Undoing of Standard Time.

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Undoing of Standard Time.
Posted by gbrewer on Saturday, March 08, 2014 3:28 PM

The long battle for Standard Time undone? Don't forget to reset you clocks, watches, cameras, etc tonight if you live where standard time gives way to fast time at 2 am tomorrow morning. See my story, "Railroad Time, Standard time, accurate time, reliable time and American clocks and watches" at http://RailroadGloryDays.com/RailroadTime

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 08, 2014 7:17 PM

Hey -- is that Howard a series 10 Railroad Chronometer?  Let's see a movement picture...

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Posted by gbrewer on Saturday, March 08, 2014 7:19 PM

No, it is a series 11, 21 jewel, Railroad Chronometer. I'll see if I can get a photo tomorrow.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, March 08, 2014 9:54 PM

I absolutely refuse to get up at 0200 to reset my clocks and my watch. My living room clock resets itself; my alarm clock is already reset; my clock that runs on 120 volts takes too long to reset until the power has gone off, and I simply remember what time zone I am in (as I do when I travel and do not reset my watch as I go east or west). If I were standing the first watch in the navy, I might consider resetting timepieces at that hour.Smile.

Johnny

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 09, 2014 12:04 AM

Here's a series 11 movement to hold us over until you can get a picture...

and by contrast, here is the immediately prior series10 Railroad Chronometer movement (with conventional high-grade bridge movement):

Now, one of the first things I usually hear about this is how 'cheap' the Series 11 looks in comparison with the older version.  Let me put this in perspective.  No one ever gets to see the movement of a working railroad watch -- it's not legal to open the case, or have a glass back, or in fact do anything to show off the exquisite damaskeening, fancy gold caps and ruby jewels, etc. that characteriize so many of the high-end railroad movements.

Meanwhile, the folks at the friendly railroad time service have to maintain these things to keep time to 30 seconds a week or better, and fix them whenever (and it's when, not if) they get bashed.  The Series 11 shares with the 'new model' 12s Howard movement a number of features that make servicing and repair much easier.  See the funny-looking ratchet detent?  That makes it easy to let down the mainspring without letting things slip, or scarring the plates if your hand slips.  See how thin the upper plates are, and how their alignment is determined by more metal in the pillar-plate assembly?  Easier to make, less expensive to fabricate, means more money can be put into the things that make for high accuracy in a watch.  And the dialside and hands, please note, are at least as attractive as any series 5, or 10, or O-series dress watch...

Just to digress a bit, I finally found a good example of one of the very latest versions of working railroad pocket watch, the high-end Swiss Ball 435:

You will notice that the general level of finish is not up to the 'glory' of the 999 and 999B versions of the Ball Official Standard... but there is something very important here that is not on the older American movements.  Look carefully at the cap jewels on the escapement.  See the Incabloc-style springs?  Those allow a little deflection if the watch is hit or dropped.  It's common to find wristwatches that have this shock protection on the balance-wheel jewels.  It is extremely rare to see the same attention paid to the lever and escape-wheel jewels!  This is a movement lovingly designed by people who understood what a working railroad watch needed to be...

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Sunday, March 09, 2014 6:32 AM

As a wise old Indian once said:

"Only a white man thinks that cutting a foot off the bottom of a blanket and sewing it back onto the top results in a longer blanket"

How sad it is that we are incapable of changing our work habits by an hour without pretending that time, itself, has actually changed.

Dave

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, March 09, 2014 11:36 AM

Anothern wise old Indian said:

"Only a white man needs a watch to tell him when he's hungry!"

Overmod, those are some georgeous old watches!  I've got a few myself, but only two actual railroad grade. The gold fill on the back of one of them's worn down to the base metal.  Makes you wonder how many trips it's made in and out of a railroad mans pocket.

By the way, when were those watches made?

 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, March 09, 2014 11:55 AM

Phoebe Vet

As a wise old Indian once said:

"Only a white man thinks that cutting a foot off the bottom of a blanket and sewing it back onto the top results in a longer blanket"

On the other hand, many white men found the presence of sufficient natural light to accomplish necessary morning chores to be worth shifting their clock time... at high latitudes where diurnal variation with the seasons justifies it.  There is, additionally, something peculiarly 'American' in the idea that it makes sense to change 'accurate' time both operationally -- to simplify connections and timetables for an increasingly 'national'-scope railroad system, as well as make 'reality' conform better to human circadian-rhythm preferences...

Saying that 'time itself has changed' when daylight-saving time comes on or off reminds me a bit of the Seventh-Day Adventists pointing out that the sequence of days of the week didn't change when the calendars were adjusted.  Nothing in UTC changes; nothing in GMT changes; the expression 'time change' is more a vernacular than "technical" phrase.

