An ‘Astral Projection Time Travel Machine Helmet Psychotronic Technology’, for $129.95. (Photo: Ebay)

The urge to travel through time is irresistible. It is, in fact, timeless: H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine came out in 1895 and that was not the first literary work to raise the possibility of moving backwards in time (think: Orpheus.) But time travel did take on a new spin in the Victorian era, when scientific advancement and urbanization made it seem like anything was possible. 

People have not stopped tinkering with time. And now, thanks to the magic of the internet, you can buy a time machine…on eBay. Here are five current examples of homemade time portals. Cheating time would be the ultimate discovery, so please let us know if any of these actually work.

1. The Gold Box 

A ‘magical time travel device’ for $199. (Photo: Ebay)

What is it? Unclear. The description online says: “This time machine is made of a special material (secret). It has to be custom made and blessed.” Seems to be a box wrapped in gold wrapping paper.

How does it work? Again, the description is vague. Inspired (or made?) by the author of Mastering Time Travel: Voyages Through Time (it retails for $200 on Amazon with the author’s signature), this is a pagan/Wiccan time device. Blessings are involved. Belief is key; the eBay listing says that you shouldn’t even bid if you don’t believe it would work. There is a helpful FAQ about what you can do once you travel in time (check in with past lives, know the results to sporting events). “You can use this machine to view documents in another dimension, it could also function similar like the Palm Pilot on earth (sic),” the listing concludes.

Can you buy it? Yes, on both eBay and Amazon! Retails for $199. 

2. The Astral Projector

An ‘Astral Projection Time Travel Machine Psychotronic Technology’, for $29.95. (Photo: Ebay)

What is it? It seems to be some kind of copper-looking ring. 

How does it work? Technically not time travel as much as astral projection, this eBay seller promises that if you put this device under your pillow at night, you will be able to “project yourself anywhere in the universe at any point in time.” (There is an hour-long YouTube video about astral projection embedded on the listing but it appears to be unrelated to this device.) It is, however, related to the orange helmet pictured above, a whole other way to astral project yourself to another dimension.

Can you buy it? Yes. On the cheaper side; $29.95. (The helmet runs to $199.)

3. The Robot Army

A Patent Application for ‘Practical Time Machine using Dynamic Efficient Virtual and Real Robots’. (Photo: Google Patents US20090234788 A1)

What is it?  This is not so much a completed time machine as a patent application for one filed in 2009. 

How does it work?  Unlike the previous time machines, this device does not lack for documentation. There are 39 pages of diagrams alone. The basic gist seemed to be that we can make robots build us a timeline of everything that has happened on Earth, and then a person can use that complete timeline, down to the nanoseconds, as a guide to go back. You can just a time on the timeline to visit and “atom manipulators” will assist you on your travels. Note that this time machine also requires 9 different inventions to work. 

Can you buy it? Sadly, no. There is no sign that it has been built.

4. Stargate Model


Or you could build your own Stargate. (Photo: Cole Vassiliou/flickr)

What is it? A painted wooden circle that you can walk through.

How does it work? Well, not technically time travel so much as interplanetary travel. But the space/time continuum is disrupted. From the 1994 film by Roland Emmerlich comes the Stargate portal. The basic gist is that this is a metal ring that has a complement on another planet, so you can step through and be somewhere else. 

Can you buy it? No, but you you can probably make it.

5. The Public Transport Time Machine

Or just get creative. (Photo: Robin Corps/flickr)
What is it? Elevator doors in a car park in England.
How does it work? Get in the elevator, go to another time period, mechanics unknown. 
Can you buy it? No. But you can visit. It’s in Wokingham, England.