A Thousand Words

Welcome to A Thousand Words, where I share pictures (and ask my readers to share pictures) of what they'd like to see more of in the world.

This week: town clocks. Or, more generally, large timepieces displayed publicly.

Dubuque_Town_Clock.jpg

clocktown.jpg

I think something was lost when we ceased to glance up at the same clock--or listen to its chimes--to tell the time, essentially communally, instead glancing down at our wristwatch. Not that I hate wristwatches--sometimes one is not within sight of the town clock. As a complementary technology that carries wonderfully personal family associations--one might almost say, family history--watches are excellent. As a replacement for public timepieces, not so much. Of course, now, our super-duper Citizen Tracking Devices tell the time for us, and we don't even need wristwatches.

Town_Clock_1845.jpg

gapclock.jpg

I see the shift away from public clocks (that actually run and are tended to) as similar to the shift away from public phone booths, though arguably more sentimental (I can't get sentimental about any phone booth but this one):

tardis.jpg

Turns out Big Ben has been silent for the past three years. It's undergoing a period of restoration that hopefully will end next year. Here are the final "bongs" before it was shut down:

And here's Big Ben AND the TARDIS, at the same time, in one of my favorite scenes from Dr. Who ever:

Steven Moffat, I love you for writing this scene...if there's anything more romantic than dancing to "Moonlight Serenade" immediately in front of the clock face of Big Ben--despite a German air raid!--I don't know what it is.

And finally, probably the funniest and most absurd use of a town clock ever:

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Famous meeting point in Melbourne, Australia (I've heard the original analog ones have been
replaced w/digital, unfortunately).

A shout out to Victorians - suffering under one of the most draconian and pointless lockdowns on the planet.

Weddings, Parties, Anything
(from freer times)

Sky News Australia - voices of sanity (FWIW their US election coverage is excellent, also)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Blue Republic

They have a pretty terrible government, but I'm living in the biggest glass house in the world, as far as that goes. Especially since their terrible government is, at least in part, due to mine.

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lookout's picture

A wet one here as Hurricane Zeta comes in. Supposed to be over us 7 AM tomorrow.

I love old clocks. Speaking of old timey, I carry a pocket watch.

Here's a solar clock in Tirano Italy
120 Tirano train trip (18).jpg

And a couple of one handed clocks in Switzerland
one in St Moritz
150 St. Moritz (56).jpg

and another on the Thurensee
60 Thunersee (13).jpg

Time changes this weekend...most people will "fall back". We just go from AL time (slow time) to GA time (fast time). Living here on the time cusp you have to constantly convert.

All the best!

EDIT to add the clock in Bern that inspired Einstein to think about time travel and the speed of light.

75 bern (5).jpg
(1.5 min)

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

I didn't know it was a particular clock that inspired Einstein. One wonders if he would have been similarly inspired by a cell phone. Perhaps, given the nature of his mind, he would have.

Those are some beautiful old clocks. I especially love the solar one.

I wonder if you could think of Stonehenge as, essentially, a clock?

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

I will post a picture of the Astrological Clock in Prague.
Clients are knocking at the door...
Damn work!

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I'm selecting my insurance plan for next year this morning, so I'm guessing y'all are probably having a better time than me. I hope so, anyway.

How are you all doing?

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

Doess it matter what "time" it "really is" so long as everybody agrees on what time to pretend it is? Publlic Time is just a convention, witness Dastardly Stupid Time. That said:

Hebraic clock in Prague:
P1060018

Famous Prague town clock(s):
P1060006

detail 1

P1060007

detail 2

P1060004

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

and if they're not, people tend to look at them less--at least that's my impression.

But your point stands...

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
condition, depending upon how they got in bad condition and why, as in antiquities and the like, I just had to do a little promo for standards in naming and describing things since for any thing or event there is no ding an sich to leap out and tell us what it is.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris It a such a delight to see them dance! I remember eating a late lunch on the square at a Brazilian steakhouse-themed restaurant. They served the steak per your order, then you got the veggies and dessert from a buffet table. The place was wonderful, the town square wa just enchanting!

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Bollox Ref's picture

Ooops!

I forgot to say that it's the clocktower at Cliveden House, the Astor home that overlooks the Thames.

(Edited)

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I never liked it much, but it was in place from when I was a little girl, so I was more or less acclimated--as much as you can be. Then George W, the fucker, decided to mess around with it some more and change the dates of the shift from standard to daylight time and back again. Since he switched it to March and November, I'm more or less discombobulated for about a week or two after.

