Big Apple Festival 2004, NYC
"Art of The Trade" Big Apple Snow Globe Notes & Diagrams

The Concept
The task was to create a hand-crank snow globe inside of a 4-foot high Plexiglas apple. Since the apple would be outside in a public area it would have to be durable and weatherproof. Electricity would not be available.

The New York Mercantile Exchange asked if I could modify the design to depict their Trading Floor within the apple rather than a model of New York City, with their Trading Forms as confetti within the snow globe. I agreed.

"You Want to Create a What inside of a What?"
A gear or pulley system would be needed to generate enough wind within the apple. We needed to find a shop able to create the hand-crank fan system. Early discussions with a machinist and a bike shop were discouraging. We were told flatly "It won't work." We were elated when we finally found a local fabricator who thought a hand-crank device was possible. But within our budget and timeframe? No.

Modified Sketch

Original Sketch Gear Sketch1 Gear Sketch2 Steve's Sketch1 Apple Dimensions

Plan "B"
We continued making calculations and tests with electric fans and types of confetti, and researching the Internet. Unable to find something "off the shelf" to adapt, or a shop willing to build a custom device, we began to flesh out a back-up plan. It included a 12V rechargeable battery, DC fans, and a hand-crank or push-button to activate the fan. Not ideal, but time and money were running out fast.

Friends and family rallied around. Terry and Steve Warshaw (of Warshaw Group , wireless devices) sat down in our living room to brainstorm. Steve leaned towards a device that "flicked" confetti up as Terry experimented with fan "hoods" to direct airflow. Less than successful tests with an electric box fan led them to believe that focused air, rather than more air was the key. Together, they arrived at a design nicknamed "Dishwasher Arms". It had a good chance of working, but it still needed to be built. My Dad suggested I research impellers, reflecting on the efficiency of his new mower's grass collector. Impellers were used to push particles, rather than to just simply circulate air. As I researched impellers on the Internet, I found that Terry and Steve had managed to re-invented the "Air Knife". A wonderful device beyond my budget.

Dishwasher Arms Sketch

Apple in Progress Model in Progress Gears Fan

Then Terry called an old friend, Tom Butsch, sculptor extraordinare, living in Kentucky. The timing was right and Tom believed the original hand-crank concept would work. As measurements and notes were sent to Tom I continued to test confetti. Rain leaks and condensation were already problems in other apples. Static electricity was another concern. Ideally, the material should resemble the Trader's forms rather than snow, but I was willing to use anything that would fly. Eventually, Tom was able to tell us why we had problems keeping any type of confetti in flight. Turbulence within the apple was pulling confetti down against the model's screen base. The screen was intended to keep confetti from getting into the fan. But it had to go and the confetti would now mingle with Tom's blower device. Using cut-up foam plates for confetti, EUREKA! It worked! The hand-crank blower Tom created is beyond simple classification, but it falls somewhere between an impeller and Steve's "Flicker" idea. Thanks to Tom, the snow globe works. It gives me the same gitty feeling I get when I see the first snow flurries of a season... chuckle chuckle... it's snowing!

Design Notes and Diagrams
Concept Sketch
Apple Dimensions
Trading Floor Model Specs
Apple Bolt Specs

Apple On Site


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