Saturday, May 9, 2009

Galilea moon phase clock | Bernard Vuarnesson | Sculptures-Jeux, France | 1987

Bernard Vuarnesson, Galilea clock Bernard Vuarnesson
Sculptures-Jeux, France, 1987

Bernard Vuarnesson was born in Paris in 1935.  He studied engineering at the Ecole Supérieure du Bois of Paris and trained for a year at the Royal Forestry School of Stockholm in Sweden.  In 1966, he was awarded the diploma of engineering at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris.  In 1972 with his wife Ariane, Sculptures-Jeux was founded.  From 1975 to 1980, they both taught at the Ecole d' Architecture Intérieure Camondo in Paris.

Sculptures-Jeux logo

Sculptures-Jeux presents Bernard and Ariane’s designs.  Check out it’s online presence here and see the other designs created by the husband and wife team.  The boutique focuses on astronomy, nature, toys, and interior design.  The showroom is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm at 18, rue Domat 75005 – Paris.  Tel:  01 43 54 20 39.

The “Galilea” clock, designed in 1987, is the focus of this post.  It is the first clock to reproduce the form of the moon at any given moment.  It also shows the earthbound time on two small hands at the front of the clock.  The month and day are shown on a wheel on the base.  The Galilea was granted US Patent Number 4,887,250 in December, 1989. 

A sculptural addition to the home and definitely useful in education, the constant rotation of a half sphere around a fixed lunar disc shows the visible portion of the moon during its 29.5 day (synodic) cycle.  The clock is made of recyclable plastic and is powered by a single AA battery.  The Galilea is 4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches long by 9.5 inches tall.  It retails at $89.99 but can be found cheaper with a little effort.  The best deal I was able to find was at Orion Telescope where the price was $64.99. 

Galilea patentThe first page of the United States “Apparatus for reproducing the appearance of heavenly bodies” patent, number 4,887,250. The rest of the patent can be found here.

Galilea clock

Above, a promotional image for the Galilea clock.

Bottom of the Galilea clock Galilea imprintThe base of the Galilea clock, which shows the imprint.  The battery door at the back of the clock is also imprinted.

Galilea box panels
Above, the outside panels of the box.  Below, the inserts.  Instructions on how to set the clock in multiple languages, a chart of the moon’s phases (2006 edition), and a guarantee.  The present moon phase can be found here so you can set your clock!

Galilea insertGalilea insertGalilea insert

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