Why was the railroadWatchesdeveloped ?To understand how important the railroad watch was, first we need to know a little about the railroad. By 1880 there were thousands of miles of track and hundreds of trains sharing these tracks at the same time. To be sure that no two trains met in the wrong direction, time was of great importance. In those days there was no time standard, each city and town operated on their own time schedule.
During this period the many railroads had 50 different time zones to manage.The conductor of the train had to be aware of the always changing time zones to be able to avoid accidents. The railroads soon developed a standard of times zones across the country the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific which was later adopted by congress as the national time standard. However a great many accidents still happened due to inaccurate time keeping devices. In 1893 after a major accident claiming several lives, a standard for the manufacture of watches for railroad use was presented. The following general standards had to be met to qualify for railroad use.Railroad Watches shall be:Of american manufacture in size 18 or 16.Compensated for temperature.Lever set.Fitted with 17 or more jewels.
Adjusted for 5 positions.Fitted with a patented regulator,double roller and the steel escape wheel.Open face with winding stem at 12 O’ clock position.Black Arabic numerals, each minute delineated on a white faceMust be timed to +/- 30 seconds per week.Along with these standards the approved watches were required to be inspected and certified by a local inspector to see that each watch met the accuracy standards set by the railroad. Commonly these watches were submitted by employees on a quarterly basis.American manufacturers anwered this call by producing what was then known as the Standard Watch or Railroad Watch. Following this standard allowed for the manufacture of the most accurate time pieces ever developed and still marveled at today for their superior ability to keep time accurately.These actions brought about a railroad system that was much safer and on time.
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