Maker Spotlight: Passing Time With Rick Stanley

Maker News
Maker Spotlight: Passing Time With Rick Stanley
Time is a concept so common it is taken for granted. At Stanley Clockworks, we take pride in celebrating this precious gift. Making original clocks that showcase the mechanics of timekeeping, our work is a blend of art and science. Take a tour of our site and enjoy the splendor of timekeeping.
Rick Stanley

Rick Stanley makes very special clocks. He makes clocks out of beer bottles (over 300 Yuengling beer bottles to be exact), clocks with bicycle bells, clocks featuring coins, dominoes, and fluids. He makes novelty clocks of great complexity alongside his son Vince Stanley in Millville, PA at Stanley Clockworks which they founded in 2006. 

Rick didn’t start out with clocks. A graduate from the University of California, Rick received a degree in Mechanical Engineering. With that degree, he’s supported his family for the past 20 years as a technician in the power generating industry. Always the inventor, Rick has also designed and built machines that dispense medications, farm equipment which reduces time spent cultivating crops, and an operable electric motorcycle.

As an outlet for his creativity, Rick often resorted to his clocks, manifesting a “what if” attitude. What if the clock was stretched out laterally rather than circular? What if the mechanisms were displayed so that everyone could actually see the inner workings of the clock? What if we built a clock around a particular theme? From these curiosities arose the designs below as well as others you can see on the website and this weekend at Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire.

The Beer Bottle Clock (pictured above) is an impressive 20 foot long piece and uses 300 inter-meshing beer bottles to keep time. There are three separate dials for hours, minutes, and seconds making this piece another of Stanley Clockworks unmistakably original creations. The largest gear is five foot in diameter proving it the largest and only clock to incorporate bottles in its movement. Using computer added drafting and centuries old clockmaking methods it took five months to make this a possibility. The clock sports only Yuengling Lager bottles. The brewery is the oldest in America and has a strong local following making the bottles simple to obtain. The beer bottles came from three sources: the local recycling center, the local bar, and whatever the clockmaker could contribute. The clock is on display at the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors Museum.

The Walking Clock – the pendulum “walks” from side to side, triggering particular points which maintains the accuracy of the timer.

The Train Clock displays the front of a train, with a small model engine rotating out of its caboose every hour on the hour.

The Fluid Clock resembles to a very large chemistry tube-within-a-tube.

The Timber Frame Clock is a 700-lb, 10-foot high wooden structure which uses large rocks to maintain its accuracy.

Rick and Vince will be displaying some of their awesome contraptions and talking clock mechanics at the Bloomsburg Mini Maker Faire in Bloomsburg, PA this weekend on April 23rd!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Jennifer Blakeslee keeps the Global Maker Faire program running smoothly and has been a maker at Maker Faire since 2011. Among other things, she really likes to travel, write, cook, hike, make big art, and swim in the ocean.

View more articles by Jennifer Blakeslee