[tz] [PATCH 3/3] * europe (Europe/Vaduz): Now a link to Europe/Zurich.

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Tue Sep 10 06:40:25 UTC 2013

Brian Inglis wrote:

> Would time standards have been set from local or national observatories,
> universities with astronomy departments, or admiralty equivalents,
> prior to and after standard time?

Sure.  The Neuchatel Observatory had that role
during the standardization of Swiss time in the 19th
century.  But there was apparently a nontrivial difference
between the time it kept and that of Swiss civil clocks.
I've read stories of how one needed to change one's watch
several times to walk around a Swiss lake in that era.

I just now found more evidence that Zurich did not keep Bern
time during the period in question, contra the claims in
Shanks.  One block from Albert Einsten's old apartment in
Bern is the Zytglogge (the "time bell"), Bern's main clock
tower.  Ann M. Hentschel writes this about it:

  During the second half of the 19th century, the clocktower had
  the important task of indicating the local Bernese time. The
  clockworks, including puppets that revolve on the hour, were
  renovated in 1904. As early as 1874, the Society of Natural
  Scientists had recommended that the city modernize its
  timekeeping system and change over to a dozen public
  electrically driven clocks. The new telegraph and railway
  networks had made the introduction of a standard time
  indispensable. Clocks in Zurich, for example, diverged from
  Bernese clocks by as much as four and a half minutes.

This gives a more-realistic picture of how timekeeping
actually worked in Switzerland in the late 19th century.
By today's standards it was a real zoo.  Even Einstein
probably had trouble getting to work on time.

My source:

Hentschel AM.  The physical tourist: peripatetic highlights in Bern.
Phys perspect 2005;7(1):107-29

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