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The history of the stopwatch

Link here. The most fascinating part of this story is the recent discovery of the very first stopwatch, previously unknown, built in 1816, and remarkably similar to the standard analog stopwatches used for decades until the arrival of digital equipment.

The layout of the compteur also makes one suspect it ended up in 1816 via a time machine. Instead of inking paper, it has a silvered and frosted metal dial dominated by a large fraction-second hand like later stopwatches, and three subdials for marking hours, minutes, and whole seconds Along with this, the stopwatch has a button at 12 o’clock to start and stop it, plus an 11 o’clock button to instantly reset the dials. This is a feature common to modern stopwatches and one not thought to be invented until 1862 by Adolphe Nicole.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • Joe

    Imagine the tooling required back then that created this time piece, the different materials required to make a mechanical watch operate, the skills required to craft and fashion these parts that must be near perfect to operate in some semblance of harmony, boggles the mind.

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