'Author Clock' Tells Time Using Book Quotes That Mention the Time of Day

A dedicated clock must provide more functionality than just telling you what time it is. The Author Clock replaces moving hands and ascending numbers with quotes from books that mention the current time.

This is a great idea, but it's not a new one. Christian Marclay, an artist, released The Clock in 2010. Few people have ever seen it. It runs for 24 hours and features over 12,000 clips taken from thousands of movies. The current time is mentioned in the film or shown in shots of watches and clocks that correspond to a 24-hour period. Although the Clock has no story, it is chaotic and disjointed. It can also be a great introduction to many other films that the viewer might not have known about. The film was never released due to copyright issues. It can rarely be seen in museums or galleries, but there are occasionally bootleg clips available online.

The Author Clock is, however, much simpler to use. An electronic paper screen is made from recycled ABS plastic and paired with an oak wooden housing. It refreshes every minute with a new quote from a book from a library of over 2,000. We'll assume that these are from public domain works as selling a novelty clock that depends on them would be unfair.

Users won't be able to request their favorites authors. However, one of the many benefits of random quotes is that it can introduce users to new writers. There is also the option to censor profanity-laden quotes and to choose from different fonts.

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There will be two versions of the Author Clock. One is a 4.6-inch-wide model that lasts two weeks, while the larger 7.75 inch model has a larger screen that can also be seen far away and lasts for two months. Other features are bare-bones. There are no alarm clocks or date functionality. However, the screen can be inverted to increase contrast and can also be used as a basic digital clock.


Kickstarter was used by the Author Clock's creators to crowdfund the device. Backers can pre-order either the small or large version for $120 and $230 respectively, with delivery expected in April next year. The campaign has raised more than $996,000 to date, which is well above its $20,000 goal. However, that doesn't mean the Author Clock will be delivered on time or at all. Mechanical Design Labs is open about the difficulties of bringing a new device on the market right now. This includes the struggles in securing the required components and its backup plans to modify the design to make it more accessible. You'll need to be patient as supply chains and shipping services continue to struggle all over the globe.