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"john arnold anisa ramirez" Discussed on WNYC 93.9 FM
"Woman named Ruth Belleville died in 1943, her longtime companion, Arnold was right next to her. Actually, he was sitting on her night stand. Which might seem a little bit strange until you realize Arnold was a clock well, was named after the maker who made it in the late 17 hundreds. John Arnold Anisa Ramirez is a material scientist who has written about Ruth Belleville and how the 24 7 world was invented. And so on. The face of the clock is his Arnold because of the maker, and so she just named it. Arnold and her family had been in this business of selling time using this clock for 100 years. Of course, time existed before Ruth, Belleville and Arnold. Since about 17 50 Ben Franklin had been celebrated for the phrase time is money. But Ramirez, who's the author of the book, The Alchemy of Us, argues that one of the strange things about time is that once we created fancy, almost perfect clocks and found materials like quartz to stick in them. Those clocks and those materials. Will they turned around and started to reinvent our lives? Ruth, Belleville and Arnold. They were a sign if anybody needed it. Time was about to conquer everything. She would wake up early in her home in Maidenhead, which is about 30 miles outside of London, Take the train to London and then take the trolley over to Greenwich and then walk up a very, very steep hill to the Royal Observatory. That's where GMT Greenwich mean time was, and they had precise clocks. So she would go there. Then she'd make her way down the hill and over to London to various customers that needed to know the precise time. See, this is before cell phones and radio and television where people could get the precise time for the from those gadgets. But they wanted to know the exact time and the exact time was located at the Royal Observatory so she would walk around different parts of London selling the time. Why would people pay her for the exact time Like who cared to the minute? You know where the second Well, it ends up that navigators really needed to know the precise time because they use the precise time in order to determine longitude. See if they compared the time that they knew that London had, and if they knew the time because of the position of the sun, they could figure out where they were on the map. But if they had a clock that was wrong Would know they wouldn't know exactly where they were on the map, and that could actually be deadly. They could end up in the wrong place. So so they certainly Navigator certainly needed to know the precise time Okay, factories needed to know the precise time so they knew when to start and stop the work day. Businesses needed to know it because they had to note when transactions happened. So they were a range of different people who needed to know the exact time Esso where they're multiple people. I assume she was not the only person in this business. You just went around saying like this is the exact time here's my watch. You set yours to match mine. Well, that's a good question. Well, her father started the business, and he was the only person in town selling the time and astronomers needed to know the time because they needed it for their observation. All work, okay. And then our mother sold time for a while, and there were other things that were populating that started to sell the time like the telegraph. But although that was a new gadget, it ends up that Arnold. The clock was actually more precise because it was a very well made watch. And then And then, when Ruth came along, there were even more businesses that sold the time even even radio And also you can call to call a telephone number and get the precise time so she had less customers than her father her father had about 200 customers, and she had about 40 or 50. But that was because, well, there were other ways to get the precise time. So in some ways, you know to like, modern years. It sounds crazy that somebody ever had this job. But can you just talk actually about the ways in which the need for precise time itself at that moment was a really modern thing that showed Like this increasing importance of time and that just time but really knowing what time exactly it Woz. Well, time, they say, is one of the most used words in the English language. And if you look at the dictionary of the Entomology of a whole range of words, you will see that they're in the 18 hundreds because we were obsessed with time before we used to say, Hey, meet me on Tuesday and you would just show up. I didn't say a precise time. And you would just wait Now, if I say meet me on Tuesday. If I say meet me on Tuesday now and I say to 30 and I'm late by 20 minutes, you're out of there. We already live in this time, this world of being obsessed with tar So time was a way to coordinate people's actions and to move things faster. You could you could have appointment you can. You can have your gun of trains running, so it was really key to. It was an underlying grid that we all had to snap onto. In order for the world that we know toe work, and in Ruth stay that was still starting to happen. So that's why her business was it was able to survive. You also talk about. I mean ways in which, knowing about time, um, in different ways than people had in previous centuries. It changed human behavior. It changed how we slept. It changed how we interacted with other people. It changed, you know, sort of how society was structured. Absolutely. I mean in ends up that before the industrial revolution, we used to sleep differently. We slept in two intervals. We would go to bed around nine or 10 o'clock, sleep for about 3.5 hours and then wake up on purpose and do things around the house. Like so read. Go visit our neighbors because they're up to and then And then after that hour of partying, we go back to sleep for another 3.5 hours. These two segments of sleeper called 1st and 2nd sleep and everyone slept that way. So what changed that? Two things artificial like that allowed us to go to bed later. And the second thing that changed it was the clock. We had to get up early to get to the factory, Both of those segments of sleeper truncated by the light and by the clock, and so it didn't make sense to go to sleep, Wake up in the middle of the night and then go back.