[time-nuts] Pre-industrial timekeeping accuracy RE: Lifetime of glass containers

Joseph M Gwinn gwinn at raytheon.com
Mon Jun 15 23:01:58 UTC 2009

time-nuts-bounces at febo.com wrote on 06/15/2009 05:49:35 PM:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com 
> > [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On Behalf Of J. Forster
> > Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 2:34 PM
> > To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
> > Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Lifetime of glass containers
> > 
> > Interestingly, I recently had dinner with an archeology 
> > professor, interested in the Etruscan period. She had just 
> > discovered a flatish piece of glass i9n a dig, thousands of 
> > years old, and believes it was made essentially like rolling 
> > out dough on a slab while red hot.
> > 
> > -John
> > 
> Returning to a more time-nuts-y topic..
> What sort of time measurement accuracy would folks 2000 years 
> ago have had?
> For instance, were they aware of the (relative) constancy of 
> the swings of a pendulum of constant length?
> I remember stories from school about Galileo using his pulse as
> a clock. They're probably apocryphal, and I would think that he
> would have easy access to other things that tick once a second 
> or there abouts (dripping water, etc, if not swings of a pendulum). 
> I'm also familiar with the famous Shakespearean anachronism of 
> the striking clock in "Julius Caesar", and the usual commentary
> says the Romans had only sundials and clepsydra.  So how good 
> is a clepsydra?  What if we go back a 1000 years? 

Allan collected this in HP AN-1289:


Joe Gwinn

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