• 1976 Was a Good Year

The first kinetic wall sculpture, B.W. Cornwallis just started the ball rolling. It was followed by a flood of new ideas as I began exploring the possibilities.

The videos below showing the sculptures are organized in the order of creation (as I remember them) following the creation of B.W.Cornwallis. Keep in mind that I worked on lots of different pieces at the same time, trying, failing, trying again so the exact sequence is a bit hazy. I am sure about the first three, B.W Cornwallis, Inventor Released and Serendipity.


Inventor Released was my first successful wall mounted kinetic sculpture. It is a simple piece producing a simple, repeating motion but it opened the door to a 30+ year career designing and building kinetic sculptures. 


Serendipity was the third wall sculpture in the series. In this piece I used a rolling wheel rather than the rotating wheel I used in my breakthrough piece, Inventor Released. The escapement is the same concept but with a different arrangement of parts. I was trying for a more efficient and longer running sculpture with a more interesting motion.



I experimented with lots of different ways to use a descending weight to rotate a wheel. Crazy Eight was one of the more reliable ideas because the wheel rotation is always powered, first in one direction and then the other. I still use this concept in some of my sculptures many years later although they are a bit more refined. 



Wandering Asterisk was one of the more inefficient designs to both build and run but it is certainly entertaining to watch.  



As you can tell by watching the videos, all of my early kinetic sculptures were quite noisy. Although fascinating to watch, they were rather difficult to live with. Anticipation was my first nearly silent design and it started a career-long obsession with controlling the sound of my sculptures.   



Tri-Star is the seventh kinetic sculpture I designed in the breakthrough year of 1976. It is a return to the quad hook mechanism I designed for Wandering Asterisk but with a better winding mechanism and a more efficient design. 
Double Daisy was the final sculpture of of 1976 but unfortunatly I couldn't find a copy to photograph and make a video. It used a quad hook mechanism that "walked" between 2 rotating wheels. It ran very quickly and had a short run time but produced an interesting pattern. I used the same basic quad hook mechanism in Wandering Asterisk, Tri-Star and Double Daisy. I really wanted to find a way to make it more efficient but never succeeded.

The year closed with a noticable change in Wood That Works. The product line was shifting rapidly away from motion toys and into kinetic sculptures. We began to see the possibility of earning a living making kinetic sculptures.


Continue onto 1977 Rhinebeck Craft Show - Earning a Living