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  1. Lee says:

    The improvements in timepiece technology are amazing. Railroad watches used to be very expensive, yet still required regular servicing by a skilled watchmaker (railroads had them on staff). They still needed to be set to an accurate time source every day.

    Today, our cellphones offer the time with no effort on our part. Cheap electronic watches keep good time.

    As an aside, in some large cities the telephone company once offered a time service. Dial a number and get the correct time. Before it was discontinued in Philadelphia, SEPTA (the transit agency) suggested passengers use the service to ensure their watches were correct.

    As an aside, years ago Western Union offered a time service. Many businesses, especially the railroads, subscribed and had a Western Union clock that was controlled by time signals. Here is an example of a WU ad for their time service, from 1946.

    The IBM company once offered clock systems. Indeed, many school buildings had IBM clocks. In the late 1950s IBM felt the clock business didn’t fit in with its growing computer business and sold it off. Here’s a 1952 IBM ad:
    (you may scroll through the rest of these magazines. Interesting view of the business world of that era.)

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