The Exploding Cuckoo Clock

LightningboxAnother image from the Oxford Museum of the History of Science. This model house enclosed a spark-gap set in a small brass cylinder into which some gunpowder was placed. The spark from a Leyden jar was applied to the brass conductor on top of the chimney creating an explosion, flinging the walls open.Could I demonstrate this? Not being one for ironic understatement I re-envisaged the box as a Cuckoo Clock … I think I may have overdone the gunpowder slightly. In the words of Michael Caine in ‘The Italian Job’, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

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