Innovative Projects

Innovative Projects

The 10,000 Year Clock

High in the mountains of Sierra Diablo Mountain Range lays a special project- the 10,000 Year Clock. This is a special clock designed to be an icon for long-term thinking. The originator of the clock is Danny Hillis who has been working on this project since 1989. His idea was to build a clock that "ticks once a year, the century hand advances once every 100 years and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium." (Bezos)

"The vision was, and still is, to build a Clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years. I've been helping Danny with the project for the last half dozen years. As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. We're likely to need more long-term thinking." (Bezos)

To get to the clock the visitor must be prepared to travel long hours from the airport by car and be fit enough to climb up a foot trail where the clock is located, almost 2000 feet above the valley. When the visitor has finally arrived at the primary chamber he/she will see the face of the Clock. If you look closely inside the inner works of the Clock you will notice the time of the day. However, to get the correct time you will have "to set" the clock as it displays an older time given by the person who visited before. While the clock calculates the correct time it will only display it if the visitor winds up the display wheel.

To run, the clock uses energy captured in temperature changes between day and night. To withstand the test of time most moving parts of the clock are made of marine grade, 316, stainless steel. As the tolerance of the Clock is in fractions of inch, not thousandth, the expansion by rust film will not have a dramatic impact on the works. To counteract galvanic corrosion some important parts are non-metallic. They are made out of high-tech ceramics. Ceramic is a material that can outlast most metals and can be utilized in different environments. Modern ceramic can be as hard as diamonds. All bearings in the clock are made out of ceramic material. Due to the nature of the material, ceramic bearings do not require lubrications. Among the bearings used in the clock are R168-PP/TP/C3Z/S#5 AF2 and FR168-PP/TP/C3Z/S#5 AF2, both have rolling material made of silicon nitride and bearing material made of cubic zirconia.

Carved into the mountain are five room-sized anniversary chambers: 1 year, 10 year, 100 year, 1,000 year, and 10,000 year anniversaries. The one year anniversary chamber is a special orrery. In addition to the planets and the Earth's moon, it includes all of the interplanetary probes launched during the 20th century, humankind's first century in space. Among others, you'll see the Grand Tour: Voyager 2's swing by of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Clock will activate and run the orrery once a year on a pre-determined date at solar noon.

"We aren't planning to build the animations for the 100, 1,000, and 10,000 year anniversary chambers, but will instead leave those to future generations. We are providing a mechanical interface into those chambers that provides those future builders with power and the correct clock triggering events. We do intend to build the animation for the 10 year anniversary chamber, but haven't decided what it will be yet. If you have an interesting idea for the 10 year anniversary chamber, please feel free to email it to, and we'll add it to the mix of ideas." (Bezos)

Kelly, K. (n.d.). Clock in the mountain. Retrieved from
Bezos, J. (n.d.). Welcome to the 10,000 year clock website. Retrieved from

View More Innovative Stories Below

More Innovative Stories

MMR Rambotics

Each year the students and mentors of MMRambotics undergo an intensive six week build process to create a competition ready robot for FIRST robotics. Robots competing in FIRST weigh up to 120 pounds and are faced with incredible tasks relying on the skill of their drivers and their programmers. With so many movin...more »

Team Primal

Primal Speed Bike is a racing team, developing some of the fastest human powered vehicles in the world. Composite materials, ingeniously engineered fairings, and perfectly configured mechanisms drive the Primal 2. With this excellent design from leader and designer George Leone, and superb athleticism and stamina...more »

Concept Solar Car

NUS Urban Concept is building a vehicle that can drive very long distances with low fuel consumption. The goal of this team is to construct a car that can generate less carbon dioxide while running a speed of at least 25km per hour. This vehicle is designed around the Urban Concept and must be able to be used in regular...more »

Doc Fizzix

The company was founded by Alden J. Balmer who was an award winning physics high school teacher. The company is located in Round Rock, Texas and was founded in 1995. Doc Fizzix products are carried in varieties of stores across the US, including Hobbytown USA and Hobby...more »

Grandfather Clocks

Don's gravity escapement skeleton tower clocks came about when he met Chuck Roeser where Chuck explained his dream of 25 years to create this type of skeleton clock. Where others could see how these unique tower clocks functioned in their street clock movements. Through their metal arts knowledge and hands...more »

The Liney Machines Windmill Engine

This design is nicknamed "The Windmill" and is an exceptionally beautiful and unique engine. Every part is machined from solid brass or aluminum. It uses five 1/4" single acting pistons with 1/2" strokes. The "wobble" style valving means that every cylinder is in a constant oscillating motion while running. This means...more »

"Mother Oxygen Sculpture"

"Mother Oxygen" is a one of a kind, welded steel sculpture representing the Oxygen in Hyperbaric Chambers that use pressurized Oxygen for treatments with brain injured children. It is for a new facility to be built in Tampa, Florida. The existing facility gives FREE treatments to children that need it. Boca Bearings sponsored artist...more »

© Copyright 2004 - 2011. Boca Bearings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy