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American Synchronicity

American Synchronicity

Turn-of-the-Century Tower Clocks, Street Clocks, and Time Balls

(p.114) Chapter 5 American Synchronicity
Marking Modern Times
Alexis McCrossen
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses how the public adapted to the use of synchronized public clocks in telling time. After the adoption of national standard time, Americans living in towns and cities began to rely on public clocks for a sense of synchronicity, which was called the “perfect accord.” Public clocks not only inspired devotion among citizens, but also gave rise to suspicion. This suspicion was rooted in the incidents of public clocks being unsynchronized, resulting in confusion about which clock should be followed. Amidst the confusion, railroad clocks garnered more authority as they adopted standard time for the train schedules. This practice led citizens to move toward the modern time discipline.

Keywords:   standard time, public clocks, synchronicity, railroad clocks, modern time discipline

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