March 31, 2014
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TIDBITS® TELLS TIME by Janet Spencer On March 31, 1918, Daylight Saving Time went into effect – brieﬂy – for the ﬁrst time in history. Come along with Tidbits as we remember this historic event by trying to ﬁgure out what the heck time it is anyway. MASS CLOCK CONFUSION • In the good old days, the time of day varied by one minute for every 13 miles (21 km) traveled east to west. Noon was whenever the sun was overhead any particular town. Cities only a few hundred miles apart had times that were quite different. This didn’t matter much when people rarely traveled more than a few miles from home. But when railroads started transporting people long distances, things got complicated. It made scheduling trains hard. • When it was noon in Chicago, it was 12:31 in Pittsburgh, 12:17 in Toledo; 11:50 in St. Louis; 11:39 in St. Paul; and 11:27 in Omaha. The train station in Pittsburgh had six clocks showing six local times. Wisconsin had 38 different time zones, all within the same state. Railroads had nearly 300 time zones across the nation. It was difﬁcult to prevent trains from crashing with so much confusion. • A Connecticut man named Charles Dowd suggested the solution. Because there are 24 hours in a day, he divided the Earth’s 360 degrees by 24, creating 24 time zones separated by 15 degrees. (cont’d on pg. 3)
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CLOCK CONFUSION, cont’d • Charles Dowd took his time zone plan to a convention of railway superintendents meeting in New York City in 1869. They spent the next 13 years thinking it over. • Finally, at a convention in 1882, the Standard Time system was adopted by the railroads. This divided the U.S. into four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Paciﬁc which were divided by the 75th, 90th, 105th, and 120th meridians. At noon on Sunday, November 18, 1883 – a day that became known as “the day with two noons” - the railroads set their clocks to this system. • This was only an agreement among the railroads, but people all over the world recognized the beauty of the system. Leaders from about 25 different nations met in Washington, D.C. on October 13, 1884 at the International Meridian Conference where it was agreed that the longitude line that runs through Greenwich, England, would be the “prime meridian”- zero degrees longitude - and the time would change by one hour for each 15 degrees traveled from that point, known as Greenwich Mean Time. Still, it took Congress years to get around to making the Standard Time Act a matter of American law, on March 19, 1918 — a move they made in conjunction with passing the ﬁrst Daylight Saving Time, enacted on March 31.
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DAYLIGHT SAVING • Ben Franklin was the ﬁrst person to suggest that setting clocks ahead in the spring and behind in the fall would be a wise idea because it would save expensive candles. The thought wasn’t taken seriously until 1907 when a British man named William Willert was riding through the countryside early one morning and noticed that in spite of the full daylight, all the curtains were drawn in the cottages, indicating their occupants were still sound asleep because the clock said it was too early to get up in the morning. (cont’d)
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Of Sheridan & Johnson Counties
Published weekly by Kysar Publishing. Call (307) 655-5095 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tidbits® of Sheridan and Johnson Counties
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DAYLIGHT SAVING (cont’d) • Willert wrote a pamphlet suggesting Britain set its clocks ahead in April, and behind in October. A bill introduced in Parliament in 1909 was ridiculed. However, World War I brought a dire need to conserve coal, and the “British Summer Time Act” was passed in 1916, one year after Willert died. It set the clocks ahead one hour in spring and back one hour in fall. The idea worked so well that Britain put its clocks ahead two full hours during the summers of World War II. • The U.S. followed suit and Daylight Saving Time was enacted for the ﬁrst time in March of 1918 to conserve fuel for the war effort. It proved to be so unpopular, however, that it was repealed in 1919. It was reinstated during World War II. After the war, some places continued observing it and some didn’t. Those localities that did continue to observe Daylight Saving were not agreed as to which date to set the clocks forward and back again. This caused confusion among the broadcast industries, railroads, bus lines, and airlines. On a single 35mile stretch of highway between West Virginia and Ohio, a traveler went through seven time changes. • The transportation industry, led by Greyhound, lobbied hard to remedy the situation, and in 1966 Congress passed the Uniform Time Act. This law did not make Daylight Saving Time mandatory, but merely said that individual states needed to observe it (or not) on a uniform basis and all on the same date. • Daylight Saving Time is now observed in about 70 countries around the world. Note that it’s singular rather than plural—it’s not Daylight Savings Time, but Daylight Saving Time. A study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that our nation saves about 1% of its energy for every day DST is in effect. And maybe that makes it worth the effort for Americans to change three billion time pieces twice every year.
