Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Telling Time In The Dark


It Needs Only a Little Calculation and Regular Habits.

"What time is it?"

"I think I can tell you without looking."

He drew out his watch and held it up close to his ear and slowly turned the stem winder. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight," he counted, and then he said: "That means 72 minutes. I wound the watch up tightly at 8 o'clock, and so the time ought to be about 12 minutes past 4. Let's see how near I came to it. Well, it's 4:18. I was only six minutes off."

The other was regarding him with amazement. "Do you mean to say that you can tell the time of day by winding up your watch?"

"Not exactly, but I can come mighty near it — usually within ten minutes — and it's very simple too. All you have to know is how long one tick in winding up will run the watch. I'll explain to you. Suppose that at 3 o'clock I wind up my watch until it is tight, as we say — that is, until another turn of the winder would apparently break a spring. At 5 o'clock I wind the watch again and find that the winder clicks 12 times before the watch is wound up to the place where it sticks. Then you know that 12 ticks will run the watch 120 minutes, and that one click represents ten minutes of time."

"What good is it to know that?"

"Well, suppose you go to bed at 11 o'clock tonight, and on retiring wind up your watch and put it under your pillow. During the night you wake up and wonder what time it is. You don't want to get up and light the gas. All you have to do is to pull that watch out from under The pillow, hold it to your ear and count the ticks as you wind. If you count 18, then you know that the watch has run down 180 minutes since 11 o'clock, and that the time must be very near 2 o'clock. To be sure, you can't tell the exact time, but you can generally got within a quarter of an hour of it."

"Wouldn't the same rule hold good for a clock or a watch which is wound with a key?"

"I dare say it would, but I never tried it on anything except a stem winding watch. I know a blind man who always tells time by winding his watch and counting the ticks. His sense of touch is quite delicate, and he can wind up his watch three or four times a day and then calculate within ten minutes of the correct time." — Chicago Record.

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