Clickspring Imagines The Workshop That Built The Antikythera Mechanism

What the Antikythera workshop may have looked like

When you look at the mechanisms of antiquity, it’s hard not to wonder, “How did they ever do that?” Just a look around our own shops shows how many things are bought from suppliers that benefit from the latest in automated machinery, computer control, and clean, safe electrical power. And that’s not to mention the high-tech stuff like electronics, which were centuries in the future for the ancient master craftsmen.

And yet, they built. Granted, not every artifact was as complex as the Antikythera mechanism, but still, this ancient astronomical computer exists, and must have come from someone’s workshop. What did that place look like? That’s the question [Chris], aka [Clickspring], sets out to answer in his new video.

Like any good academician would, he relies on evidence locked in the device itself to provide clues as to how it was produced, and to make educated guesses as to the contents of the shop (or shops) that made it. For example, the intricacy of the work would have required ample lighting, so the shop was likely at least partially open-air. There must have been a source of heat for working the brass and bronze materials of the original. There had to be workbenches, storage for stock, and probably places for apprentices to turn their hands to simple tasks under their master’s watchful eye. In short, it probably would have been quite recognizable to our eyes, and probably would have been a model of ergonomic efficiency.

[Chris] kindly gave us a sneak peek at the video and a few hours of exclusivity before it goes live to the general public, and we really appreciate that. We’re really looking forward to more of the Antikythera build, and can’t wait to see the finished product.

7 thoughts on “Clickspring Imagines The Workshop That Built The Antikythera Mechanism

    1. Up to a point, that is a surprisingly simple thing to do actually. I’ve taken up hand tool wood working over the last two years, and the amount of precision you can get with sharp tools and a good light source is quite high.

      a few months back I challenged my self to make a straight edge using the 3 stick method (whitworth process) and it went fairly quick just by holding the edges together and placing a bright light behind them to find the high spots. In 5-6 hrs of evenings, across 1 week I was able to get extremely straight edges on all three sticks. I have yet to verify them on the cmm at work, but they are good enough to be my new shop references.

  1. Clickspring, been enjoying your videos for a good while now. Your equipment certainly isn’t bad but isn’t even super high end either yet the results are pretty darn solid despite that. Need more automated production, or not, right?

    Anyway, does anybody watching these videos not automatically think of Robert Miles’ song Children and how it sounds the exact same when you start one of the Clickspring videos?

    It’s literally the exact same note!

    1. A free floating part like that on a massive surface it could braze to, it wouldn’t end up exactly where you want it being so free to move while the solder is molten, and over such a small slit the solder could bridge the gap too.. Maybe one pin to register it would have been enough, but once you are pinning one might as well pin them all, and know no solder got where it doesn’t belong…

      Plus he is building a replica as close to the historical example as we can get with what we can learn from it, so it probably looked pinned in the x-rays.

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