Academic journal article Social Education

Turning Back the Hands: A Quiet Change to the Standard Time Stopping the Pendulums in the City Cocks and in the Railroad Stations

Academic journal article Social Education

Turning Back the Hands: A Quiet Change to the Standard Time Stopping the Pendulums in the City Cocks and in the Railroad Stations

Article excerpt

At just 9 o'clock, local time, yesterday morning Mr. James Hamblet, General Superintendent of the Time Telegraph Company, and manager of the time service of Western Union Telegraph Company, stopped the pendulum of his standard clock in Room No. 48 in the Western Union Telegraph Building. The long glistening rod and its heavy cylindrical pendulum ball was at rest for 3 minutes and 58.38 seconds. The delicate machinery of the clock rested for the first time in many months. The clicking of the electric instrument on a shelf at the side of the clock ceased and with it ceased the corresponding ticks on similar instruments in many jewelry and watch stores throughout the City.

When, as nearly as it could be ascertained, the time stated above had elapsed, the heavy pendulum was again set in motion and swung backward and forward in its never varying trips of one second each from one end of its swing to the other. With the starting of the pendulum the clicking of the little instruments all over the City at intervals of two seconds between each click was resumed. Mr Hamblet had changed the time of New York City and State.

The adjustment of Mr Hamblet's standard clock was sufficiently accurate for the ordinary uses of mankind, but not for scientific purposes. His clock is adjusted to hundredths parts of a second, a space of time so infinitesimal as to be almost beyond human perception. That absolute accuracy might be assured, comparisons were then made by telegraph with the observations at Washington, Allegheny, Penn., and Cambridge, Mass., and absolute accuracy was thus obtained. …

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