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Home » Beer on the road

Yuengling beer bottles drive Philadelphia clock

Submitted by on July 8, 2011 – 6:00 amOne Comment

Story and photos by Leigh M. Caldwell

photo by Leigh M. CaldwellI’m not on a road trip, but even when our travels take us to airports, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking for local beer, right? I unexpectedly wound up in the Philadelphia International Airport this morning after my trip was re-routed, and I was surprised and impressed by an art installation in the A terminal there.

First off, I was impressed that there is an art-museum-like curator for installations at an airport. And secondly, this art centered on beer. As the wife of a beer writer, I’ve been conditioned to seek out and photograph stuff like this. Upon closer examination, I found that this sculpture was actually a working clock.

The Bottle Clock by Stanley Clockworks uses 300 beer bottles as teeth for the gears that make the clock work. It’s 20 feet long and has three separate dials for hours, minutes and seconds.

It’s not the first unusual mechanical clock for Stanley Clockworks. That’s what the company is known for.

“In recent times, the mechanical clock has almost been entirely replaced with digital clocks, which are very accurate but do not have the visual intrigue and history of the mechanical clocks,” said co-owner Rick Stanley. “I try to introduce the wonder of the mechanical movements. I build the clocks very large with the workings exposed and use everyday items so people can relate to these clocks and observe how they work.”

Fittingly, Rick and his son and Stanley Clockworks co-owner, Vince Stanley, used Yuengling bottles to build it. Yuengling – billed as America’s oldest brewery – started in Pennsylvania.

“Vince and I brainstormed and came up with the idea of using bottles for the gears,” Rick Stanley said. “This naturally led to the idea of using recycled bottles. Another criterion was to use local materials. Yuengling is located in Pennsylvania and is America’s oldest brewery. The framework for the clock is made from oak timbers harvested locally and left natural.”

Photo by Leigh M. CaldwellThe Stanleys say the bottles came from a local recycling center and a local bar. But the clockmakers also admit to contributing a few empties to the piece themselves.

The Beer Bottle Clock is on display at Philadelphia International Airport through August 2011.

Here’s a video of the clock in action:

Leigh M. Caldwell is a family travel writer who runs the Theme Park Mom blog. In the interest of full disclosure, she is the wife of Road Trips for Beer editor Gerard Walen. His influence on her taste, though limited, may have helped turn her into a self-proclaimed hophead.

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