FW: Clocks in Novosibirsk in 1957

Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E] olsona at dc37a.nci.nih.gov
Wed Apr 20 23:56:21 UTC 2011

I'm forwarding this message from Mark Brader, who is not on the time zone mailing list. Those of you who are on the list, please direct replies appropriately.

From: Mark Brader [msb at vex.net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 7:49 PM
To: Olson, Arthur David (NIH/NCI) [E]
Subject: Clocks in Novosibirsk in 1957

Here is an item I found accidentally on page 16 of the (Toronto)
Globe and Mail for April 25, 1957, while I was searching online for
another topic.  I thought the members of TZ might be interested in
the Novosibirsk part and amused by the rest.  Please forward to the
list if you think appropriate.  I am not on the list; replies should
be directed accordingly.

I have not gone to the library to locate the cited article in Maclean's
(a Canadian newsmagazine).  There may be small errors due to the scan
not being fully legible as well as my own errors in typing.

#          Only an Hour Apart
#                         Clocks in Novosibirsk
#                         Comparatively Simple
#                            by MAGGIE GRANT
#  In a recent issue of Maclean's Magazine, Blair Fraser mentions the
#  plight of citizens of Novosibirsk, Siberia, who for 38 years have
#  had the clocks at the east end of their city one hour faster than
#  those of the west end.
#  This is due to a time boundary running smack through the middle
#  of the city, and Mr. Fraser dubs the Novosibirskites the "world's
#  most patient people" for putting up with this situation for so long.
#  Now, I sympathize with Siberian citizens on almost every count,
#  but I cannot shed any tears over this one.  Having a city's clocks
#  exactly one hour apart for 38 years sounds like an ideal arrangement
#  to me.  I'm certain that a normally intelligent person would take
#  no more than a few days to catch on to the time differential,
#  and surely any dunce would know which end of the city was which.
#  Therefore, a western Novosibirskite, caught in the eastern end
#  of town, would in all probability do little more than glance at
#  a clock before exclaiming:
#  "Zlug' Krztoxni ghow'.  Qwetevinoff da gmuy zlot pzis ud gvenn!"
#  Which translated means: "By Jove!  A quarter to eight!  I must
#  hurry if I am to be home for dinner at seven!"
#  Compared to this simple situation, consider the trials to which
#  I am subjected by the timepieces under my roof.
#  There is the grandfather clock in the hall, for instance, a family
#  heirloom and a charming thing to look upon.  But the poor old dear
#  has never recovered from the shock of being moved from Mother's
#  house to mine, and simply cannot keep itself going.  I have long
#  ago written it off as a deadhead, but Mother is a tenacious soul,
#  and every once in a while she hopefully sets the pendulum in motion.
#  If she would only warn me on these occasions, I would not be so
#  alarmed when it suddenly bongs out some totally irrelevant hour.
#  The Empire clock on the mantel, on the other hand, has a
#  delightfully silvery voice.  It keeps accurate time, too, but is
#  addicted to flipping its minute hand into the fireplace at frequent
#  intervals.  These occurrences are apt to go unnoticed until the
#  time is urgently needed to set other clocks, when the cry goes up:
#  "The hand!  The hand!  It's off again!" and all activity ceases
#  in favor of ash-sifting.  The offending member, once retrieved,
#  is dusted off and replaced on the dial at the time we presume to
#  be correct, but which seldom is.
#  Another horological eccentric hangs on the kitchen wall, an electric
#  model in perky red and white to match the decor.  Unfortunately it
#  got knocked down one day, and although we put it all together as
#  best we could, it has observed none of the laws of Greenwich since.
#  You can look at that clock one minute and it will point to 12:10,
#  but three minutes later, glancing at it again, you will discover
#  that it has moved on to 4:30.  Never once have I caught it in the
#  act of whizzing from point to point, and this I regret, because
#  I am sure it would be a challenging experience.
#  The other electric timepiece is immobilized once a week by
#  Mrs. Swallow, the charlady, who favors its especial wall plug
#  above all others for vacuum cleaning activities.
#  Further undependables about the place are two travelling clocks that
#  run for 18 and 15 hours respectively, and a wristwatch that is good
#  for only 11.  Under these circumstances, I consider it rather unfair
#  of people to call me Laggy Maggie.  After all, I do the very best
#  I can by going from room to room, jotting down the various times,
#  adding them up, and then striking an average.  Although I admit the
#  system is far from perfect, it's the best I've been able to devise.
#  I wonder if somebody in Novosibirsk can offer a better one?

Mark Brader, Toronto               "Don't be silly -- send it to Canada"
msb at vex.net                                     -- British postal worker

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