The omni is the tool all Voyagers use to travel through time. The omni or omnichron (as some call it) comes in other state of the art models, but Phineas is content with his standard brass one. However, he often curses the omni for getting, "stuck in the automatic mode" with the red and green lights flashing back and forth and constant buzzing. When that happens the Voyagers are unable to leave the time zone until it is field stripped.
In the episode World's Apart, inventor Thomas Edison (As played by Steven Keats) was so enthralled with the omni device he took it apart right down to the last dirty gear, nut, and bolt and cleaned it up. Poor Jeffrey had a fit and thought he ruined history and his chance to see Bogg again forever. Edison fortunately had the genius to put it all back in perfect working order. The omni had the filthiest movement he had ever seen. When Jeffrey admitted to it being a time machine, Edison laughed heartily, "Now that would be an invention!
According to various magazine articles and reviews, the omni was originally called by its full name: “The Omni-Chronometer.” That name was never used in the final cut of the series nor did the mysterious Tribunal members from Voyager Headquarters and Academy use the name in the episode, 'The Trial of Phineas of Bogg.'
The omni is the most elegant time travel prop ever created for television or movies. It is fairly reminiscent of the giant time machine designed in the original movie version of 'The Time Machine' based on H.G Wells' famous novel.
The Time Machine movie model was also a marvelous design. Notice the red and green lights and the backing is like a brass fan that resembles the omni's lid.
The Omni is truly a one-of-a-kind time traveling device. As a television prop it was exquisitely crafted down to the tiny details. While its red/light, green/light function is simple-like stop and go, I would venture to say the hardest part may be learning to adjust those tiny dials. This omni clearly follows the standard Roman Calendar and is obviously designed for English/American Voyagers. You can imagine that English may be the mandatory language at VHQ, but they most likely design omnis in different languages.
I tend to wonder about languages such as Russian, Arabic or Chinese, where characters are used. However, the theory is that a Voyager doesn't necessarily have to learn different languages. When prompted, the omni can allow those speaking the 'foreign' language to hear the Voyager talking in his own tongue and vice versa. It's a very cool concept that I have grown to accept.
How might this concept work? State of the art brain-wave transference allowing the omni user to 'hear' their own spoken language and the speaker to 'hear' theirs. Works every time.
The Omni lid on its own is beautiful, with the crafted 'V' symbol in the center and one of the Voyager's credos, 'Time waits for no man,' engraved across the bottom. The origins of this quote is uncertain, the original line may have come from a short Medieval morality play called 'Everyman.' And it is the character 'Death' that utters these words. Fitting, he would! The line reads-"For wete you well the tyde abydeth no man" Later translations eventually changed it to-'Time and the tides wait for no man.'
While Thomas Edison gave the omni a complete and thorough overhaul, field stripping is a little different, but I'm sure Edison unwittingly field stripped it. Remember he said it had the dirtiest movement he had ever seen. When Bogg got it back, it worked like brand new. We can imagine that Bogg was furious over losing his Guidebook because it most likely gave directions on how to Field strip the darn thing for himself.
The mechanical parts of the omni work just like a watch; in fact, any competent watchmaker can successfully service the mechanical parts. Field stripping doesn't involve quite so complete a dismantling; it's more cleaning and lubricating certain parts, and performing some adjustments when necessary. Kind of like an engine tune-up as opposed to a complete overhaul *Thanks to Jake for that explanation.
* Only 3 omni's were made and James Parriott still has one of the Original omni Props in his possession.
* According to someone who spoke to Meeno Peluce, the original omni cost about $3,500.
* The omni was 100% custom designed, no found parts were used.
* The omni lid was first custom made, then the details of the "V" in the center were carefully hammered onto it, as well as the Lettering for "Time waits for no Man."
* All of the omni sounds were added later after filming the episodes, the prop only had a solid Green light and a blinking Red Light, no sound.
A cool and little-known fact about the omni are the red markings. If you look at the omni from "The Trial of Phineas Bogg," you can see that the lights are dead and the globe is blacked out-because VHQ is presumably beyond our world, perhaps even in another dimension or realm. It could very well be the 5th, Twilight Zone fans!
