By Alexis McCrossen
The general public areas and constructions of the USA are domestic to many hundreds of thousands of timepieces—bells, time balls, and clock faces—that tower over city streets, peek out from lobbies, and gleam in shop home windows. And within the streets and squares underneath them, males, girls, and youngsters put on wristwatches of every kind. american citizens have embellished their houses with clocks and integrated them of their poetry, sermons, tales, and songs. And as political tools, social instruments, and cultural symbols, those own and public timekeepers have loved a vast forex in artwork, existence, and culture.
In Marking smooth Times, Alexis McCrossen relates how the yankee preoccupation with time led humans from throughout social periods to obtain watches and clocks. whereas noting the problems in regulating and synchronizing such a lot of timepieces, McCrossen expands our realizing of the advance of contemporary time self-discipline, delving into the methods we've standardized time and describing how timekeepers have served as political, social, and cultural instruments in a society that doesn’t in basic terms price time yet regards entry to time as a natural-born correct, a privilege of being an American.
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Additional info for Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life
While thus engaged, intently perusing the face of his watch by the light of the moon, a stout middle-aged gentleman, wrapped up in a thick overcoat, with a carpet bag in his hand, came striding rapidly across the street, and for a moment stood silent and unperceived at his shoulder. ” said a hearty cheerful voice. — George Lippard, Quaker City (1845) T he contests for authority among antebellum timekeepers cannot be underestimated. 1 In the passage that stands as the epigraph to this chapter, all the elements of midcentury time telling are evident.
These “standard times” further dissociated clock time from natural time. They severed time from the local and the particular. Without the local and particular, clock time became even more tightly tethered to institutions, procedures, and standards. It depended on reliable clocks and ﬁrmly established time standards. Like Father Time with his reaper atop the eight-ton Jewelers Building clock, time has always disciplined humans. Time begins with sunrises, births, ar- 18 | INTRODUCTION rivals; it always ends, in a sunset, a death, a departure.
George Lippard, Quaker City (1845) T he contests for authority among antebellum timekeepers cannot be underestimated. 1 In the passage that stands as the epigraph to this chapter, all the elements of midcentury time telling are evident. The aural and visual compete—the clock has “just struck one,” but Luke “peruses” rather than listens. ” Which is the authority for the time, the pocket watch or the state 42 | C H A P T E R T WO house clock, the bell striking one or the moon? ” Indeed, every timekeeper seemed to show its own time; there was little possibility of synchronicity, not between aural and visual time indicators, not between natural and mechanical ones, not even between a pocket watch and the state house clock.