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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 31 12:51 AM

July 31, 2010: Time Ball

From the What Is It blog, and also Neatorama's "What Is It" quiz this week, a Time Ball.

A Small Time Ball that was used around 1855, this clock would sit in a railroad station or store window and was connected to a telegraph line. At precisely 1:00 P.M. daily, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich would send out a signal to all of these clocks and the ball would drop. By charging for this service, observatories could profit from keeping time. The ball we see dropped on New Year's Eve every year originated from the practice of observatories dropping a large ball from the top of the building to indicate to ships and towns the precise time each day.
So that's where that practice came from.

ZenGum  Saturday Jul 31 02:45 AM

And I thought dropping balls just indicated the onset of puberty.

sexobon  Saturday Jul 31 04:08 AM

When the balls dropped, men signified to each other that their timepieces were synchronized by turning their heads to the right and coughing; or, hacking which brought about the expression "time hack."

SPUCK  Saturday Jul 31 06:28 AM


Griff  Saturday Jul 31 09:13 AM

Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
So that's where that practice came from.
I never looked for an explanation of the New Years goofiness, suddenly it makes a little sense. Is there a deeper meaning to the use of the ball, representing a celestial object or something, or did somebody cob together a prototype from the parts at hand?

nil_orally  Saturday Jul 31 09:30 AM

Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
And I thought dropping balls just indicated the onset of puberty.
or weather like tomorrow when it will be REALLY cold.

ajaccio  Saturday Jul 31 11:57 AM

Sorry, Bruce, ya really dropped the ball on this one...

sweetwater  Saturday Jul 31 06:34 PM

And if the device was on a treadmill that was moving forward as fast as the ball was dropping downward, would it stop Time or stretch it to Infinity?

classicman  Sunday Aug 1 02:43 PM

Ask the great clodfobble

TheMercenary  Sunday Aug 1 06:42 PM

That is so frigging cool.

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