Sunday, August 8, 2010

Four Bells

Four bells. That's quittin' time around here. I hope you ran the brief video to hear this wonderful clock. It's my shop companion these days, mostly because the noise from the fluorescent lights drives my dog nuts. And to think, that's the reason I got her.

Back to the clock. It is a Seth Thomas 30-hour Ship's Bell clock made in 1919. These early versions of the ship's bell clock featured an external bell. Later the bell was housed inside the case. I do prefer this version as it is cool to look at and I think has a better sounding bell than the later version. Because its a 30-hour clock, part of my daily routine is to wind it. But I don't mind. I like the idea that it needs my help to do its job.

So, you may be asking what's with the four bells. For centuries the passage of time on a ship was signaled by ringing a bell every half hour. An hourglass kept the time. The ship's watches are divided up into 4-hour shifts; six per day. Therefore, at the completion of the first half hour of your watch, the bell would ring once, the first hour, it would ring twice, and so on until the end of the watch which was signaled with eight bells. Because I knock off at 6:00, the bell tolls four times.

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