Clocks for Hard Times
Copyright © October 1, 2011 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
During a serious long-term hard times event you will still need to know the time of day. But if your source of electricity is not dependable then an electric clock will not be dependable. In this type of situation a battery-operated clock would be extremely useful.
There are several different battery-operated devices that show the time of day. Let's look at three of those devices:
Some people believe that they will not care about the time during a serious long-term hard times event when electricity may be either undependable or unavailable. However, if you stop and think about it you will probably realize that you will still need to know the time for one or more of the following reasons:
- A Wristwatch: Most wristwatches are powered by a small replaceable battery. The life expectancy of that small battery will vary from between three to five years depending on a variety of different factors. When you wristwatch battery eventually expires, what are your plans for replacing it? It is usually not very difficult to remove the back of a wristwatch, and remove the old battery, and insert a new battery (if you have a fresh one that is not already several years old). However, replacing the back onto the wristwatch is not as easy as you might expect. Most battery replacement centers have special tools they use to correctly position the back onto the wristwatch and then apply the correct amount of pressure to seat the back onto the wristwatch into its original position. If you try to do this at home without the correct tooling then you could break the glass front of your wristwatch, or you could damage the wristwatch in some other way. Therefore, it would probably be a good idea to have something in addition to a wristwatch for a serious long-term hard times tragedy event.
- A Wall Clock: It hangs on the wall and it is usually visible from several feet away. Some wall clocks only show the time of day. Some wall clocks show the time, date, day of week, and even the temperature. I have purchased several of these battery-operated wall clocks over the years and the ones that only show the time are still working over twenty-years later. However, several of the more sophisticated wall clocks that I have purchased during the past two years would not work correctly. At least one of the functions, such as the temperature, or the alarm, would not work. Therefore, I had to return most of these digital wall clocks for a refund.
- A Table Clock: It will show the time and it will usually have an alarm. Some of the digital clocks also show the date, the day of the week, and the internal room temperature. Most of these clocks work on a single AA battery. In my opinion, each family should have one or more of these simply battery-operated table clocks for a serious long-term hard times tragedy event.
A full function battery-operated clock will help you to easily keep track of the date and the day of the week. And if you have rechargeable batteries and a solar battery charger then you will know this information for many decades into the future.
- If you have some type of job then you will still need to wake up in the morning and appear at work at the proper time or else you will lose your job. Losing your job during a serious long-term hard times tragedy event could have serious life-threatening ramifications for your entire family.
- If you have several labor intensive chores that you must do every day then you will need to start work early every morning. If you can get most of your chores done before the hottest part of the day then you will expend less energy, burn fewer calories, and get more accomplished. But if you sleep late then you may have to work through the hottest part of the day just to get your daily chores accomplished and this could have serious implications for your health.
- You can keep track of how long it takes you to do each of your chores so you can better plan your daily routine. And if one of your daily chores occasionally requires more time than usual then you can still predict the amount of work remaining for your other chores.
- If you wake up during the night and it is still dark, then it is nice to know what time it is. If it still several hours before sunrise then you can relax and try to go back to sleep. But if it is only ten or twenty minutes before sunrise then you can get out of bed and begin your daily routine.
How to Read the Face of a Clock
There are a total of sixty tick marks around the dial.
- The pointers on the face of a clock are called "hands."
- The very thin long hand is the second hand.
- The long medium thick hand is the minute hand.
- The short very thick hand is the hour hand.
Some ticks are short and thin and some ticks are big and long.
There are 12 big tick marks and each big tick mark aligns with one of the 12 numbers on the outside dial.
There are four small tick marks between each big tick mark.
In total, there are five tick marks (both big and small) between each number on the face of the clock.
The big numbers around the outside face of the clock are interpreted in three ways as follows:
- Hours: If you want to know the hour of the day then look at the short thick hand and see what number it is pointing towards. When the big hand is between two numbers then the smaller of the two numbers is the hour. In the illustration of the face of the clock the short thick hand is pointing just a tiny bit beyond the number 10. Therefore the short thick hand is between the number 10 and the number 11. We use the smaller of these two numbers so the correct hour of the day would be 10.
- Minutes: The long medium thick hand points at the minute. There are sixty minutes in every hour and there are sixty tick marks around the entire outside face of the clock. There are three ways to determine the number of minutes as follows:
- Count the number of tick marks between the number 12 and the tip of the minute hand. In the illustration the minute hand is thirteen ticks past the number 12 so the number of minutes would be thirteen.
- Multiply the big number on the face of the clock by five, and then add the number of additional tick marks past the big number. In the illustration the minute hand is past the number two, so we would multiply two by five which equals ten and then add the number of additional tick marks past the number two which is three.
Therefore, 2 x 5 = 10 + 3 = 13. The correct number of minutes would be thirteen.
- Count by fives beginning with the number one, such as 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60.
In the illustration this would be five (1), ten (2), and then add the three extra tick marks to yield thirteen minutes.
Therefore the time of day would be 10 hours and 13 minutes or 10:13.
- Seconds: To determine the number of seconds look at the very thin long hand.
In the illustration the thin long hand is between the number 5 and the number 6.
We determine the number of seconds the same way we determine the number of minutes above, except now we are counting seconds and not minutes.
The second hand is pointing at 26 seconds on the face of the clock.
Therefore, the total correct time would be 10 hours, 13 minutes, and 26 seconds.
A Brief Summary of Time Measurement Units
60 seconds = one minute.
60 minutes = one hour.
12 hours = one-half day.
24 hours = one day.
AM (after midnight) is from midnight to sunrise to lunch time (noon). 12:00 AM is midnight.
PM (past midday) is from lunch time (noon) to sunset to midnight. 12:00 PM is midday or noon.
Military time = 24 hours per day with no AM or PM and the time begins each day at midnight.
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