[time-nuts] Simon Winchester: The Perfectionists

William H. Fite omniryx at gmail.com
Tue May 8 18:49:14 EDT 2018

Bravo, bravo, bravo! On several occasions I have pointed out that there is
more to time-nuttery than striving to achieve an Allen deviation measured
in zeptoseconds. The silence in response is always deafening. If I want to
struggle with phase angles of billionths of a degree, I can go down to my
basement Chamber of Horrors and do that. But I can also sit in my den and
listen to all my mechanical clocks fighting over who strikes the hour
first. I revel in the cacophony of Westminster, St. Michaels, Whittington,
Rochester, Magdalen, Parsifal chimes all sounding at once, sorting them out
in my head, savoring the dissonances. I dote on the barometric drive of an
Atmos, the twirling of an el cheapo quartz filament clock, the squawking of
a cuckoo, and the constant clatter of a Congreve

I have a cesium clock, rubidium, GPS, etc. in the Chamber and I love
tinkering with them but I will never put a quartz watch on my wrist or an
"atomic" clock, even a 60 cycle synchronous clock on my wall.

Different strokes, I suppose.


Westminster Quarters, Rochester Quarters, Magdalen Chimes, Parisfal Chimes,
Guildford Chimes

On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Hal Murray <hmurray at megapathdsl.net> wrote:

> In 'The Perfectionists' Simon Winchester Looks At History Of Precision
> Engineering
> https://www.npr.org/2018/05/07/608590826/in-the-
> perfectionists-simon-wincheste
> r-looks-at-history-of-precision-engineering
> KELLY: You write about that in such a personal way in the book. You
> include
> the detail of your Sunday morning ritual, of walking room to room in this
> old
> farmhouse you live in and correcting all the clocks, you know, pushing one
> hand forward a little bit and another hand back, and that you love the
> inaccuracy of that, that they're all chiming totally out of sync by midway
> through the next week.
> WINCHESTER: Yes, a lovely description in Dorothy L. Sayers' book "Gaudy
> Night" about the clocks in Oxford chiming midnight in friendly
> disagreement.
> Well, I like clocks having friendly disagreement. I loathe digital watches
> with, I mean, the one I dare say you're looking at in the studio now, with
> microsecond countdowns. Let's take it a bit easier. Let's be a bit fuzzy
> in
> our needs and desires and wishes.
> -----------
> I don't know if the book discusses time.  If you aren't familiar with his
> work, he's good.
> --
> These are my opinions.  I hate spam.
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when it deserves it.
--Mark Twain

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for sinners. His standards are quite low.
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