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Marking Modern TimesA History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life$
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Alexis McCrossen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226014869

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226015057.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Time’s Tongue and Hands

Time’s Tongue and Hands

The First Public Clocks in the United States

(p.24) Chapter 1 Time’s Tongue and Hands
Marking Modern Times

Alexis McCrossen

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the history of public timekeepers in the United States, with particular attention given to the city of Philadelphia, where the reliance on bells to mark public time began to give way to modern timekeeping mechanisms and practices. Time could be signaled by a horn, a drum, or any instrument, but in American towns, time has been signaled by a bell since the colonial period. During the nineteenth century, hour bells rang throughout America, alarms punctuated backhouses and even bedrooms, gongs and drums signaled the action in factories and fields. Even the Catholic church bells invited the Angelus to call devotees to pray.

Keywords:   time, Philadelphia, timekeeping, timekeepers, United States

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