Clock Museum to Host Steampunk Fest
Makers, horologists, costumes and musical guests are on tap at the NAWCC Clockwork Festival
Steampunk will meet the art and science of horology as the first-ever NAWCC Clockwork Festival takes place on Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the NAWCC National Clock and Watch Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania. The event will feature museum tours and educational sessions in addition to a costume contest, craft contest, tea dueling, vendors, and a musical performance by Night Watch Paradox.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines horology as “the science of measuring time” and “the art of making instruments for measuring time.” The museum, established in 1977 by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), has a collection of more than 13,000 objects, of which about 2500 are on display.
The program includes “Ask a Horologist” sessions, a makers’ panel, demonstrations of the Engle Monumental Clock, and a demonstration of a rose-engine lathe used to make ornamental objects.
The Engle Clock is a centerpiece of the museum’s collection. Measuring 11 feet high and 8 feet wide, it features 48 moving figures and an apparatus that shows the positions of the moon and constellations relative to the earth. Inventor Stephen D. Engle spent 20 years building the clock. After he finished it in 1878, it toured the eastern U.S. as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Presenters at the festival include makers Brett King and Gary Sullivan; machinist David Lindow of Lindow Machine Works; watchmaker Roland Murphy; and Michele Marinelli and Jere Ryder, the curators of the Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata at the Morris Museum in New Jersey.
King, a frequent guest at steampunk events, is the founder of AutomataCon, a biannual convention for automata enthusiasts. Sullivan is the creator of the “Steam-Powered Brain Wave Enhancer,” a top hat containing what appears to be a small steam engine (it actually uses two electric motors and dry ice). You can see it in action in this YouTube video. Sullivan also made a steampunk bicycle seen at Burning Man. Sullivan will demonstrate both contraptions as well as “something else he is working on,” says NAWCC executive director Tom Wilcox, who is organizing the festival.
Night Watch Paradox (shown below) describes its music as an “eclectic fusion of original progressive rock, neoclassical, cabaret, post-punk, new wave, comedic storytelling, and other avant-garde genres.” In addition to their appearance, phono fiddler Keith Engle will stage a series of pop-up performances.
Admission costs $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for kids. The museum is located at 514 Poplar Street, Columbia, PA 17512. It’s about 10 miles west of Lancaster. See the event website for more info.
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