Coffee Drinking Man is taking a brief rest. Many friends of our café have noted that his arm, which normally moves up and down as he “sips” from his coffee cup, is bound in a sling. Yes, our very own 14.5-foot tall Coffee Drinking Man needs a break. Constructed by City Lights Sign Company, Coffee Drinking Man has been experiencing slight muscle fatigue from tirelessly sipping his cup of coffee for over 365 consecutive days. His arm, gripping his orange cup, lifts and lowers every 45 seconds, which translates to around 788,400 cycles per year.
The “muscle fatigue,” as diagnosed by the experts at City Lights Sign Co., lies simply in a simple bounce. Drinking Man has an internal motor that powers his 50-lb kinetic arm to rise and fall. As the motor fights gravity to raise his arm, it also struggles to apply a break to lower his arm as well. In the transition between the rise and the fall, his arm bounces which places a strain on the rod that connects his arm to his body.
In short, gravity works.
Back at the drawing board, City Lights Sign Co. is working on a stronger motor and a less stressful mechanism to power his arm. The goal, says City Lights, is to find the right gear combination to fight the bounce by keeping equal pressure on the rod that holds his arm in place.
Installed one year ago in July ’09, Coffee Drinking Man has become an iconic host for a city known for its coffee culture. Like Seattle Art Museum’s Hammering Man, who pays homage to the working class, Coffee Drinking Man honors the gathering of people over coffee and the burgeoning influence of coffee in culture and society.
We’re optimistic Drinking Man will make a full recovery. Last November SAM’s Hammering Man underwent a similar procedure and, after a successful surgery, is persistently hammering his 15 hours a day again. We’re confident Coffee Drinking Man will emerge from his procedure healthy and ready to sip from his cup by the end of the summer. Just in time for a good cup of coffee in Seattle’s cool autumn weather.