Total Eclipse: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Festival of Science, Music, and Celestial Wonder. August 19–21, 2017 in Eastern Oregon.


Guilloche Spinning Tops with Memoria Technica

Join certified Antiquarian Horologist Nico Cox at her workshop in South Seattle for a tour and introduction to engine-turning machines and an opportunity to engrave and make your own guilloche spinning top.

Join Nico Cox at her Memoria Technica workshop in South Seattle to create a guilloché spinning top that draws patterns on paper. Guests will use a rose engine or Straightline machine to decorate a medallion that they will then turn into a spinning top. This event includes a tour and explanation of the machines in Cox's workshop, many of which are from the original Bulova watchmaking factory.

Rose engines are hand-operated machines that were developed in the 16th century and used during the Victorian era for the decorative turning of wood, ivory, metal, and ceramics. Engine turning is an engraving technique that creates geometric patterns that are mechanically machined into metal with very precise finish and intricate detail.  The geometry of the patterns is determined by mathematical sequences often associated with sacred geometry and the golden mean.

Engine turning originated in the 1500s and was particularly popular with European aristocracy. As a pastime, it thrived throughout the early 1900s, while also turning a profit. Victorian Era engravers produced a range of personal items, including pocket watches, pens, lighters, cigarette cases, jewelry, jewelry boxes, snuffboxes, hair and money clips, combs, wine goblets, furniture details, molding, mosaic tiles, and molded parts. 

About Nico Cox

Nico Cox has a decade of study in Swiss, American, and British horology programs and is a certified Antiquarian Horologist.  More specifically, she is a clock and watchmaker who specializes in the conservation and restoration of antique automata and mechanical music objects. She owns and operates Memoria Technica, a small workshop in Seattle where she makes mechanical automata, toys, optical illusions, mechanical magic, and teaches heritage crafts.


  • A separate $40 materials fee will be paid directly to Nico Cox on the day of the class and covers the costs of a guilloché spinning top, two colored pencils for the top, and a sharpener. 
  • Address will be sent to registered attendees.
  • Age 16+.
  • Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or bring a lab coat to wear over normal clothes.
  • No loose or baggy clothing permitted.
  • Please wear closed-toe, comfortable shoes. Participants will stand for long periods of time.
  • No loose hair—hair must be securely tied back if long when around machinery.


Email Shin Yu Pai at [email protected].

Stay connected! Subscribe to the Seattle Obscura Society newsletter and like our Facebook page for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.