The Solar Do-Nothing Machine by Ray & Charles Eames

The Eameses created this prototype for a Solar Do-Nothing Machine for Alcoa Forecast Collection in the late 1950's. It's a tabletopful of beautifully milled aluminum [naturally] pinwheels and cogs, all webbed together with tiny belts.


It's a lot of fun to watch and decipher, and though it's hard to capture in an image, it filmed really well. This is a still from a 2-min film on Vol. 6 of The Films of Ray and Charles Eames.

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  • ZephyrSkunk 4y

    The two glass bulbs down front are radiometers, a simple solar engine. The light bulb-shaped ones were made by Robert Kyp at Kyp-Go in Chicago, and these don't have either the flared glass pedestal (for sitting on a shelf) or the glass topknot (for hanging), so I figure they were a custom-order from Kyp. The rest of the machine is really amazing stuff - kinetic art is almost always on the order of a do-nothing machine, which is part of the charm, but no kinetic art truly does "nothing", since it usually makes people smile.
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Taken on January 4, 2007
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