What is this toy and how does it work?

Relevant pictures

I get that it is some kind of desk display thing where the wheel spins and the whole thing spins around. Something like that.

But how do the batteries figure into this thing? It has

  • 4 AA batteries in the base
  • two magnets(1 on the bottom of the metal thing and one kind of on the top)
  • No on-off switch
  • No connection to the metal & magnet spinning wheel. The arms holding it up are plastic.

How does this thing work? What do the batteries have to do with it? I have batteries in and…it does not appear to do anything.

I think it’s a clock.

Fan-shaped Dolphin Kinetic Desk Toy Electronic Perpetual Swing Motion Art Office Decoration

Yeah, I think it is a ‘Perpetual’ motion thing. Of course that’s not possible.

We did just replace a C battery in a regulator clock with a pendulum. Keeps excellent time with the pendulum moved by electro magnets.

Last replaced the battery in 2005.

I took out the batteries and put them back in to make sure they are in correctly. They must have been off a bit.

Yeah…it works now. It kind of just swings endlessly.

Thanks. I knew what it was, but I think I didn’t realize the batteries were in wrong.

That’s the beauty of it!

It’s a thing about nothing! :smiley:

A most appropriate item for the desk of many managers!

I give up, I can’t find the dolphin.

While not closely related, dolphins and porpoises share a physical resemblance that often leads to misidentification.

You want something that:

  • doesn’t appear to do anything
  • can sit on a manager’s desk
  • provides endless fun

Here it is!

"It went “Zip” when it moved
And “Bop” when it stopped
And “Whirrr” when it stood still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will."

I was positive this was going to be a picture of a secretary from a 1960s movie.

I didn’t know that Orcas are members of the dolphin family until hearing it during this : footage of a New Zealand woman swimming with them.

Explaining that she as in no real danger:

You might or might not get excited hearing this, but it really is kind of beautiful: your contraption is, in essence, a magnetic sculpture mounted over a wire coil connected to a resistance that is negative.

My favorite version of the “Useless Box”.

I really love the multi-switch version.