Clock Trickery in Columbia; connection to Steam Into History in New Freedom
There is currently a neat exhibit that is part of any always-enjoyable tour through The National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia. “The Magic of Mystery Clocks” is a temporary exhibit; it opened in May and runs through December 2014.
Clock trickery is accomplished by cleverly concealing how the clock works. Floating hour and minute hands is one feature often found in these clocks, such as in the pictured upper-part of a Robert-Houdin Mystery Swinger Clock in the exhibit. You’ll have to visit the museum yourself, for the explanation of how this rare clock works.
You would be correct in assuming some connection between the French clockmaker Robert-Houdin and the Hungarian-American illusionist Harry Houdini. Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin lived from 1805 to 1871. Besides clock making, many consider Robert-Houdin the Father of Modern Magic. Robert-Houdin was also famous for his mechanical figures; the most acclaimed was his writing and drawing figure that was eventually sold to P. T. Barnum.
In 1874, Harry Houdini was born as Erik Weisz in Hungary; his family came to America when he was 4-years-old. Many believe he adopted the stage name Houdini after reading Robert-Houdin’s autobiography. In actuality, Houdini was, in a strange way, honoring Jean Eugène Robert’s wife’s maiden name, for when Jean Eugène Robert married Josèphe Cecile Houdin, he hyphenated his own name to hers and became Robert-Houdin.
The permanent museum collection of The National Watch and Clock Museum contains the following wall painting as a backdrop of an exhibit on the importance of time to railroading. One can’t help but think of this wall painting as surreptitiously advertising the Steam Into History train that runs between New Freedom and points north in Southern York County. Congratulations to Steam Into History on beginning your second year of operation. Check this site for upcoming list of Steam Into History special excursions and this site for tickets.
Related posts include:
- York-Lancaster Inter-County Bridge at dusk with Original Lights
- P. T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth; a Sight to Behold in York, PA, during 1876
- Steam Into History’s York #17 and two other Rogers 4-4-0 Steam Locomotives
- Why is the Steam Into History locomotive named York #17 ?
- 1925 Article sheds light on President Lincoln photograph at Hanover Junction
Steam Into History’s William H. Simpson #17 is a faithful replica of a Civil War Era steam locomotive. This photo shows the #17 rambling on the tracks adjacent to the York County Rail Trail.