednesday March 19 2014.

He spoke  as part of a School of Design Research Symposium that examines time as the universal metric, a context for every object, life, event and alteration.  The event, created by Stephen Boyd Davis, Research Leader, School of Design, involved five speakers discussing how we design with time, what time looks like, how we perceive it and how it feeds into how we live, act and remember. 

Historical, conceptual and cognitive problems were examined by speakers from the areas of psychology, history, engineering and design. The speakers included BBC Broadcaster Claudia Hammond, Dr Sian Lindley from Microsoft, Historian Dr Matthew Shaw, and Dr Peter Bennett from Bristol Interaction & Graphics Lab.

Dr John C Taylor is one of Britain’s greatest inventors. He was born in Buxton, Derbyshire, attended school on the Isle of Man and then later graduated in Natural Sciences from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 

Many of the hundreds of patents that Dr Taylor holds are for domestic appliances, thermostats and electrical equipment. His single most famous invention is the thermostat controls for the cordless kettle, patented and used throughout the world. It has been calculated that over two billion of Dr Taylor-designed bi-metal blades – used in thermostats to switch off kettles – have been produced since their invention in the 1970s.

At an event in 2008, in the company of Stephen Hawking, Dr Taylor unveiled the Corpus Chronophage Clock which shows time moving both fast or slow at different times, but is always correct every five minutes. A huge metal sculpted grasshopper sits on top of the clock and metaphorically eats each minute as it passes.

Dr Taylor discussed the history of time-keeping and the work of his horological heroes. 

Please visit his website at www.johnctaylor.com 

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