Schlumpf Time Machines

Over the past few years, schlumpf innovations has been making new kind of clocks called as Time Machines. These creations don’t just represent time with hands marking the passage of minutes and hours. The purest expressions of this concept are the hard-core Time Machines that have no hands at all. Some Time Machines have very discreet time indicators. And there are the installations, such as the Four-Quadrant Time Machine, big enough to walk through so that it surrounds the visitor with four mechanical clock-pulse generators and the majestic, harmonic swing of four long pendulums, creating a world of timelessness.

The original Time Machine gives a room a unique ambience, evocative of grand hotel lobbies or the halls of ancient trading houses. The air is pervaded by the majestic tempo of the clock mechanism, the atmosphere shaped by the harmonic swing of the long pendulum that delineates unhurried intervals of time. The Time Machine TM1 has no hands. It relates to time on a philosophical level, rather than being a tool for measuring time.

In 2014, Schlumpf collaborated with the famous Russian Petrodvorets Watch Factory, maker of Raketa watch brand, to plan and execute one of the biggest clocks in the world. With a twelve-meter long pendulum and gears of up to four meters in diameter, this is not only one of the world’s biggest, but also possibly one of the most sophisticated clocks in terms of its technical and aesthetic merits. After only seven months of design and construction, it was installed in Moscow’s famous Detski Mir shopping mall in late 2014.

This monumental project represents many new technical approaches and solutions, one of them being „orbital drive“: the entire clockwork moves steadily, with only the anchor wheel stopping intermittently. This is a new perspective on the classical clock mechanism, as the kinetic energy in the movement is not destroyed with every stroke, just to be re-animated again a moment later.

The new TM3 is a family of smaller Time Machines, available starting the end of 2015. The TM3 is available in wall-mounted and freestanding versions. It is available in a variety of finishes, including black, matte silver, and gold, and is offered in a limited edition of 99 numbered pieces. The company can also design unique combinations of finishes, including gold leaf and monochromatic.

For BaselWorld 2015, the company developed and executed the huge Four-Quadrant Time Machine, which stood in the inner courtyard of the famous clock fair. It‘s a monumental installation, five meters tall, big enough to walk through, and invites the visitor to listen to the magical sound of four identical but non-synchronous Time Machines, and to watch the movement of 24 wheels rotating steadily, with only the anchor wheels being stopped and released by the pendulum.

The TM2, which followed the TM1 in an exclusive edition of twenty numbered pieces, is optionally available with beautiful and discreet time indicators – if desired.

In 2016, schlumpf innovations built a small number of wall-mounted Time Machines – unique mechanisms somewhere between clocks and paintings. These models feature hands showing the second, minute, hour, and even day of week. They can also be executed as pure Time Machines without any time indicators – the ultimate expressions of kinetic art.

schlumpf innovations has also designed unique pieces such as the Black on Black, which uses a black backplate, black wheels, black pendulum, and black frame – the Time Machine reduced to its purest form, focusing attention on sound and movement. Also available with a polished, gold-plated pendulum disk on request.

About schlumpf innovations gmbh
As a company, schlumpf innovations has a history dating to 1988, but products were being produced under the Schlumpf name a century before that. Johann Melchior Schlumpf, the great-grandfather of CEO Florian Schlumpf opened a mechanical workshop in the small Swiss village of Steinhausen in the year 1885. A skilled carpenter, he not only built his own house, he worked in a range of fields including hydraulics and electricity. He used the river flowing beneath his house to power the transmission belts in his workshop, and he invented a hydraulic ram, a type of self-driven water pump.

With this inspiring legacy, his great-grandson grew up in the Zugerland region 70 years later. Although the machines in the workshop were no longer powered by transmission belts, the fascination of mechanical ideas was as strong as ever.

Florian Schlumpf started his professional education as a sculptor in the Academy of Fine Arts in Lucerne in the late 1970s. After travelling the world for two years on a self-made motorcycle, he decided to develop more formal training in the field of mechanics. He graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1988. An early job as an engineer at a big paper mill lasted only a few months. Even as he was developing and building custom machinery for his employer, he decided to start his own workshop.

Inspired to solve the problem of multiple gears on a unicycle, he developed his concept for a planetary gearing system. The “mountain drive,” easy to activate by foot, earned a strong reputation among niche markets from Australia to the USA for recumbents, folding bikes, commuter bikes, and e-bikes.

Meanwhile, a request for a hydraulic ram with “impossible” specifications (110 m3/day pumping volume and 170-m elevation rise from a 70-m drop) led to the development of a completely new generation of high-pressure rams, characterized by a high-speed action that reduces stress on both valves and pipes. These hydraulic rams can now deliver water over an elevation rise of as much as 500 meters, and are being used from Haiti to Nepal.

Returning to his early inspiration to build a gearing system for unicycles, Florian Schlumpf adapted his mountain drive system to unicycles, giving them a high gear. Ten years later, most of the world’s fastest and most successful unicyclists use the Schlumpf hub for marathons and 10-km races, and many for daily commuting. Top unicyclists have used this product to reach speeds of 40 km/h and faster.

In 2011, the German company Haberstock Mobility bought the patents and production rights to the bicycle gearing system. For schlumpf innovations, this was an opportunity to try something new.

Florian Schlumpf has always been fascinated by clocks and precision mechanisms. While the tic-toc sound of a mechanical clock was once a familiar aspect of the home environment, today, these clocks and their sounds have all but disappeared. This was the inspiration for the Time Machine, which celebrates the mechanical precision and sensory pleasure of a traditional clock in a purely artistic experience.

A key element of the Time Machine is creating a new relationship with time: it has no hands or face to mark time and remind us of its scarcity. Instead, there is simply a mechanism to contemplate and enjoy the passage of time.

Florian Schlumpf’s daughter Fiona now works at the company, handling marketing and lending a hand to assemble machines when needed. In addition to Time Machines, schlumpf innovations continues to manufacture precision unicycle gearing systems and high-performance water rams, and exports them worldwide.

Contact details
Florian Schlumpf
schlumpf innovations gmbh
Herawisweg 13
CH – 7203 Trimmis

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