I remember school days, probably the infant class, when we had just learnt to read and write. One of the next tasks was “how to tell the time”. We were all given a round piece of cardboard, perhaps we even had to cut it ourselves with the aid of a plate or something round to draw the outline. I cannot remember exactly, things in the fifties were very elementary, and it was all do-it-yourself. The next step was writing numbers around the edge of the cardboard from 1 to 12. It was all very elementary, but it looked good. Then you had two strips of cardboard, one shorter than the other. Of course, one was the minute hand and the other for the hours. You made a hole in the middle of the cardboard circle and prodded one of those pins that you could pull apart, through the two hands and into he hole. The hands were fixed onto the clock face and you now learnt to tell the time, turning the hands manually and the teacher guiding you. I wonder how you do it today in this cyber age. The fun of the self made clock has probably been banned from the class room and everyone borrows the iPad or mobile from mummy and daddy, brings it to school and who needs to do it all manually? Apple, Samsung and Android to name a few are the every day names in the classroom for telling the time.
This is what time looks like today. The kids even learn that ther are 24 hours in a day. In my younger years time seemed to stop at 12 midday and began again with 1 o’clock after 12. Now we even have 13 o’clock which is my childhood days was a book from the children’s author Enid Blyton, fiction, just a children’s fantasy.
“What’s the time junior?”
and somewhere in the home there is number flashing to show the time. It might be the on the oven door in a small window, perhaps even on the microwave, and if the TV is switched on you will definitely find those numbers with the colon sign in the middle telling you that it is now 15:38 perhaps as my iPhone shows at the moment. The happy days of making your own cardboard clock are gone. Junior will probably be getting a new mobile phone for his next birthday, he cannot stay behind the others in the class and mummy wants to know where he is all of the time. Rows of school kids waiting for the school bus and passing time with comparing notes, on their mobile phones of course.
The station clock, based on the original Swiss design, is now out of date. This is a photo of the one at Solothurn main station, where I live in Switzerland. The second hand moving on its way, tick by tick, showing when the train is arriving. Why look up and strain your neck when you have your own punctual time, steered by a satellite somewhere in outer space, in your pocket. There will come a day when clocks will be extinct, only to be found in the local museum, or in picture books showing how it used to be.
I must admit I am one of these sinners again clock time. I forget to wear a watch, because who needs one. I have my watch in my pocket. It is silent, makes no noise, unless I tell it to. Perhaps I have a appointment, I can programme an alarm with 20-30 different tunes. at the moment my favourite is Sci-Fi which sounds as if a flying saucer is landing. The main thing is that I pay attention to it (and everyone else it seems when they hear it – I love weird sounds).
Will Big Ben, the large clock at the Houses of Parliment in London, one day be out of fashion? Will it be demolished to make way for the new mega digital version placed at the top of a tower. I do not think so, unless they can reproduce its chime digitally, which will probably be the case.
Life moves on and the kids in school are now missing all the fun of making their own cardboard clocks.