About this project
Stretch Goal - Namesake Upgrade
If the Kickstarter batch of The Midnight Clock sells out, each backer will have the option of having their clock etched with a dedication to the recipient at no additional cost. See Update #4 for more. Or, by popular demand, you can add $11 per clock for the upgrade even if it doesn't sell out. Because I'm a big softie. :)
Press & Awards
LA Times - Books | Kickstarter Project of the Day, June 18 | Kickstarter Staff Pick
The Midnight Clock
Fiction is filled with hidden doorways, destinations, and treasures - think of Tolkien's secret door to Durin, Rawling's platform 9 3/4, or Lewis's wardrobe - but we rarely find them in real life. The Midnight Clock changes that. A riddle on its body instructs the curious observer on how to open its novel locking mechanism, revealing the adventure that awaits in the hidden book of your choosing.
The first Midnight Clock was a birthday gift I made at for my son born earlier this year. It was designed to help engender the sense of wonder, adventure, and efficacy I hope he finds in life. I'm sharing it here on the chance that it can do the same for someone special to you.
How It Works
On its face, the Midnight Clock is a fully-functional 24-hour clock with tick marks on every hour and symbols representing approximate sunrise, midday, sunset, and midnight. But the inquisitive will find that its riddle acts as a guide to removing the keys associated with each symbol in a certain order - and one at a certain time - allowing it to be opened to reveal a hidden compartment and almost any book you wish to keep there.
How It's Made
The Midnight Clock was prototyped (above) at TechShop Pittsburgh, and thanks to a previous successful Kickstarter project (the Backcountry Boiler - worth checking out if you like camping and hiking!) I founded a small design studio that will be performing the bulk of the manufacturing in-house. The outsourced manufacturing of the customized movement components will be performed by a well-established domestic company.
Befitting its inspiration, The Midnight Clock is built with an emphasis on quality, user health and sustainability.
- Movement: 24 hour high-torque quartz, German made, with custom shaft
- Body & Works: Laser cut, cabinet-grade baltic birch or bamboo plywoods. Both FSC certified for sustainable production
- Glass: Shatter-proof, gallery-grade acrylic
- Fasteners: Brass and stainless steel
- Adhesive: Low-VOC and Greenguard certified for contributing to good indoor air quality
- Ink: Low-VOC, non-toxic acrylic
- Finish: Low-VOC, non-toxic
- Lubricant: Talcum powder
- Dimensions: 23.5" x 10" x 2.625"
- Maximum Book Size: 8.5" x 5.5" x 2"
I'm using the open-source GanttProject project management software to plan production of The Midnight Clock so you can see up-to-date reports based on my progress and projections. Initially, it assumes most tasks will take 1.5 to 2x longer than expected.
If any part of the works are damaged during the life of the clock, replacements will be available for just the cost of shipping. Repairs to the body or face of the clock will also be made for just the cost of shipping.
Special thanks to my lovely wife Leslie and brilliant son Oliver for appearing in the video as well as my discerning friend Mat Thorne of Sevenbay Design for his help with the photographs and video.
Designed in Pittsburgh. Made in the USA.
Risks and challenges
Unexpected obstacles are possible with any project, but I've done what I can to make them less likely with The Midnight Clock. The manufacturing methods used to prototype the clock are the same that will be used in production - they'll just be streamlined to speed things up. Most of the manufacturing will be in-house so I can directly monitor quality, and those tasks that are outsourced will be performed by well-established vendors. We also have backup vendors and manufacturing options should any of the first-line choices fall through.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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