The Tandem Time Machine
Miniature Built by Don Coleman

Miniature Time Machine


 In 1992, shortly after the filming of "The Time Machine: the Journey Back" I was hired by Clyde Lucas to construct a miniature Time Machine. Clyde had hopes of producing a sequel to the George Pal 1960 film and wanted the model to help promote his production. Due to the storyline there was one additional difference...the machine now had to seat two people.

     I was faced with a dilemma, I had to redesign an Icon of science fiction film history. I brought out photos of the machine and stared at them for what seemed hours. Where do I put a second person and not destroy the original concept of the machine, and not make it look silly. My kitchen table gave me the seed of an idea. It is a 50's chrome and laminate table with an additional leaf so two more people could be accomadated. I found the photo copies I had of the original MGM plans and began cutting and pasteing.

The base could be lengthened by means of a set of table extensions, and a 'drop leaf' with rail sections attatched could be place behind the chair, for at that part of the base the edges are parallel to each other and would create a smooth addition. The side rails would be telescopic as the rails are also parallel at this point. Ok, now the machine is longer, but where does the second seat come from?

The only place I could image was from under the original chair itself. I invisioned a pull out seat which would slide out from under the chair. All well and good, but the passenger would be sitting at a much lower level than the machine's operator. What could be used to raise the height of the secondary seat? What came to mind was...a piano stool!

At this point I pasted the concept together in 5 steps. The overall concept was that the Time Machine was always capable of seating two people. George had preconceived the notion that he may some day have the need to carry a passenger. Ok so he thought of this possibility but didn't take with him a camera, pistol, food, water, or a change of underware. So, like when he got the machine finished he was so excited that he forgot to take all that stuff, OK! And like, when he wanted to take Weena with him he was a bit busy fighting Morlocks to take the time to extend the machine. So, here's the concept, to enlarge the machine one would:

  1. Reach under from the front of the base and release the locking mechanism and the pull the front of the machine forward.
  2. Remove the 'drop leaf' which is fastened under the base and place it in the gap behind the chair.
  3. Push the machine together and secure the extension in place. At this time the side rails would have been extended as they are telescopic.
  4. The next step is to pull the tandem seat toward the rear of the machine from under the chair.
  5. Finally the piano stool would be spun to raise it to appropriate height.


I then faxed a set of the design concepts to Clyde which he approved and I began to construct a working miniature. The miniature was capable of doing everything that the full size machine would have to be capable of. The model could begin by looking like the machine did in the George Pal film and then transform into the two seat tandem version. It was also motorised and the rear pods lit and the console had flashing LEDs as well.
I finished the model by building a tantalus to present it in.
Here is a photo of my wife, Mary showing the model in the tantalus.
Layout of the main components.
The engine housing and rear rails test fit on the base.
My wife, Mary cutting the velvet for the tantalus.
Some of the components nearing completion.


The model representing the original design. The model transformed into the tandem configuration.

Contact us at: The Time Machine Project

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The Time Machine Project 1998 Don Coleman
Web Site 1999 Don Coleman
Web site created by Don Coleman
3727 W. Magnolia Blvd. #240
Burbank, CA 91505