Bed Bath & Beyond sells mechanical kitchen timers shaped like penguins, ladybugs, cats and mice. Better Homes & Gardens sells timers shaped like cupcakes, ducks, ice cream cones, silver apples and other unique shapes. Star Wars-themed mechanical kitchen timers are sold at Amazon.com.
Invented in 1926, mechanical kitchen timers help cooks keep track of cooking, baking and simmering time. Wind-up mechanical kitchen timers utilize clockwork springs to count down from a preset number to zero. Turn the dial to count down a certain number of minutes, and the timer rings a bell or sounds an alarm when that many minutes have passed.