The Accidental Recycler

You know when your computer hard drive melts down and steam comes out your ears and you want to smash the whole thing up with a hammer? When it happened to Allan Young of Charlottesville, Virginia, he was mad, but then he did something different.

Emerson Record Player Clock

“One day at work I had a hard drive crash and lost a lot of work. Very devastating,”
said Allan.

“I have been taking things apart since the day I could walk, and occasionally putting them back together. When I took apart the hard drive and saw what I did, I immediately thought of a clock. I don’t know why, that’s just the way my brain works.”

It wasn’t as easy as you’d think. “After quite a few attempts and hard drives I made my first clock,” said Allan. “Everybody at work wanted one so I made a whole bunch.”

Hard Drive ClockHard Drive Clock 2

His wife coaxed him into joining the local Artists’ co-op and sales were excellent that Christmas. He started an Etsy shop and making clocks from other found mechanical objects like vintage record players and bicycle parts.

“I do a lot of dumpster diving and going to the local dumps looking for stuff,” said Allan.

Bicycle Wheel Clock

Bike Chain and Computer Parts Pendulum Clock

Allan also enjoys landscape photography but couldn’t make a profit at it. Yet his recycled goods shop, Stuff Made from Stuff, has been so successful that Allan is moving to doing this full-time.

“This is all a complete accident and mystery to me,” said Allan.

Magnetic Tape Reel ClockRCA Victor Record Player Clock

Allan tracks where his clocks end up. “I have a map in my office with all the locations around the world that they are hanging,” said Allan.

Who knows? Your old hard drive could be keeping time in Paris.


It’s fun to look at old things in a new light. What could you creatively resuse for your home’s decor?

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