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Spring Fix-Up It’s spring ... time to see just what Mother Nature has done to your house and yard over the winter. Here’s your to-do list for spring ﬁx-up. Outside: ¥ Clean out gutters and check for loose attachments. Look for leaks at the seams. Consider installing gutter screens. ¥ Check the foundation of the house to be sure there are no depressions in the ground where water can accumulate. Aim downspout water diverters and splash guards away from the house. ¥ If you have a shed, check for water damage. If it’s on blocks, determine if it needs to be raised or leveled. (The higher it is off wet ground, the longer the shed will last.) ¥ Clear leaves and debris from in and around your air conditioning compressor. Be sure the supports underneath haven’t shifted. ¥ Look for exterior damage to paint and trim. ¥ If you have a deck, check for loose railings, splintered wood, raised nails and rotten step treads. If you replace wood, remember that you might not be able to paint it for up to a year. ¥ Check walkways to be sure paving stones haven’t lifted. Check driveway for cracks. ¥ Power wash the exterior of your house. ¥ Consider whether window awnings would help to keep the summer sun off your windows and keep your house cooler, especially on the south and west sides. Inside: ¥ If you have a basement, go all around the interior walls and look for evidence of water. ¥ Do the same with interior walls at the ceiling to be sure your house didn’t develop a roof leak. Don’t forget the ceilings in closets. ¥ Take down the clear plastic you put on windows and get out your sunblock curtains. ¥ If you’ve had had air leaks you didn’t get around to ﬁxing, do them now. Once the window frame is warm enough, apply caulk and weather-stripping. Buy electric-plug air insulator blocks. ¥ If you use a window air conditioner, make sure it still works. Then vacuum the evaporator ﬁns and condenser coils, wash the ﬁlter screen and be sure the drainage hole isn’t plugged with debris. (Use a paper clip to clear it.) ¥ Consider whether you need a dehumiﬁer for moist summer air. Buy now before they’re gone. ¥ Replace furnace ﬁlters if you have central air. ¥ Check ﬁre extinguishers and smoke detectors. David Ufﬁngton regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to columnreply2@ gmail.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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Tidbits® of Sheridan and Johnson Counties
WHY ARE THERE 12 HOURS? • The mathematical system of the Sumerians was based on the number 12 just like ours is based on the number 10. Twelve was considered magical because it is the lowest number with the greatest number of divisors. Multiples of the number 12 were also considered notable, especially 60 which can be divided by ten other numbers. The number 360 was also special, since they operated on a 360-day calendar. (That’s why there are 360 degrees in a compass instead of 365.) The Sumerian’s system of weights and measures was based on the number 12, as was their money. And it was the Sumerians who ﬁrst divided the day into 12 parts, with each segment equal to two of our hours. • Later the Egyptians divided the day into 24 segments instead of 12. And the Babylonians are responsible for our current system of having 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. SANFORD FLEMING • Sanford Fleming was born in Scotland in 1827. As a teen, he was apprenticed as a surveyor, a skill he mastered quickly. He and his brother immigrated to what is now Ontario when he was 18 years old. By 1849 he was qualiﬁed as a surveyor in Canada, and he established what he intended to be a school for surveyors, the Royal Canadian Institute. Instead, it became more of a scientiﬁc society and it still thrives today. • Fleming’s skill as a surveyor propelled him into work with the railroad which was expanding quickly. By 1855 he was Chief Engineer of the Northern Railway of Canada. He insisted all railroad bridges be made of stone or metal rather than the traditional (and far less expensive) wood. Although it was a controversial move at the time, the decision was justiﬁed when the new bridges turned out to be nearly impervious to ﬁre. He subsequently pioneered many other innovative techniques for building railroads. • In 1862, he approached the government with a plan to build a railroad from the Atlantic to the Paciﬁc. The government approved the plan and put him in charge of the project. He set off, along with a few friends and his son, to survey the route. A book written by his travel companion George Monro Grant entitled Ocean to Ocean became a best-seller, and prepared the national mindset for the task of building a transcontinental railway. • Much to his dismay, the government decided they wanted to hire a private contractor to complete the railroad. He was dismissed from his job with a $30,000 pay-out. He was very disappointed. Nevertheless, he was present at the driving of the last spike that completed the railroad. He went on to design the ﬁrst trans-Paciﬁc cable. The undersea cable from Vancouver to New Zealand and Australia was completed in 1902. • Sanford missed a train in 1876 because the printed train schedule listed p.m. instead of the correct a.m. This infuriated him and he knew something needed to be done to regulate train schedules. At the time, 12:00 p.m. in Kingston was twelve minutes later than 12:00 p.m. in Montréal and thirteen minutes before 12:00 p.m. in Toronto. It was a nightmare for station-masters, who could not deal with train schedules based on local time. The result was chaos for a transcontinental railway. • At a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute on February 8, 1879 he advocated for a single world time clock that he called Cosmic Time. He originally thought the new global time system could originate from the center of the planet before deciding that using the meridians to divide the planet into time zones was a better idea.
In the U.S., Charles Dowd had proposed this idea to the railroads of America, but Sanford Fleming insisted that not only the railroads but also the entire world should conform to this idea. • However, the need remained for global uniformity. When he attended the International Meridian Conference in 1884, most of his concepts were adopted. By 1929, nearly all of the countries of the world conformed to his ideas, leading him to be called “The Father of Standard Time.” • Sanford Fleming was knighted in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. He died in Halifax in 1915, having done all he could to ensure trains ran on time. IT’S A FACT • There are only three states and one Canadian province that have exempted themselves from Daylight Saving Time.
In Hawaii, the length of the days doesn’t change as much as it does on the continent so DST isn’t needed. In Arizona, most of the state does not follow DST with the exception of the Navajo Reservation which does, except for the Hopi Partitioned Land which lies inside the Navajo Reservation, which doesn’t. Things are especially confusing in Indiana where some parts of the state follow DST and some parts do not. To further confuse the issue, some parts of Indiana are on Eastern Standard Time and other parts on Central Standard Time. Saskatchewan also opts out of Daylight Saving because, although they are located in the area for Mountain Standard Time, they observe Central Standard Time, effectively meaning they are on Daylight Saving all year long anyway.
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TIMEX TIME • Joakim Lehmkuhl was president of the Waterbury Watch Company of Connecticut. He had purchased the small business just before World War II and saw sales soar when they started making timing fuses for the war. When the war ended and sales slumped, Lehmkuhl went looking for new ways to promote watches. After designing an inexpensive and nearly indestructible watch, Lehmkuhl named it Timex and sent his salesmen to jewelry stores to market it for the extraordinarily low price of $6.95. • Jewelers, who were accustomed to selling watches for $100 and making a $50 proﬁt, snubbed the new watches. When salesmen hurled the watches against walls to demonstrate their indestructibility, jewelers only thought of all the money they would lose by no longer needing to repair them. So Lehmkuhl sent his salesmen to drugstores and dimestores, where the watches sold well. • The campaign touting the product’s indestructibility was begun with golfer Ben Hogan shown with a watch strapped to his club and Mickey Mantle pictured with a watch attached to his Louisville Slugger. But the campaign really gathered speed when the company came out with a display that allowed shoppers to use levers to dunk a watch into water, then drop it on an anvil where it would be struck with a hammer. Such a display, which would have been unseemly in posh jewelry stores, was a hit in local drugstores. • In 1956, John Cameron Swayze started the series of “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” torture tests done live on TV. Watches were tossed into paint mixers, attached to surfboards, a racehorse’s leg, and the wrist of a high diver. Professional boxer Rocky Marciano wore a Timex during a punishing boxing routine. • Professional ﬁgure skater Barbara Ann Scott strapped a Timex to her skate. Watches were frozen in ice cube trays, taped to lobster claws in tanks, tossed over Grand Coulee Dam, attached to an archer’s arrow tip that was shot through a pane of glass, strapped to a tackle line and cast off a deep-sea ﬁshing boat, attached to the pontoon of a plane that landed on water, and swallowed by a farmer’s cow. In one ad, Swayze stood by as a dolphin tested the watch in a series of jumps at Marine World. Another featured Timex watches strapped to the bellies of Sumo wrestlers. Then there was the one which showed a psychic with mind power that could bend a fork, but couldn’t stop a Timex. Another had an opera singer’s shrill voice shattering every object in the opera hall – except the watch.
QUOTE Slam the Door on Fleas DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Every summer, my cats get ﬂeas. It’s agony for them and for me, because I have ﬂea bites on my ankles all through the warm season when I want to wear sandals. The problem goes away in late fall through winter, but comes back with warm weather. How can I stop the constant re-infestation? -- Trudy in Evanston, Ill. DEAR TRUDY: Fleas actually are a yearround problem, even in colder climates. They may not be as active in the winter, but even if dormant or dead, their eggs usually are still in the infested areas, waiting for the right conditions to hatch. During the winter, it’s important to keep dusting and vacuuming the entire house at least once a week, with particular attention paid to the areas your cats inhabit the most. Treat the house with a ﬂea-stopping preventative -- a number of products are available at the pet store, such as sprinkle-on treatments for the carpet, furniture and drapes. Or, research alternative repellents made with natural or household items such as lemon-juice sprays or essential oils. Comb the cats’ fur daily if possible, and go through it with a ﬂea comb once a week. As spring rolls around, start regular treatment with a ﬂea preventative. Once-a-month topical treatments can be very effective in reducing or eliminating ﬂeas, but many pet owners are against using them. Talk to the veterinarian about the most effective options. It’s also important to keep your cats indoors. There are a number of safety reasons to do this anyway, and it prevents ﬂeas from dropping onto their fur as they brush through grass or greenery. Start now with a ﬂea-prevention program, before you even feel an itch, and this summer can be much more comfortable.
Send your questions or comments to ask@ pawscorner.com. My booklet, “Fighting Fleas,” is now just 99 cents at the Kindle store. Download it today! (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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TIMEX TIME, cont’d • For 20 years, John Cameron Swayze sent watches through torture tests to demonstrate that they “take a licking and keep on ticking.” However, one commercial was done live on the Steve Allen Show. Swayze strapped a Timex to an outboard motor in a tank of water on the set. After the propeller quit spinning, the watch was nowhere to be found. Swayze slogged through the tank swearing, “It worked perfectly during rehearsals!” while Allen laughed himself hysterical off-stage. Swayze ﬁnally reported the watch was “probably still ticking” at the bottom of the tank.
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• Viewers sent in 1,000 suggestions a month for new tests. By 1960, 30% of all watches sold were Timex. By 1963, nearly half the watches sold in the U.S. were from Timex. By 1967, it was the world’s best-selling watch brand. • The slogan “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” remains one of the top rated ad campaigns — ranked No. 40 by Advertising Age on its list of the top 100 campaigns of the 20th century.
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