20 April 2016

Copal 602 flip clock

3/4 side view.
Before LEDs, how were digital clocks made? Not with Nixies, that (in my opinion) were mainly used in instruments where the information to be displayed was more randomic than sequential. There existed flip clocks! It looks like they were invented in Italy.

But at a flea market I found a Japanese production, the Copal 602. It was being sold as an ornament at the cost of few espresso coffees (or one basic fast-food menu, burger + chips + drink): well worth a try, and in any case a curious ornament or case for other projects.

With my surprise the clock does work even though it appears to be running a bit fast, like 40-50 seconds gain per hour. It is very silent, much more silent than a classic clock, and it even has a neon bulb that gently lights up the time (and it works too!).

Copal 602 front view.
Time to have a look inside, since I have no real idea how it works.


K4ACS Smitty N. said...

I remember the flip-clocks. My grandparents had one sitting on top of their Curtis-Mathis console television.

Your blogs are interesting in the vintage sense. I like old-school tech myself. One thing that came to mind about the flip-clock was the Pennwood Numechron's of the 1930's are the oldest (to my knowledge) "digital" clocks made. I have many pieces of Heathkit equipment my father had that I now have. One piece, the SB-630 Station Console has a Pennwood clock in it. The digits are printed on faceted drums with an ingenious system of cams to roll the numbers over to the next value. If you like old clocks (Heathkit GC-1107 with VFD) then these old Pennwood's are a real treat to view.


Paolo said...

Hello Smitty. Thank you for your comment. I didn't know "drum clocks" were older than flip clocks. I have spotted them in some radio-alarm-clocks made in 1980's and walked away. Maybe next time I will grab one to have a look inside! No way to source locally a Numechron in Italy.

The linked websites are very interesting! Thank you!