Now, I'd like to shift this discussion slightly -- over to sly old Webb C. Ball and his timely cleverness in grandstanding the "official railroad watch" changes.  Remember that Ball was not a major watchmaking force -- he was a jeweler in Cleveland.  Look up 'smokestack jewels' to get an idea of his style... prior to 1891.  Interesting that the 19+-jewel requirement comes in as part of the 'new' regulations.  Even more interesting to see the various ways that increased jewels -- 'smokestack' or otherwise (I am thinking of the Howard ruby banking pins, and getting to '19 jewels' just with a motor barrel on the model 5, in particular!) -- came into the design and practice of railroad-watch design.

Something I am not clear on is when the effective change to "21 jewels or more" came about.  Is that a circumstantial consequence of the adoption of 'official permissible lists' by the railroads, or was there a formal change to the 19-jewel minimum?

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Sunday, March 09, 2014 12:20 PM

"On the other hand, many white men found the presence of sufficient natural light to accomplish necessary morning chores to be worth shifting their clock time"

 

Moving the hands of the clock does not, in any way, effect how much natural light is available to do morning chores.  It is a silly tradition that causes many people who forget to change their clocks to mess up their daily schedule.  There are always a few who are late for work because of it.  It causes 24 hour job employees who are working during the change to demand overtime for the extra hour worked or to complain when employers only want to pay them for 7 hours.   DST is not observed everywhere in the US, causing further confusion.

On the other hand, if they eliminated it I wouldn't know when to change the batteries in my smoke detectors.

Dave

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Posted by gbrewer on Sunday, March 09, 2014 3:35 PM

Overmod, your picture turned out better than mine. It isn't easy to shoot a movement in a swing ring case. I gave it a try, but I'm sure I can do better when I have more time to set up the shot and use a tripod.

Keystone Howard 21 Jewel Series 11 Railroad Chronometer.

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Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, March 09, 2014 11:30 PM

Some times, the "extra hour of daylight" is a false assumption. In 1966, I began scoring my town's baseball and softball program for the young people (four games an evening when the PeeWee league played). I do not remember just what time the first game was played, but the temperature had cooled some by then (this was in West Central Alabama). The next year, the people in charge quickly realized that the first game had to be delayed an hour because at the start time by the clock the weather was too hot. So, there was no daylight gained for the ball games. 

Those are nice pictures of something that is seldom seen.

You may have noticed the inscriptions concerning adjustment in various positions--they had to keep correct time, no matter what position they were carried in, or what temperatures they were exposed to. I do not think that anything but marine chronometers had to be more accurate than these watches.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, March 10, 2014 11:14 AM

Deggesty
I do not think that anything but marine chronometers had to be more accurate than these watches.

Deggesty
You may have noticed the inscriptions concerning adjustment in various positions--they had to keep correct time, no matter what position they were carried in, or what temperatures they were exposed to.

Keep in mind that at least some of this is "marketing" -- electric railroads and the like were often happy with only three positions, and there is very little 'advantage' in some of the positions for railroad service...

  Here is an article that covers the details for those who want to know more...

I do not think that anything but marine chronometers had to be more accurate than these watches.

As an nteresting point, a railroad watch may be MORE 'accurate' than a marine chronometer -- albeit not as precise.  This is not nit-picking.

Interestingly enough, as you know from using a marine chronometer, it isn't inherently 'accurate' -- you can't and don't rely on looking at the hands to find out what time it is.  You look at the hands, calculate the appropriate deviation factor, and apply it to find out what time it is -- a procedure that would rightly have any railroad operating authority in horror if they'd stop laughing at anyone who suggested it!  The important thing for any marine chronometer is that it run at a consistent rate, not that it run at the exact rate corresponding to 'clock time'.  (I have mentioned that this is actually LESS exact than a stopped railroad watch, which at least will show the precise time of day twice daily... ;-}

The really good late railroad watches can be accurate to within seconds a YEAR,  (This in some cases requires special care of the watch when it isn't in normal position on your wrist... but I have at least two that are no more than half a second out after 3 or 4 months.  (I won't go into the tech needed to make them that accurate, I promise!  ;-})

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, March 10, 2014 11:58 AM

I see your point about the accuracy of a marine chronometer. As I understand the matter, its primary purpose was to aid in determining the longitude of a location--take a sight of the sun at its zenith, and see how much the local sun time differs from Greenwich time. Until a reliable chronometer was developed, longitude could not be determined accurately until quite some time after tables showing the north/south location of the sun and moon had been developed to be used in determining latitude.

As I understand the matter, when the noon sighting had been taken, the time on board the ship would be set to noon.

