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The Gray Mechanical Counter

February 4, 2013

Someone, an uncle or grandparent, gave me this mechanical counter to play with when I was young. I’d click it just for mindless fun. I figured out ways to click it real fast, to get it up to 9999 and then click it once more.

I noticed how much slower each digit wheel turned compared to the one to it right. I learned at an early age about powers of ten, orders of magnitude, even if I was too young to have the vocabulary to explain my insight.

Later, as I grew older and accumulated tools and workspace, I took it apart and put it back together again several times. This is one of the ways I became familiar with gears, springs, many types of sliding and spinning parts. The tactile memory of such parts is one source of material feeding my abstract art style.

The larger lever was for resetting it to all zeros.  The smaller one, which appeared to be designed to have a thick wire or some mechanical part activate it, would increment the number by one.  The metal plate on top had holes for screws.  I never knew what this kind of counter was meant to be used for, other than probably for some kind of industrial machinery.  Overall the whole thing was about three inches side to side.   I may have gotten the levers swapped in this rendering.

This 3D image was modeled and rendered in Blender 2.65. With a goal of getting it done from a cold start in only two evenings, it has some minor imperfections, but fairly well captures the look and feel of the device.

Mechanical box with two levers at sides and four digits visible in glass window

Gray mechanical counter of unknown origin


From → mechanical

One Comment
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