Anybody notice that the funnel, the beaker, and the bell jar around them are all made out of glass, another extremely viscous substance? Windows in old houses have been known to be noticeably thicker at the bottom than at the top due to the relentless effects of gravity.
Max, if you're interested in long-term machinery, check out the 10,000 year clock here: http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/profiles/engineering-the-10-000year-clock
Can you imagine the excitement after 8 years or so when the first drip dropped?
It actually surprises me that the drips are independent -- I would have guessed that the stuff would simply stretch down like melting cheese...
More details on Lord Kelvin's pitch experiment in Glasgow:
See figure 5.
Looks like Kelvin thought of it first (1887) and his version has been running longer.
There is a much older version of this 'experiment' started by William Thomson/Lord Kelvin in the late 19th century. A block of pitch was placed on the top of a wooden staircase and the pitch slowly flowed down the steps like a glacier. The apparatus was in the Department of Natural Philosophy (now Dept. of Physics)in Glasgow University when I left in 1960. Scott Hamilton.