The Voyager must line the red markings up properly until they are directly under the magnifier in the shape of the 'V'. When the activator button is pressed, they are then sent to VHQ.
VHQ can manipulate and control the omni without the Voyager ever touching the dials, as is the case during Bogg's Trial.
We can break the omni dials into four sections-starting with the one furthest from the globe. The ball bearings are used for grip and to manipulate the dials correctly and speedily.
1.The first dial represents the date of the week.
2. The second dial is the latter half of the year-like the '13' in 2013.
3. The third dial is the first half of the year-like the '20' in 2013
4. The fourth dial is the month of the year.
The globe is in a world of its own-pardon the pun. Voyagers had better brush up on their geography, because this model only pinpoints the landmass. Perhaps future models will act like modern day GPS devices, and give you the name of the country and region you are in. Maybe it faintly glows over the country and spells it out for you.
Guidebook Replica omni facts
*Facts researched by Jake Crepeau
On Field Stripping the Omni, it says that for an experienced professional, it takes a minimum of three hours on a model 316-50; for a novice on a 313 (the one Bogg has), it can take up to eight hours. It's no wonder Phineas complained to Jeffrey in the pilot episode, "Do you know how long it takes to field strip one of these things?"
All Omnis of model 313 go from 1450 BC to 1970. That's pretty interesting, considering Bogg's first voyage with Jeffrey starts during the time of Moses' infancy, 1450 BC. It is most likely that the omni automatically reset itself after going so far out of it's time parameters when Bogg picked up Jeffrey. So, when Phineas and Jeffrey landed, the dials reverted back to the first date on the omni and it was stuck in automatic mode.
The gold omni that Isaac Wolfstein claimed to have was a model 310, which had a variable range that went up to 1925 AD.There was also a model 305, which was pewter and went from 1450 BC to 0 AD. The earliest Omni, the 314, was platinum and went from 0 AD to 1500 AD. The 316-50's "Open time calibration" apparently means that it has no territorial parameters, but can go anywhere in time.
The Omni memory reader is an odd, rickety device used to extract the data from each Voyager's individual omni. It is particularly useful in the courtrooms and makes its first and last appearance in 'The trial of Phineas Bogg.' The Omni reader is one of those whimsical machines made of clock cogs, sprockets and springs...like something you would see in a kooky inventor's shop in the turn of the century. It takes nearly half a minute to even warm up and it somehow releases the data in a showy display of mist using the imaging mirror.
Voyagers better keep on their toes because it reads the omni recorder data and documents almost every move the Voyager makes, at least according to what we see in the mirror. This harmless looking device can make or break you, and like a movie, parts can be edited. Voyager Drake learned how to do this to the recorder and had many innocent Voyagers needlessly banished. The Omni memory reader is also brimming with electric energy and can stun a man unconscious, or if put to a higher voltage, kill them.
Don't mess with the power of the Omni Memory Reader! You think someone could have warned Phineas ahead of time that he couldn't just grab his omni off the holder? Perhaps in his desperation, he forgot the shocking consequences.
With all that blue energy surrounding Bogg, he looks like he's ready to take a Quantum Leap...very curious, when you consider the comparisons made between the two series!
Voyager Drake's silver omni Model 316-50. It boasts open-time calibration and is state of the art by Headquarters standards. An open-time calibration means that his omni can be set for any time zone w/o restrictions. We never see the innards of Drake's omni, but you can assume it resembles Bogg's brass one. Since Bogg and Jeffrey were assigned to track this Voyager down, it would have been wise on the part of the Council to grant Bogg the same omni, however, the Voyagers don't even stay long enough to get a replacement Guidebook. VHQ has the power to reprogram their brass omni right from their own computers. Kinda like when you call the cable company and they just adjust the error 'through the phone.'
Omni Replica Photos by Dennis Daugherty
Create your own amazing Papercraft omni
Thanks to talented Arts and crafts hobbyist, Scanner JOE, fans can now create their very own omnis. And it looks exactly like the real thing! Click the link below for the zip file to get started and have fun!