Upon starting, an erasing magnet is mechanically propelled
towards the rear of the disc. The Azimuth Engine gear then
rotates it through a full 360 degrees clearing the disc of any
writing. The magnetic stylus moves over the disc and it’s
two engines lower and raise it whilst moving the stylus
over the disc’s surface. Using an intriguing combination of
disc rotations and stylus movements, the information is
written in a script font reminiscent of Victorian
handwriting. Whilst each engine is working, a series of
gears are illuminated through the respective viewing ports,
showing which of the four engines is currently
contributing to the writing process.
The Gregorian Scribulator is constructed on a beautiful
polished wooden plaque. The mechanisms are visible and
it’s fascinating to watch the writing being formed by such
a strange combination of movements. The engineering
components have been specifically designed and
manufactured for this machine. The turned brass
components and the use of ten high quality ball bearings
ensure a long reliable working life.
If the date or time need to be adjusted, the Adjustment
Valve can be employed. Turning this clockwise will cause
the stylus to point to the required adjustment engraving, a,
b, c, d, e or f, which correspond to the adjustment you wish
to make. The disc also rotates until the relevant value,
engraved on the outside of the disc, lines up with the
arrow. Further turning the valve will change the value. The
engraved characters around the disc are another beautiful
feature of the machine reminiscent of how steam powered
machines had to be adjusted - not a digital input in sight!
In addition, re-writing the current information can be
achieved by turning the valve anti-clockwise!
• The Gregorian Scribulator is 37cm high by 40cm wide by 17cm deep.
• Despite being designed to look like it is powered by compressed air or steam, it is actually
powered by a small plug in mains adaptor.
• The writing is created using a magnetic stylus, there's no cheating with digital displays!
• After the Scribulator sees no movement for an hour, the lamp fades down and it ceases to
operate, only waking up when it again sees movement for the first time the next day.
• Each one is individually numbered and the engravings can be personalised if required.
The Gregorian Scribulator came about as I never knew the
date, or for that matter the month or day! I wondered how to
create a steampunk machine, reminiscent of Victorian
engineering, that could erase, write and display the
information without the need for a digital display. My
children had played with magnetic scribblers and I
wondered whether this technology could be employed! Sure
enough, after some experimentation, I found a cut down
'scribbler' could be used. I built one, with the vague idea
that you could write anything if the stylus could be moved
over the entirety of the disc. It was then time to programme
it. After much Googling of trigonometry, the software slowly came together. Very rewarding
when it stopped producing spaghetti drawings and began to write the text!
When it first sees movement each morning, the Gregorian Scribulator erases the
previous day’s information before magically writing the new day, date and month
with its magnetic stylus. The machine uses a small computer to calculate the daily
information, ensuring it will always be correct and will not require monthly or even
annual adjustments. It even has a small internal battery allowing it to continually
calculate the information even when unplugged from the mains supply.