TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Speaking About Daylight Saving Time

Speaking About Daylight Saving Time

Patrick Townson (
Tue, 13 Mar 2007 02:28:46 -0500

I am reminded of the days when Western Union Naval Observatory Clocks
were in very common use throughout the United States. Getting those
all set and synched for the change in time twice yearly was quite a

Typically, the 'clock man' would go around to every clock location to
set the clocks manually, and it was far easier to set the clocks
FORWARD one hour in the spring than it was to set the clocks FORWARD
_11 hours_ in the fall (for the essence of setting the clocks _back_
one hour). Since the clocks could not be set backward more than the
'12' position on the dial (and even that was ill-advised) the only
solution was to set the minute hand forward 11 times to where it
appeared to be one hour back

Working on an assembly line style basis, the clock man would come into
the office where the clock was located, unscrew the case, pull it off,
quickly zip the minute hand around the dial to where it
_approximately_ had been sitting before, slap the case back on and
screw it all together; he usually would be in and out of the office
within two or three minutes. He only had to set the minute hand
_approximately_ correct (within one or two minutes) since the next
hourly mechanical setting of the clock would correct the difference as
needed. If there were five or ten clocks in a single office, he had to
do this five or ten times, and he would not get out for maybe fifteen
minutes. In the fall, (clocks back one hour) it took longer, of
course, and maybe five minutes per clock. The clock man would start
this process on Friday prior to the clock change Sunday morning, work
all day Friday at it for those offices which would not be open on
Saturday. Then on Saturday he would work on the clocks in the offices
which were open Saturday, and he would go out on Monday (day after
'clock change Sunday' as they called it) to get hopefully the few they
had not gotten in the couple days before. Invariably, the fall weekend
of 'clock change Sunday' took longer than the spring version; in the
fall they would be at it all day Friday and all day the next week on
Monday. They had a little sign on a string they would hang around the
clock which said on one side of it 'this clock is adjusted for
Daylight Saving Time' and the reverse side of the sign said 'clock
adjusted for Standard Time'. They would hang the sign accordingly, and
ask the subscriber to remove the sign on Monday or Tuesday.

The clock man was always assured of getting all the overtime work he
desired on at least those two weekends of the year.


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