Tidbits from Timekeepers: Background information when reading Timekeepers

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Timekeepers

How the World Became Obsessed With Time

by Simon Garfield

Timekeepers by Simon Garfield X
Timekeepers by Simon Garfield
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2018, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2018, 368 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky
Buy This Book

About this Book

Tidbits from Timekeepers

This article relates to Timekeepers

Print Review

Simon Garfield's Timekeepers, is a book about our obsession with time. It is chock filled with the ways our lives revolve around it, the instruments we use to manage it, and some people's odd perspectives on it. Here are five quirky, fun facts from the book:

Providence Railroad1. The Oxford English Dictionary keeps a list of frequently used nouns. The word life comes in at #9, year at #3, month is all the way down at #40. Time comes in at #1.

2. A paragraph from Timekeepers that must be seen to be believed:

A set of timekeeping instructions issued in August 1853 by W. Raymond Lee, the superintendent on the Boston and Providence Railroad, laid bare the complexities, and the propensity for human error. In part, it reads like a Marx Brothers script: "Standard Time is two minutes later than Bond & Sons' clock, No 17 Congress Street, Boston" the first of these began. "The Ticket Clerk, Boston Station, and the Ticket Clerk, Providence Station, are charged with the duty of regulating Station Time. The former will daily compare it with Standard Time, and the latter will daily compare it with Conductor's Time; and the agreement of any two Conductors upon a variation in Station Time shall justify him in changing it."

I think the Marx Brothers would indeed be proud.

Harold Lloyd3. Neil Young once told a concert audience "that the first half of his concert would be new material, and the second half would be songs they already know." Having completed the first half of his concert with the new material, he then proceeded to play the first half again.

4. The scene in the 1923 silent film Safety Last!, starring comedian Harold Lloyd, when he is hanging off the clock was apparently inspired by William Strother, who was known as the Human Spider because he scaled buildings. When Lloyd saw Strother scaling the Brockman Building in Los Angeles, he was so impressed that he offered Strother a role in his next movie. However, Strother fell before filming began, so the role of Limpy Bill, Lloyd's roommate and fellow schemer in the movie, was written for Lloyd who did his own stunt.

Clock Hands5. While attending Baselworld, an immense convention for watchmakers to show off their latest designs, Garfield notices that all the watches are set to 10:10. As Garfield explains, "A watch set at 10:10 appears to be 'smiling'; it leaves the face free at 3 o'clock, the usual position for the date; it forms a pleasant and balanced appearance, ensuring the hands do not overlap and do not obscure the manufacturer's name at the top of the dial." Up until the 1950s, Timex used to set its watches to 8:20, but changed this when they realized that it gave the appearance that the watches were frowning.

Providence railroad station circa 19th century
Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock in Safety Last!
The 10:10 set for watches, at Baselworld, courtesy of luxurylaunches.com

Article by Rory L. Aronsky

This "beyond the book article" relates to Timekeepers. It originally ran in February 2018 and has been updated for the December 2018 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Let's Call It a Doomsday
    Let's Call It a Doomsday
    by Katie Henry
    However the world will end, Ellis Kimball is ready for it. Her obsessive stash of survivalist ...
  • Book Jacket: The Winemaker's Wife
    The Winemaker's Wife
    by Kristin Harmel
    Liv Kent's world is falling apart. After 12 years of marriage, her husband has decided he's done, ...
  • Book Jacket: On the Clock
    On the Clock
    by Emily Guendelsberger
    In her excellent debut, On The Clock, journalist Emily Guendelsberger thoughtfully examines the ...
  • Book Jacket
    America for Beginners
    by Leah Franqui
    Leah Franqui's first novel America for Beginners was well-reviewed by our First Impression readers; ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Yale Needs Women
    by Anne Gardiner Perkins


    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secrets We Kept
    by Lara Prescott

    Reese Witherspoon's Sept Book Club Pick!
    "This is the rare page-turner with prose that’s as wily as its plot."—EW
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michele Richardson

A story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman's belief that books can carry us anywhere.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Red Address Book

The Red Address Book
by Sofia Lundberg

"Wise and captivating, Lundberg's novel offers clear-eyed insights into old age and the solace of memory."--People

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A Place F E A E I I P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.