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

WoodsDweller's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
I call it "Daylight Wasting Time".
Basically it's designed to force us all to get up an hour earlier. The idea is that you have more daylight hours to use after work. But I'm an introvert, I'm exhausted after being around people, so I need time before work. I wake up at dawn most of the time, and maximizing the space between dawn and being around people is my goal.
Interestingly, I used to have a book containing a reprint of a paper written by Benjamin Franklin about how many candles the new nation could save with Daylight Savings Time.
Maybe we should all get up 2 hours earlier! Or five hours earlier! Maybe get up 24 hours earlier and get a great head start!

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"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Albert Bartlett
"A species that is hurtling toward extinction has no business promoting slow incremental change." -- Caitlin Johnstone

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@WoodsDweller

getting up 24 hours earlier...snicker...

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

It somewhat shuts us off from the night sky because it doesn't get really dark until obscenely late for those who have a "normal" work and activity schedule. In addition, it screws up the celestial clock. On some arbitrary date sundials are off by an hour and then at another they are correct again. Those who learned to estimte time by the sun and stars have to remember to fudge their estimations during this arbitrary period, or lese just ignore it. The constellations have this nice progression for telling time at night but suddenly the one that is supposed to be on the meridian at 9 pm is somewhere else at that time. And for what?

It's pointless and purposeless, aggravating, causes accidents and tons of busywork. There is evidence that the shift in routine is not good for our health as well.

pfui! I live in GMT-8, that's how my time zone is defined, or UT-8 if one prefers, but never -7.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

An import from the East, these adorable bento boxes are not only re-usable but introduce children to healthy foods in a charmingly appetizing way. An idea I’d like to see more of in this world.

EFED9FAE-C4E1-4080-86F0-1044183209C8.jpeg
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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

Recyclable bento boxes everywhere, For The Win!

I love those damned things and miss them so much. Japanese food is one thing that has dropped out of my life since COVID. Too much of what I like there involves raw fish!

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Dawn's Meta's picture

Reqwhir Haut Rhin copy.jpg Reqwir.

Strasbourg Rose Limestone Cathedral
Strasbourg Rose Cathedral.jpg

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Lily O Lady's picture

@Dawn's Meta

I always chuckle when I think about the “Attention au pick-pockets” sign posted by it. The sign’s been there since the mid-1970s although I don’t know if it survived into the new century. Last time I was in Strasbourg was in the mid-1990s.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Lily O Lady inside the cathedral. Too much gluhvein?

Here is a good link with photos:
Strasbourg Cathedral

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Dawn's Meta

I've gotten to the other side of the pond twice, and still there's so very much I've never seen.

Well, it is a continent (plus some islands), so of course I'm too small to be able to encompass it without many many journeys. (Perhaps I wouldn't even then!)

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

magiamma's picture

hola all

This is a guy I used to work with many years ago.

Tom Van Baak's spare upstairs bedroom looks like a cross between the control center of a remote polar outpost and the inner sanctum of a Victorian mad scientist. In reality, it's a home-built lab dedicated to the study of time.

One wall is stacked with a small museum's worth of old nautical clocks, thin slabs of quartz, vacuum tubes of unknown purpose and a few metronomes. Another wall is dominated by shelves overflowing with metal boxes sporting dials, knobs, flashing LEDs and constantly shifting digital displays. A sealed metal cylinder resting on a paint-splattered stepladder bears the not-quite-reassuring sticker, "Cesium Device. Not Radioactive."

"If you have one clock ... you are peaceful and have no worries," says Van Baak, fingering a length of cable connecting two of his machines. "If you have two clocks ... you start asking, 'What time is it, really?'"

Van Baak is in a better position to answer that question than most. He's part of a community of about 400 geek hobbyists taking advantage of a glut of surplus precision timekeeping gear to pursue a serious interest in very precise timekeeping.

Amateur Time Hackers Play With Atomic Clocks at Home
https://www.wired.com/2007/12/time-hackers/

The tube of an older, scrapped cesium clock, from Tom Van Baak’s collection. This short tube is less accurate than most modern, commercial cesium clocks, but works by the same principle: A beam of cesium atoms shoots through the tube on a magnetically controlled path. As the atoms shift states, they are read in a specialized chamber at the other end.

Time Hackers Tinker With Their Atomic Toys
https://www.wired.com/2008/01/gallery-time-hackers/

Here's his blog
http://www.diyphysics.com/category/instrumentation/precision-clocks-and-...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@magiamma

Thanks so much for posting the link!

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

For years now my time piece has been my cell phone. And morning alarm.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@MrWebster

As John Lennon and Elton John famously said.

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"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

The engineering and hand machining of clock parts from way back has always got me. People can do amazing things without laser cutters or CNC machines...
And, I'm sure someone thought of it, but noone posted it so I am:

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