Watch Your Watch

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TFoley

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Correct, in order to navigate Lewis had to have working watches. Part of the list of supplies in the journal was a chronometer that cost 250 dollars that's a lot of money for the early 1800s. The watches Lewis used would have been set to GMT that's required to navigate by compass and sextant. It's actually astounding that traveling 8000 miles of unexplored country Lewis only missed his destination on the Pacific coast by less then 50 miles. Here's Lewis's 250 dollar chronometer.
$250 in 1805 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $5,589.36 today, an increase of $5,339.36 over 216 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 1.45% per year between 1805 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,135.74%.
 

Auldjin

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In the UK churches often had a clock that served the neighbourhood.

I liked the story about the town jeweller who displayed a fine clock in his shop window, when asked by a visitor if it was a good timekeeper he said he checked it every day against the church clock and it rarely needed adjustment. Later the visitor fell in with the sexton and he asked about the church clock " Every week I wind it and I correct it by the jeweller's clock if it needs it."

Until the railways came along, every town ran on local time. In Oxford, Great Tom is rung 101 times at 9.05 pm (9.00 Oxford time). They did not see why they should change just because GMT was adopted in the 1850s.
 

Kmcmichael

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My father purchase a used Hamilton int the 40s. It has the o22B movement. I’ve read of people getting accuracy rivaling a quartz be laying it. Certain way etc. some tout that it is the most accurate mechanical watch.
If one works outside all the time at the same place, the time can be guessed pretty well. You know which way south is and where the sun will be. At night everything revolves around Polaris. If you are at a checkpoint in the middle of nowhere, there is not much else to do.
 

Attachments

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I have seen repro finger rings from the 15 century ,I believe, when off the finger and held to a sunlite position there would be a dot on the inside approximating the time.
 

Whitworth

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My father purchase a used Hamilton int the 40s. It has the o22B movement. I’ve read of people getting accuracy rivaling a quartz be laying it. Certain way etc. some tout that it is the most accurate mechanical watch.
If one works outside all the time at the same place, the time can be guessed pretty well. You know which way south is and where the sun will be. At night everything revolves around Polaris. If you are at a checkpoint in the middle of nowhere, there is not much else to do.
That's the same watch my Dad bought used when he went to work for the B&O after the war. I posted his watch on page 3 of this thread.
 

Kmcmichael

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That's the same watch my Dad bought used when he went to work for the B&O after the war. I posted his watch on page 3 of this thread.
Yup, same movement and face, trim is a little different and my face cracked up about 20 years ago.
 

ohio ramrod

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The other day, I was reading thru my 1902 Sears catalog and came to the pages that showed watches. There were three pages of them, all pocket watches. Not a wrist watch in sight.
That got me to thinking, "I wonder when wrist watches became common?"

Doing some digging, I found that the wrist watch really was a rarity before 1904 so, any of you reenactors who are wearing one is making a mistake if your time period is before 1904 or later.

That got me to wondering when the pocket watch became popular.

It turns out, the first pocket watches were made surprisingly early. One was mentioned as early as 1462. A man in Nuremberg was manufacturing them in 1526.
The first American produced pocket watches with machine made parts appeared in the 1830's so IMO, you would have to be fairly rich to own one prior to that time.
Not likely a farmer, hunter or trapper would own one.

That brings up the question, how did the early people on the go figure out what time it was? I'm guessing that a few might have had accurate sun dial's .
For a traveler, such a thing as a sun dial/compass existed and one of these with the addition of a hourglass could provide the local time into darkness when the person could get a bearing on the stars to figure out what his longitude was.
I had a sundial/compass for several years and it was accurate with in 15 minutes on a clear day!
 

Kmcmichael

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In a way the sundial was more accurate. The current time zones did not exist. Until the railroad each community measured noon as the highest point of the sun in the Southern sky(for Northern Hemisphere).
 

bud in pa

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i have a combination compass and sun dial in a brass case. No batteries needed!
 

Zonie

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Missouri is all most due south of the magnetic North Pole, my sun dial is with in ten minutes of true time.
Is that "daylight savings time" or just regular time?
Speaking of that, do you sundial users crank your sundial an hour ahead when daylight savings time is being used?

(Just kidding around with you.) 🤣
 

Kmcmichael

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I’m a little foggy but how does the magnetism of the earth affect the position of the sun?
 

Zonie

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I’m a little foggy but how does the magnetism of the earth affect the position of the sun?
Magnetism doesn't affect the position of the sun.
Sun dial's need to be set so the 12:00 position is pointed at one of the earth's poles for them to be accurate. Magnetism is about the easiest way we have to figure out where the pole's are.
This doesn't always work out very well. First, the magnetic poles are not at the north or south poles so there is some error in using them to set up a sun dial.
Also, if there are large amounts of iron ore in or close to the neighborhood the sun dial is in, that can change the direction a compass points.

About the best thing to use to figure out where the real earth poles is to use the "North Star", known as Polaris. It is the brightest star in the "Little Dipper" or Ursa Minor.
This can be done with a couple of sticks and a string (and a bit of crawling if the sticks are short) by tying the string to a tall stick and a short stick.
Put the tall stick in the ground and then pull the string tight. Sight along the string moving it until it lines up with the North Star. Then poke the short stick in the ground to hold it in that position.
The next day when you can see what your doing, line up the center of the sun dial and the 12:00 position with the string and your done. :)
 

Crow-Feather

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I would imagine that while trapping or exploring, a watch was not a necessity. You ate when you were hungry, slept when it got dark, woke up and worked the rest of the time. In the mountains, the stars, and flight of the sun was a pretty good compass.
 

Zonie

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I would imagine that while trapping or exploring, a watch was not a necessity. You ate when you were hungry, slept when it got dark, woke up and worked the rest of the time. In the mountains, the stars, and flight of the sun was a pretty good compass.
I'm sure you are correct.
Farmers, hunters, trappers and their families didn't have much need to know what the time is.
City folks were probably more concerned with the actual time of day. Of course, when the railroads started running and using the same tracks, timing became important to them.
I've read, the fact that the railroads and local cities often had different times for the same instant is what led to the creation of the "time zones" used in America.
 
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