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Corpus Clock on the Tour de France route

Time is not on your side, it’s rather scary, so I changed the cuddly image of a Walt Disney grasshopper into a rather frightening time eater.

Photo provided by Henry Iddon.

Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng ( is one of Britain’s greatest inventors. He was born in Buxton, Derbyshire, attended school on the Isle of Man and then later graduated in Natural Sciences from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He returned to live on the Isle of Man 40 years ago after running the highly successful Otter Controls business in Buxton.

Throughout much of his life, Dr Taylor has been immersed in the study and collecting of early clocks. He set up Fromanteel Ltd, a horological development company, named after the Fromanteel family of clockmakers of 17th-century London. He has organised many major exhibitions on 17th and 18th century horology, with a special interest in the works of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), inventor of the domestic pendulum clock, and John Harrison (1693-1776), who invented the marine chronometer. Dr Taylor organised the John Harrison exhibition in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey, the Royal Society, and Buckingham Palace.

His interest extends to the design and building of innovative clocks, including the Corpus Christi Chronophage, which was donated to and on permanent display at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and also the design of an intelligent pendulum.

Dr John C Taylor OBE said, “My idea with the Chronophage was to turn the clock inside out, and then make the tiny little escapement and the grasshopper into the biggest gear on the clock. I wanted a bit of impact so I made it one and half metres in diameter, with the grasshopper a metre long on the top and its legs were the pallets of the escapement which John Harrison designed. This means you can actually see the grasshopper escapement working.

“Time is not on your side, it’s rather scary, so I changed the cuddly image of a Walt Disney grasshopper into a rather frightening time eater. I thought it would be fun if in a minute he slowly opened his jaws wider and wider, and on the 59th second of every minute he went crunch, got that minute, chewed it up and swallowed it so you could never get it back.”

For more information about the Corpus Chronophage please contact Chris Barnes on 07834 643977 and email, or Tina Fotherby on 07703 409622 and email

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