Posts Tagged ‘Tim Hunkin’

More Tim Hunkin Delights

August 31, 2011

The disgusting spectacle - Tim Hunkin's nose-picking machine

My old friend Marijke popped by the other day and reminded me of my student days in Brighton. I seem to remember that I was miserable most of the time and spent a lot of time thinking about physics. A coincidence? Perhaps. Anyway, with Brighton Pier in mind, she sent me a link to Tim Hunkin’s ‘Under the Pier’ Show of delightfully pointless machines. I was especially taken by his very early coin-operated machines which are especially crude, but somehow all the more magical for their simplicty. The video below shows several of the machines in action. Enjoy.

It seems amazing to me that such simple mechanisms can appear so shockingly magical. Perhaps that is a measure of my own ham-fistedness. But this basic awareness of how machines function – the basic engineering principles of reciprocating machines – seems to be something which is not taught anywhere. Perhaps it should be. I can imagine that the young Tim Hunkin learned a fanstastic amount in constructing them. I am in awe.

The Rudiments of Wisdom

May 30, 2011
Rudiments of Wisdom Book Cover

The Cover of Tim Hunkin's Book, the Rudiments of Wisdom

What is Wisdom? Well I don’t know, but I suspect that it begins with learning, and for many many years I have been an admirer of Tim Hunkin’s ability to take a complex topic and present it straightforwardly to anyone who could read a few paragraphs and enjoy a silly cartoon. Tim Hunkin doesn’t offer wisdom, but he does suggest that the rudiments of any subject, however apparently abstract, can me made accessible. In a way he was the forerunner of many ‘<Complex Topic> made simple’ guides with his simple text and delightful pictures

I was reminded of him the other day when I came across some videos he made for Channel 4 in the 1980’s on the Secret Lives of Machines. The videos delighted me because they took their time – they spent 30 minutes explaining how a vacuum cleaner >actually< works – something unthinkable for a modern day video editor. Nowadays these programs would be just 7 minute slots in a magazine programme.

Anyway, for the record:


%d bloggers like this: