Rachofsky’s genius will be missed

Morton Rachofsky has left us, taking his incredibly creative mind with him into eternity. He — and it — will be sorely missed.
My son Sol is a clock collector, and he was the one who first told me how the 25-hour clock works. Not Mort, who invented it, and patented it in the form he originated. But at one gathering or another, I mentioned this to him, and he graciously invited me to his studio, to see his most unusual clock. And a lot of other very unusual things, too.
That was a long time ago. And on that day, he gave me one of those clocks to send to my son, who of course still has it. Sol has somehow learned that there are supposed to be 100 of these in existence; he’s trying to find out where all the other 99 are located.
You can learn a lot about Mort’s incredible invention simply by Googling his name and reading all the fascinating facts as they pop up for you. Try it! You’ll find that he himself was fascinated by the life cycles of isolated humans — past, and present: incarcerated people, for example, who do not wake and sleep on the same schedules that we free folks follow, the schedules set for us so long ago that we think they are “normal.”
Of course, the 24-hour day is a construct that began with the sundial. But remember the lyrics of that old “Lucky Lucky” song: “I work eight hours, I sleep eight hours, that leaves eight hours for fun.” Who decided that is how our day works? Mort sliced the 24 hours differently, to come up with 25 slightly shorter ones. The day’s actual length is still the same, but his clock is very different; he likened this to our twice-yearly adjustment for daylight saving time.
That should make us think! Who decided the workday should be eight hours? Who has proven that we all need eight hours of sleep every night? What kind of “fun” can be crammed into the remaining eight hours when we must cook, clean and chauffeur, not only using up all those hours, but finding they’re not enough?
Mort’s clock has the same amount of time as the sundial and as our standard clocks; it’s just that his is divided differently. It’s based on real human beings who, in their lives, do exactly that. It will never catch on as timing for everyone, but it wasn’t ever meant to; it was the end result of something that appealed to a very creative mind. Restructuring time in the form of a new clock was one of Mort’s most creative efforts. He was recognized for it by many publications, including People and Business Week Magazine and The New York Times. On TV, he explained this and his other sculptures, most of which are designed in pieces meant to be taken apart and rearranged — to suit himself at the moment, or by others who would enjoy playing with them.
Mort was a genius, a true “Renaissance Man.” A product of that long-gone but never-to-be-forgotten Jewish enclave of South Dallas, he was a proud alum of Texas A&M who later earned an MBA in finance, somehow managing to carry on a long, long real estate career that ran parallel to his art. We‘ll never know how he divided up his own day’s time, but surely it had more hours than the usual, and he knew how to make the most of them.
If you’d like to see one of Mort’s 25-hour clocks, visit the Museum of Geometric and MADI (“Movement-Abstraction-Dimension-Invention”) Art in Dallas. You’ll also find a varied selection of his many other works in local offices, institutions and private homes. But allow plenty of time for your search — at least 25 hours in every day. And if you locate any more clocks, please let me know, so I can tell my son!

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