John C Taylor


Time Flies This Summer in Cambridge

I’m thrilled and delighted that we have the official launch today of the new Midsummer Chronophage at Lion Yard in Cambridge.  Please see the information below that my team has produced.  If you are in the area at 2:30 PM today, do come in and say hello !

Summer Solstice News

This summer season sees the City of Cambridge as the home for two magnificent Chronophage clocks.  Today, Friday June 21, the day of the summer solstice, sees the official launch of the new Midsummer Chronophage in the Lion Yard Shopping Centre, Tibbs Row, Cambridge.  The clock features an iridescent blue mythical flying insect on top of a huge 1.5 metre-wide 24-carat gold rippled disc representing the flow of time.  The timepiece is illuminated with bright blue lighting reminiscent of sunny summer dawn skies.

This clock is being loaned to Lion Yard by the renowned inventor and philanthropist, Dr John C Taylor OBE.  In 2008, Dr Taylor created and then donated the Corpus Chronophage clock to his former college, Corpus Christi, where he also funded the Taylor library.

Now aged 82, the designer of bi-metal kettle controls who has over 400 patents to his name said, “Modern art inspired me to produce the Chronophage.  I tasked myself with creating modern art that actually does something – in this case, a clock that entertains and interacts with the viewer.  I don’t like to do anything that’s been done before, so it was necessary to find a new way of telling the time.”

“I pay homage to my hero, the clockmaker John Harrison who won the Longitude Prize in 1714 and who invented the first grasshopper escapement that enabled a navigator to use a clock to find a ship’s position in the middle of the ocean.  Each Chronophage runs using its own huge grasshopper escapement incorporated into a unique time eating mythical creature that moves across the top of the clock face. The word ‘Chronophage’ is derived from the ancient Greek words ‘chronos’ meaning time and ‘phage’ meaning eater. 

“The clock is interactive and explores Albert Einstein’s theory of relative time.  The creature speeds up and slows down, sometimes walking backwards and flashing its eyes, to show how time seems to travel at different speeds depending on what we are doing.”

The time is expressed through three concentric circles of lights, starting with hours in the central ring, followed by minutes in the middle ring and then seconds in the outer ring.  Every 59 seconds, the creature ‘eats time’ reminding us that you can never get the minute back, and that we should therefore make the most of every moment.

The clock’s inventor is visiting Cambridge to officially launch the timepiece, which will be on display until the end of British summertime on October 27 2019.

Lion Yard Centre manager Roger Allen said, “Shopping is one of our favourite pastimes, so the Midsummer Chronophage is well placed.  Our visitors will be blown away by this masterpiece, which will make them smile.  We are just four minutes away from the world-renowned Corpus Chronophage clock, which means visitors to the city can see both clocks in just one short visit.”

Dr Taylor has designed a total of four Chronophages. In addition to the two in the City of Cambridge, there is a Dragon Chronophage that lives in Dr Taylor’s home, Arragon Mooar, in the Isle of Man and another bespoke design that resides abroad with a private art collector.

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Interesting Facts

Thousands of years ago in the Middle East, a random genetic mutation caused a group of grapes to spontaneously abort their own seeds before the seeds could develop hard casings. The result: seedless grapes. To reproduce the fruit, a farmer simply cloned the vine — meaning that all seedless grapes today are direct descendants of that one mutated grape vine.

Latest News

The Luxury of Time: Exhibition Extended at the Manx Museum

Manx National Heritage confirms that it has extended ‘The Luxury of Time’, an exhibition at the Manx Museum featuring some of history’s most significant British timepieces. The Luxury of Time features 30 different outstandingly beautiful timepieces from Dr Taylor’s private collection. The exhibition, which showcases the golden age of clock and watch making, is the largest exhibition of clocks and timepieces ever staged on the Isle of Man and the first dedicated to horology at the Manx Museum. The exhibition is on display at the Manx Museum until Sunday 27 September 2020.  Admission is free but donations are welcome.  … read more

Interesting Quotes

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller