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Millennium Clock To Share Home With Bard

A unique clock that can run without winding or batteries is to tick for the next thousand years in Stratford.

The Millennium Clock will be on show at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust after a jeweller in the town came up with the idea.

Jeremy Pragnell, Roger Pringle and the clock

Jeremy Pragnell, of George Pragnell Ltd, teamed up with Swiss clock and watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre to make the clock.

It will go on display at the trustís visitor centre in Henley Street from 6 January next year.

The clock is the only one of its kind in the world to be run by temperature variation, enabling it to run until the year 3000 without manual winding or the need for batteries.

A change of only one degree in air temperature is needed to drive the clock for two days. It will display the minutes, hours, months, years and moon phases of the next millennium.

It has an air-tight capsule containing a mixture of gas and liquid which expands when the temperature rises and contracts when it drops.

Directly connected to the clock's mainspring, a concertina-like box within the capsule stretches or shrinks, constantly winding the movement.

It requires around 100 times less energy than an ordinary wristwatch, while its movement functions 300 times more slowly.

It would take 6 million movements of the clock to light one 60 watt lightbulb.

The one-off edition of the Atmos clock, created by Jaeger-LeCoultre at the company's Swiss headquarters, will be decorated with Shakespearean quotations and mounted in a showcase featuring the work of Buckinghamshire-based artist Ben Rubbra.

Roger Pringle, the director of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said:

"We are delighted to be presented with this remarkable clock. It will interest the many thousands of visitors from all over the world who come to see Shakespeare's Birthplace, and its Shakespearian-related design will be a continual reminder of the dramatist's preoccupation with the passing of time."

Jeremy Pragnell, who now runs family-owned George Pragnell Ltd, based in Wood Street, Stratford, said:

"William Shakespeare is widely accepted as The Man of the Millennium, so I had the idea of commissioning a Shakespeare-themed edition to be enjoyed by both residents and visitors to Stratford.

"The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the ideal setting for this Millennium timepiece."

He added:

"The Atmos clock has generated a great deal of interest from our customers since it went on sale at the beginning of this year. 

"It is fascinating to see a clock which measures time not on a human lifetime scale and to realise that most people will probably not even be around to witness the hand touch the marker for the year 2100 let alone 3000."

A time capsule containing Shakespeare related items is to be buried as part of the project when it is launched on Twelfth Night.

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CWN / Heritage / Shakespeare Birthplace Trust / 7 Nov 00
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