Saturday, September 7, 2013

Clocks, Then and Now

Thousands of years ago people only judged the time by the position of the sun. It was either morning, noon, afternoon, evening or night. Hours, seconds, and minutes hadn't been invented yet.

Then someone invented sundials.

Later, for centuries, church bells in urban areas let people know the hours.

Eventually huge clocks that had to be wound up with keys stood in the hallways of mansions and chimed every hour, but poor people couldn't afford those.

Then smaller clocks appeared on mantels in homes and most men had pocket watches.

Wrist watches and alarm clocks were even later inventions.

But all those things had to be wound up every 24 hours or they'd slow down and stop.

Today we have wrist watches that run on batteries and our alarm clocks are electric. We can tell the time by looking at our stoves, microwaves, computers, and cellphones as well as clocks that hang on our walls or sit on shelves and bedside tables. Some of those set themselves automatically when moved to a different time zone or when Daylight Savings Time begins or ends.

However if there should be a major storm or disaster and the electric power was out for a long time, we're likely to be in trouble. While our electric clocks may have battery back-up, those batteries  and the ones in our watches would eventually run out of power. And signals to our cellphones won't work if the towers that send them can't get electricity.

It would take some major adjustments for us to dig out those old, wind-up clocks and watches or even go back to depending on the sun to tell what time it is. But that might not be a completely bad thing. Clocks run on electricity and they run our lives. Maybe we could all use a break from that.

Anyone want time out?

1 comment:

Ed Devin said...
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