This is entirely an aside, but an uncle of mine was a missionary in Japan when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He and his wife, along with other enemy aliens, were interned until some time in 1942 when arrangements were made for them and Japanese internees to be exchanged. Those in Japan boarded a Japanese ship which met a Swedish (neutral) ship somewhere (probably in Japanese-controlled waters). I do not know where the two ships met, but all on board the Japanese ship observed Tokyo time, no matter how far the ship was from Japan. The term had not been invented at the time, but think of the jet lag both groups of internees suffered when they changed ships!

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, March 10, 2014 12:46 PM

Deggesty
As I understand the matter, when the noon sighting had been taken, the time on board the ship would be set to noon.

I honestly do not know how often this is done.  All my experience is that the deviation is continued indefinitely, and the 'hands' are not reset or tinkered with while at sea.  (But that isn't exactly very great experience, if you take my meaning!}

all on board the Japanese ship observed Tokyo time, no matter how far the ship was from Japan.

I am sure this is because the Japanese had their own 'proprietary' version of GMT, perhaps with the prime meridian assigned to Tokyo, or wherever, instead of Birmingham, for the actual calculations.  (Ths would be a 'national pride' sort of thing, especially appropriate for the Japanese wartime 'cabal' in government.)  Their maps, etc. would need to be slightly redrawn if this was so, but only with respect to the 'lines' of longitude. 

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Posted by timz on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:55 PM

Deggesty
As I understand the matter, when the noon sighting had been taken, the time on board the ship would be set to noon.

Depends on what you mean by "the time". The ship has clocks for everyone to look at; they're reset to stay halfway near local time. The chronometer that gives time for celestial navigation stays on Greenwich time.

No idea when they reset clocks, but they wouldn't use a noon sight to reset them. No way to use a sextant near noon to determine time accurately.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:10 AM

BTW Railroad Standard Time created time zones, so every station within one time zone set their clocks to the same time, rather then setting them by the sun (causing different times as you travelled east or west). It had nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time.

According the story they taught us in school, Daylight Savings Time was first proposed by Ben Franklin, who thought it odd that during certain times of year Philadelphia shops would sit closed in the mornings until several hours after the sunrise, but would close in late afternoon or evening in the dark. By adjusting the clocks by an hour, the shops could both open and close during daylight hours - a good thing in the years before electric lighting.

Stix
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, March 13, 2014 9:28 AM

wjstix

According the story they taught us in school, Daylight Savings Time was first proposed by Ben Franklin, who thought it odd that during certain times of year Philadelphia shops would sit closed in the mornings until several hours after the sunrise, but would close in late afternoon or evening in the dark. By adjusting the clocks by an hour, the shops could both open and close during daylight hours - a good thing in the years before electric lighting.

What a shame that people were incapable of adjusting their hours of operation unless someone changed the time indicated on the village clock.  After the clock is adjusted the merchants are now opening an hour earlier just as they would be if they just said "In the summer we open an hour earlier".

Just as the railroads needed a standard time so opposing trains could be co-ordinated, so in our now very international society, we should run the entire world on standard time.  GPS & flight planning, among others, already do.

Dave

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:15 AM

Daylight Saving Time statistics for 2014

Daylight Saving Time observance?CountExample
Countries and territories which do not observe DST at all 159 China
Countries and territories where at least one location observe DST 79 United States
–Countries and territories where all locations observe DST some part of the year 68 Germany
–Countries and territories where many, but not all locations observe DST part of the year 10 United States
–Countries and territories where at least one location observe DST all year 2 Macquarie Island
–Countries and territories where all locations observe DST all year 1 Falkland Islands

Dave

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:34 AM

 

Ah, yes, there could well be great confusion and many missed trains  (as though no one misses a train now) before the inauguration of standard time zones. Seldom were the time standards mentioned in the railroads' representations in the guides of the era. Looking in the Travelers Official Railway Guide of the United States and Canada for June, 1869, I find a rare note in the representation of the Wilmington and Manchester Railway (Wilmington, N.C., to Kingsville, S.C., and Kingsville to Camden)--"Camden Branch Trains...run by Camden time, which is 15 minutes slower than Wilmington and Manchester Railway time."

I do not know how many of you remember the hodge-podge of starting and ending times for the so-called "Daylight Saving Time" before Congress, in its infinite wisdom, decreed that everybody is to observe the same dates, unless a state legislature exempted its state; Congress did make an exception for the area of Indiana close to Chicago. The details of this hodge-podge were published in the Guide.

Most of the South did not make the change, but the people in Virginia living near (and especially those working there) in Bedlam-on-the-Potomac had to make the change.

I like Phoebe Vet's comment about the people who were incapable of adjusting their time.

Incidentally, during the Second World War, the people in England had to endure Double War Time. At least, we in the South were forced to observe only single War Time.

Are many of you familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson's poem which sets forth the lament of the boy in Scotland who,  "In winter, I get up and dress by candlelight"--and "In summer, quite the other way, I have to go to bed by day"?

