The Do Nothing Machine

In 1948, retired clock maker Lawrence Wahlstrom acquired a surplus World War II bomb sight bearing a complicated cluster of gears, restored it to operation, and began adding more gears to it over a period of 15 years. He resolved on adding 50 each year, and succeeded so well that today the total number isn’t known.

Popular Mechanics wrote in 1954, “We all know someone who works harder doing nothing than most of us work doing something, but we can’t possibly know anything that works harder at nothing that a machine built by a California hobbyist. The machine has over 700 working parts that rotate, twist, oscillate and reciprocate — all for no purpose except movement.”

More info here. See Marvin Minsky’s Ultimate Machine.