Discussion:
Speaking of time service
(too old to reply)
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-10 18:09:14 UTC
Permalink
Here is an ad by the Self-Winding Clock Co which
made the clocks served by the Western Union time system.

https://archive.org/details/Nations-Business-1946-12/page/n101/mode/1up

Don't know when WU got out of the clock business. But
for many years their offices featured one of their clocks.

Don't know if the once common IBM clock systems were
interconnected with the WU time service (which would've
made sense for accuracy).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_Winding_Clock_Company
Chris
2020-09-10 18:24:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Here is an ad by the Self-Winding Clock Co which
made the clocks served by the Western Union time system.
https://archive.org/details/Nations-Business-1946-12/page/n101/mode/1up
Don't know when WU got out of the clock business. But
for many years their offices featured one of their clocks.
Don't know if the once common IBM clock systems were
interconnected with the WU time service (which would've
made sense for accuracy).
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...

Chris
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_Winding_Clock_Company
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-10 18:52:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.

The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).

My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
JimP
2020-09-10 20:05:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.

He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
--
Jim
Chris
2020-09-10 22:29:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
The IBM master clocks were a work of art. Internal mechanism had 3-4 mm
brass plates for the main frame and parts were gold plated to resist
corrosion. Don't know when the name changed, but the uk side of
the business was originally called International Time Recorders, with
dials of that name. At some stage, they were bought out by IBM and
the dial logo changed to IBM, possible late 30's, mid 40's. I wanted an
IBM model as a nod to history, IBM made clocks as well, right ?. Mine
needs another strip down, as the escapement wheel is not even, though
it does regulate well. Dare not buy any more clocks, as even one can
become something of an obsession in rating terms :-).

IBM have a clock page here:

https://www.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/cc/cc_room.html

Mine looks most like a model 15, with the spidery hands and
slightly surreal dial numbers.
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Now that is a skill in itself. Wouldn't know where to start with that...

Chris
gareth evans
2020-09-11 18:18:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris
The IBM master clocks were a work of art.
I've a GEC Pulsynetic and a Post Office No 36
awaiting my attention when I get A ROUND TUIT.

Since retiring I've been more of a horologist
than a computist or a radio ham. (G4SDW)
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-11 18:42:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris
The IBM master clocks were a work of art. Internal mechanism had 3-4 mm
brass plates for the main frame and parts were gold plated to resist
corrosion. Don't know when the name changed, but the uk side of
the business was originally called International Time Recorders, with
dials of that name. At some stage, they were bought out by IBM and
the dial logo changed to IBM, possible late 30's, mid 40's. I wanted an
IBM model as a nod to history, IBM made clocks as well, right ?. Mine
needs another strip down, as the escapement wheel is not even, though
it does regulate well. Dare not buy any more clocks, as even one can
become something of an obsession in rating terms :-).
The IBM corporation was formed by a merger between
Hollerith punched cards, a time clock company,
and a grocery scale company. They were Computing,
Tabulating, and Recording. They hired TJ Watson
to bring it together and get it moving.

Watson sold off the scale division early on.
Watson Jr said the time division became
unprofitable and sold that off in the
late 1950s. In his memoir, he blamed
the managers for poor sales, though it wasn't
their fault.

Watson Jr said the timeclock business
was falling since industry didn't use
time clocks as much as they used to.
I don't know if that's true, but I certainly
have seen tons of time clocks in many
places. IBM also made school clocks
and as far as I know, that's still in
demand.

Maybe the clock division didn't fit in
with IBM's computer division, perhaps
the profit margins weren't there.
JimP
2020-09-11 20:24:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM master clocks were a work of art. Internal mechanism had 3-4 mm
brass plates for the main frame and parts were gold plated to resist
corrosion. Don't know when the name changed, but the uk side of
the business was originally called International Time Recorders, with
dials of that name. At some stage, they were bought out by IBM and
the dial logo changed to IBM, possible late 30's, mid 40's. I wanted an
IBM model as a nod to history, IBM made clocks as well, right ?. Mine
needs another strip down, as the escapement wheel is not even, though
it does regulate well. Dare not buy any more clocks, as even one can
become something of an obsession in rating terms :-).
The IBM corporation was formed by a merger between
Hollerith punched cards, a time clock company,
and a grocery scale company. They were Computing,
Tabulating, and Recording. They hired TJ Watson
to bring it together and get it moving.
Watson sold off the scale division early on.
Watson Jr said the time division became
unprofitable and sold that off in the
late 1950s. In his memoir, he blamed
the managers for poor sales, though it wasn't
their fault.
Watson Jr said the timeclock business
was falling since industry didn't use
time clocks as much as they used to.
I don't know if that's true, but I certainly
have seen tons of time clocks in many
places. IBM also made school clocks
and as far as I know, that's still in
demand.
Maybe the clock division didn't fit in
with IBM's computer division, perhaps
the profit margins weren't there.
Yeah, that is kinda of an odd claim, as one of the companies I worked
for this century had time clocks. Only part of it was mechanical, most
of the innards were digital. I didn't see one, so I don't know if the
time was put onto their cards digitally or punched. I worked miles
away in another office.
--
Jim
Peter Flass
2020-09-10 23:12:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sounds like something out of the middle ages.
--
Pete
J. Clarke
2020-09-10 23:40:04 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 10 Sep 2020 16:12:41 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sounds like something out of the middle ages.
If that pocket watch was a certified chronometer they should not have
been adjusting it. With chronometers you monitor the rate and keep an
correction chart. Adjusting a chronometer will often change the rate.
JimP
2020-09-11 14:14:10 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 10 Sep 2020 19:40:04 -0400, J. Clarke
Post by J. Clarke
On Thu, 10 Sep 2020 16:12:41 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sounds like something out of the middle ages.
If that pocket watch was a certified chronometer they should not have
been adjusting it. With chronometers you monitor the rate and keep an
correction chart. Adjusting a chronometer will often change the rate.
He may have been just telling the new guy a sea story, but they did
adjust the clock in our tech office for the correct time. It rarely
needed adjustment.
--
Jim
JimP
2020-09-11 14:10:06 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 10 Sep 2020 16:12:41 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sounds like something out of the middle ages.
We had LORAN for determining where we were. But they kept in practice
so if the LORAN quit, they could still determine location. On our way
back from the Med one trip, it did fail. The Exec and the
quartermaster were out on the bridge wing taking noon sun sights.
--
Jim
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2020-09-11 18:45:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Here is more information on Western Union's time service
WU time from the stars 1948
https://books.google.com/books?id=QtkDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA232&dq=%22western%20union%22%20%22time%20service%22&pg=PA138#v=onepage&q&f=false