Johnny

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:38 AM

I should have prefaced "Most of the South...." with "Until Congress enacted its decree,"

Johnny

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, March 14, 2014 9:16 AM

Wasn't there a deal with the oil embargo in 1973 where Nixon ordered that the clocks not change that winter (1973-74)?? I was in ninth grade then (last year of Jr. High) and I remember in the winter being in school for like two hours each day before the sun came up.

Sleep

Somehow this was supposed to save gasoline or something. Oh, and for a while back then outdoor Christmas lights were discouraged to save electricity, so for quite a few years you didn't see huge home displays like you had in the sixties (or see again in recent years).

Stix
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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, March 14, 2014 10:25 AM

I don't remember just what year it was, but I do remember the asinine ruling--and I remember that some school children lost their lives because of having to be out in the pitchdark so they could get to school on time. I do not remember much detail of going to school during winter when we had "wartime" during the War (WW II, for those who are too young to comprehend the term), but it seems that we started to school later during the winter.

Another thought about time zones. The boundaries, especially the one between Eastern and Central time, have been changed many times; usually they were moved to the west from the appointed lines that were seven and a half degrees west of the meridians used to determine the time. Long ago, all of Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida were in the central zone. When my mother and father moved from Virginia to Florida to live right after they were married in 1919, they were told to change their watches at Columbia, S.C. In 1938, Atlanta, Asheville, and Bristol, Tenn./Va. were points of change.

Johnny

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Friday, March 14, 2014 11:53 AM

Indiana used to leave it up to the individual county as to whether to adopt DST.  If you were traveling any distance in ANY direction and wanted to keep your watch correct, you would have to adjust the time ahead or back at many county lines.

 

EDIT:  I should add that Granddad was always talking about being on "God's time" and forget this messing with the clocks.

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by wjstix on Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:56 AM

No one who grew up on a farm (like my wife) has much good to say about Daylight Savings Time. Apparently pigs and cows don't really grasp the concept very well.

 

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Posted by K4sPRR on Saturday, March 15, 2014 7:13 AM

Semper Vaporo
Indiana used to leave it up to the individual county as to whether to adopt DST.

Due to that,  a friend of mine who grew up in Indiana told me he would wear two watches.

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Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, March 15, 2014 9:59 AM

Pigs and cows? Dogs, also. The last dog we had knew which days of the week he and I would take a walk when I came home from work. In the summer, I would have to tell him, when I came home, that we would have to wait because it was too hot to go then.(And in the winter, I was able to leave work a little early so we could get an hour's walk in while there was still light enough to see where we were going.)

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Posted by dakotafred on Saturday, March 15, 2014 6:15 PM

Semper Vaporo

I should add that Granddad was always talking about being on "God's time" and forget this messing with the clocks.

You still hear talk of "God's time" from people who don't understand that Standard Time is just as artificial a construct as Daylight Savings. Put them back on the real "God's time" -- sun time -- and they'd scream to high, uh, Heaven.

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Posted by dakotafred on Saturday, March 15, 2014 6:27 PM

wjstix

Wasn't there a deal with the oil embargo in 1973 where Nixon ordered that the clocks not change that winter (1973-74)?? I was in ninth grade then (last year of Jr. High) and I remember in the winter being in school for like two hours each day before the sun came up ... Somehow this was supposed to save gasoline or something.

Nixon has a lot of things to answer for, but not this one. Altho the oil embargo hit in '73 -- causing the price of gas where I lived to jump from 32 cents to the stratospheric heights of 44 cents -- Nixon was gone when a Democratic Congress and Gerald Ford got around to enacting year-round DST in time for the winter of '74-5.

They also gave us the "double nickel" speed limit, even on interstate highways, that persisted until 1995, with dubious benefit.

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Posted by wanswheel on Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:07 PM
George Vernon Hudson of New Zealand was the first ‘inventor’ of Daylight Savings Time, which he called Seasonal Time. Ben Franklin wrote about morning sunlight wasted on a population still asleep, but Hudson was the first to propose resetting the clock twice a year. http://rsnz.natlib.govt.nz/volume/rsnz_31/rsnz_31_00_008570.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trbL2jKCRNc
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 8:51 AM

dakotafred

Nixon has a lot of things to answer for, but not this one. Altho the oil embargo hit in '73 -- causing the price of gas where I lived to jump from 32 cents to the stratospheric heights of 44 cents -- Nixon was gone when a Democratic Congress and Gerald Ford got around to enacting year-round DST in time for the winter of '74-5.

No it was Nixon. I remember it happened when I was in Jr.High...and I didn't start high school until Sept. 1974. It was the winter before that.

I looked it up, Nixon signed the law Dec. 15, 1973, taking effect January 6, 1974.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=4073

 

Stix

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