Monday, June 8, 2020

Analog clocks

Every project manager is responsible in some way for schedule. And schedule is often about not only duration, but dates and time. And so, from time to time, we must be able to tell the time.

On the iphone, "clock" is an icon of an analog clock, although the main display is a digital clock.

About analog clocks, Deb Olin Unferth writes:

"[Some young people] can't read an analog clock. For many .... reading this: The analog clock, with it's ring of numbers 1 through 12 around a circumference, has two hands, one short and one long, affixed to the center and pointing outward, which revolve by force of a tiny mechanical motor.

The muddle comes in these little hands. The shorter one is simple: Whichever number it points to is the hour. If it points to 1, it's 1 o'clock. The longer hand is trickier. When it points to 1, it means 5, as in five minutes. The 2 means 10, and so on.

The delightful key to the puzzle is that the numbers on the face represent more than one value simultaneously."

And, she goes on: "I understood the world I knew was gone forever when I had to teach a college student how to operate an envelope"

Now, here's some news you can use: (*)
The analog clock as a mechanical device came into being sometime in the 1200s to 1300s, although time was told by ringing bells rather than rotating a hand around a clock face. And, those earliest clocks were in church bell towers for the most part.

The 16th century brought the pendulum into being as practical mechanism for regulating the clock. Within 200 years, the mechanics had advanced to the point that the clock face was invented, and clocks were smaller than bell towers. However, until sometime around the 1700's, most clocks did not have a minute hand .... there simply was not sufficient accuracy available in the mechanism. Most people did not reckon with anything more precise than the hour.

Thus it's only been about 300 years that we've had to muddle with the "big hand" and the ambiguity of the numbers on the clock face. And now, that's fading away?!

(*) As reported in the book: "Unbound" by Richard Currier

Buy them at any online book retailer!