Friday, May 16, 2008

An American Custom


We Want the Correct Time and Endeavor to Get It.

Of course if you walk on Chestnut street and take notice as you go along — all people should have observing eyes — you will see men stopping to compare their watches with the chronometers in the jewelers' windows. And if you have traveled abroad I venture to say you never saw a foreigner so comparing the time of his watch.

The fact is this is a custom peculiarly American. We place more value on time here — our minutes are precious, we are so busy, so eager in the race for wealth — time is indeed money with us.

A friend of mine who goes abroad every season was chatting about this matter to me and said:

"Do you know that the Americans buy the most expensive watches? I was talking to one of the most celebrated watchmakers in all Europe on this very subject, and I was surprised to hear him say that his best watches — the most expensive make, repeaters and the like — were mostly sold in the American market. He said, too, that foreigners do not care for such correct time as the Americans. If their watches are a few minutes too fast or too slow, it does not concern them.

"I was myself impressed with the truth of these remarks by the watchmaker when, a few days afterward, I was in a railroad station in Paris and saw two public clocks four minutes apart! Another time I set my watch by one public clock in London and the next day found by another public clock in the same city, only a dozen blocks away, that my watch was six minutes slow by that clock! Yes, you may be sure that the Americans are the only nation who care for the exact time." — Philadelphia Call.

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