Fun & Games Science

Those interested in mechanisms and horology will probably enjoy the hypnotic action of this single-pin escapement executed in Lego by YouTuber horolophile. An “escapement,” FYI, is the mechanism in a timepiece that converts continuous rotational motion into oscillating “back and forth” motion and makes it go tick-tock.

Here’s an entry describing MacDowall’s escapement from the 1877 Encyclopedia Britannica:

[via The Automata / Automaton Blog]


2 thoughts on “MacDowall single-pin escapement in Lego Technic

  1. This should make a very low friction escapement if you have a hardened steel sleeve over a steel pin and a drop of oil for shaft lubrication. It would also be a dead beat movement as it shouldn’t have any retrograde hand movement on the second hand. The pendulum impulse power is also a simple push and avoids the sliding friction of recoil anchor movements and tip wear and tricky setup of Graham deadbeat escapements

Comments are closed.


I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan