How Does One Measure Time?
Therese Umerlik 1/6/16
How does one measure time?
Some would argue that its passage is experienced through the biological changes in a body from birth to death.
Others would say time is witnessed through the environment from the daily rising to the setting of the sun to global climate change.
And horologists have worked effortlessly to construct mechanical movements that calibrate time.
However, other forces have definitely reshaped humanity’s understanding and appreciation of time.
Reporter Derek Thompson explained the evolution—or reinvention—of time based on global exploration, railroads, and capitalism in The Atlantic.
The history of time is as Thompson described it “a history of empires.” Nations and regions had their own unique ways to measure time, such as water clocks and sun dials. But when countries, such as France and England, took to the seas in search of adventure, timepieces had to evolve to withstand changes in temperature and pressure.
NAWCC member Kent Singer and Ed Ueberall provide a fantastic overview of railroad watches that complements The Atlantic article as Thompson explains the eventual need to standardize time through different zones with arrival of railroads.
Does capitalism require much explanation for how it impacted time? Yes, economics segmented our time and appreciation for it.
Think of the work week.
Think 9 to 5.
Now think Happy Hour.
Three pocket watches on display at National Watch & Clock Museum. KEITH LEHMAN.
The Google Cultural Institute has opened its Google Street View three-dimensional walkthrough of the NAWCC Museum after nearly two years of collaboration. Google selected the Museum—one of only 1,500 leading museums and heritage sites worldwide—for its role as the preeminent specialized horological museum in the Western Hemisphere.
“The National Watch & Clock Museum is honored to have been chosen to take part in the Google Cultural Institute. We hope that through this medium we will be able to reach a global audience with our mission to preserve and interpret our shared horological history,” states Museum Director Noel Poirier.
Two time globes c. 1880s. KEITH LEHMAN.
The link http://tinyurl.com/NatWatch-ClkMusUSA-Streetview begins just steps inside the main lobby of the National Watch and Clock Museum. Once on the site, after turning left into the short green corridor (between the admissions desk on the left and the theatre on the right) visitors may go through the door of the Museum into all of the exhibit galleries and examine all of the pieces on display.
It’s the closest you can get to the center of time without actually being there. In fact, when you visit the Museum with Google Street View, you feel like you really are there panoramically traveling all the way from Stonehenge to the Mars Clock.
Three military hack watches with canvas straps. KEITH LEHMAN.