WU Keeping clocks by wire 1931
https://books.google.com/books?id=BCgDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA37&dq=%22western%20union%22%20%22time%20service%22&pg=PA37#v=onepage&q&f=false
Questor
2020-09-11 19:10:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sighting the sun can give you your latitude -- but you have to know when it's
(solar) noon. (Otherwise you need to make a series of sightings around
estimated noon and pick the one of greatest extent.) But time and longitude are
linked. You can get one if you know the other, but if you don't know either then
you're lost. This was a big problem until a solution was found for accurate
timekeeping at sea. The usual means of the day -- water clocks, pendulum
clocks, et. al. -- got screwed up by the ship's motion at sea. The story is
recounted in Dava Sobel's book, "Longitude," also the basis for a PBS NOVA
episode.
JimP
2020-09-11 20:26:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Questor
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sighting the sun can give you your latitude -- but you have to know when it's
(solar) noon. (Otherwise you need to make a series of sightings around
estimated noon and pick the one of greatest extent.) But time and longitude are
linked. You can get one if you know the other, but if you don't know either then
you're lost. This was a big problem until a solution was found for accurate
timekeeping at sea. The usual means of the day -- water clocks, pendulum
clocks, et. al. -- got screwed up by the ship's motion at sea. The story is
recounted in Dava Sobel's book, "Longitude," also the basis for a PBS NOVA
episode.
I remember we deliberately steered well south of our home port. That
way the bridge personnel knew they just had to turn north when we
picked up the U.S. on radar.
--
Jim
Peter Flass
2020-09-11 23:21:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by Questor
Post by JimP
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
We had mechanical clocks aboard ship. Once a week one of the
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sighting the sun can give you your latitude -- but you have to know when it's
(solar) noon. (Otherwise you need to make a series of sightings around
estimated noon and pick the one of greatest extent.) But time and longitude are
linked. You can get one if you know the other, but if you don't know either then
you're lost. This was a big problem until a solution was found for accurate
timekeeping at sea. The usual means of the day -- water clocks, pendulum
clocks, et. al. -- got screwed up by the ship's motion at sea. The story is
recounted in Dava Sobel's book, "Longitude," also the basis for a PBS NOVA
episode.
I remember we deliberately steered well south of our home port. That
way the bridge personnel knew they just had to turn north when we
picked up the U.S. on radar.
This was pretty standard in olden days (AFAIK). Since you could determine
latitude, just sail west (or east) until you hit land, and then up (or
down) the coast looking for your destination.
--
Pete
maus
2020-09-12 12:36:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
Post by Questor
Post by JimP
quartermasters, not supply but kept the ship's log and wound these
chronometers, would stop by our office and check the time on it.
He had a mechanical pocket watch, he told me it was also a
chronometer. The Executive Officer and the head quartermaster would
take noon sightings of the sun and adjust that pocket chronometer once
a week.
Sighting the sun can give you your latitude -- but you have to know when it's
(solar) noon. (Otherwise you need to make a series of sightings around
estimated noon and pick the one of greatest extent.) But time and longitude are
linked. You can get one if you know the other, but if you don't know either then
you're lost. This was a big problem until a solution was found for accurate
timekeeping at sea. The usual means of the day -- water clocks, pendulum
clocks, et. al. -- got screwed up by the ship's motion at sea. The story is
recounted in Dava Sobel's book, "Longitude," also the basis for a PBS NOVA
episode.
I remember we deliberately steered well south of our home port. That
way the bridge personnel knew they just had to turn north when we
picked up the U.S. on radar.
Sailing ships, I believe, would take soundings and reduce speed
when they got them, either going west or east.

Charlie Gibbs
2020-09-10 23:34:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Chris
The IBM clocks, with a Graham escapement, were quite accurate
to start. There were several models, but the standard model
was rated at 15 seconds / month, electrically wound spring,
and a more accurate weight driven model at 10 secs / month.
I rebuilt one of the standard models and got it rated to better
than 20 seconds in 3 months. Bit more effort may have done
even better. Not bad for a purely mechanical design...
Better than my Casio watch.
The care and feeding of old time mechanical devices amazes
me. For instance there used to be a popular railroad
worker watch, Hamilton. Supposedly very durable and
accurate. Expensive to buy Yet periodically they needed
inspection and service by a trained watchmaker (railroads had
such men on the payroll for that reason).
My cheap electronic watches only need a battery
periodically. Generally keep very good time.
My 40-year-old Timex, given to me by a friend, gains
a second a day and takes a new battery once a year.
Takes a licking and keeps on, uh...
--
/~\ Charlie Gibbs | Microsoft is a dictatorship.
\ / <***@kltpzyxm.invalid> | Apple is a cult.
X I'm really at ac.dekanfrus | Linux is anarchy.
/ \ if you read it the right way. | Pick your poison.
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