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World Time Globe Clock Runs... Backwards

Jack Feldman

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Jun 26, 2020
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I recently purchased an unsigned world time globe clock at a European auction. The clock is wired for EU (220v/50Hz), but I plugged into a KCC Athena frequency converter and it runs and keeps time, except that it runs counterclockwise. I was assured that the Athena had nothing to do with that, and as you can see in the attached video, the hour numbers on the outer ring of the globe run that way, too. I've seen some globe clocks with a similar hour orientation, but those have a stationery marker that tells you the hour as the globe turns. (I was told that has to do with the way time zones work.) Has anyone ever seen anything similar to this clock, or does anyone have an idea why it operates this way? The base swivels, but it's the same result no matter how it's oriented. Was it not meant to be used as a time-telling clock as well as a world clock? The description in the auction catalogue makes no mention of this, or much of anything else. Thanks for looking.
 

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Jack Feldman

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Jun 26, 2020
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...Sorry about that--I guess the video file was too large to play, at least on my iMac. If you know another way to attach it, just let me know. Here's a still of it. The hand with the little airplanes is the second hand.

Globe Clock..jpeg
 

bruce linde

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the best way to add videos is to upload to youtube... and then simply copy and paste the url into a post here to auto-embed the video.
 

Tim Orr

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Good evening, Jack!

Does the globe itself move? Which way? Does the equatorial ring move? Which way? The Earth itself does, of course, turn counterclockwise when viewed from the north pole.

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

Jack Feldman

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Jun 26, 2020
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Good evening, Jack!

Does the globe itself move? Which way? Does the equatorial ring move? Which way? The Earth itself does, of course, turn counterclockwise when viewed from the north pole.

Best regards!

Tim Orr

Hi Tim, and thanks for responding to the post. The globe doesn't move mechanically, but you can manually turn it, along with the transparent plastic inner rim that's divided into 20 + sections or zones, each with the names of the countries in that zone printed on it. (I don't think much of the design because the printing is very small and when it's directly over an hour marker it's hard to read. But that's the least of it!) There are also nuts you can loosen on the base to orient the globe differently, but unless it was meant to live in front of a mirror, backwards is backwards.

I get that the numbers go counterclockwise to follow the earth's rotation. The curved hour and minute hands are very long and hover over each zone as the clock runs. Assuming this is how it was made, it obviously wasn't meant to be used as a time-telling clock, but maybe as a learning tool for schools? I haven't come across any others online, and I'm not prepared to try to disassemble it to check for a manufacturer or some other identifying mark on the inside.And why would anyone want to mess with it to make it run like this, unless it was to give me a headache?
 

Tim Orr

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Good evening, Jack!

I am not surprised by your answers. I suspect the "clock" is working exactly as intended by the manufacturer. The clock itself is probably similar to one of those they call "barbershop clocks," which were meant to be seen in a mirror, as you suggest in your original post. Your video shows the second hand running counterclockwise, and so, I am sure, do the hour and minute hands.

It's not the easiest thing to read the time on a barbershop clock without a mirror, but it is, at least, consistent. Given that the hour hand is running counterclockwise, as is the hour ring, it's going to be possible to "read" the clock as a clock. You do have to guess at the minute indication.

By the way the hour ring is laid out, the hours progress around the equator just as does the time in the various 15-degree zones (all 24 of them), and just as the hour hand does. Presumably, since I can't read any of the text, the cities line up with their longitude lines so that each "wedge" of 15 degrees is aligned with the names of the cities in it.

Your clock motor, of course, is somewhat unusual, in that the hour hand makes just one revolution in 24 hours, not 12. The minute and second hands operate normally, but in counterclockwise rotation. That also makes reading the time a bit trickier.

I'm guessing that the hour ring might be adjustable (looks like there might be a locknut that can be loosened at the bottom), so that you could rotate the hour ring to match the correct hour with your local time. If so, you could "set" the clock to keep time for your area.

Looks also like the hour ring has both red and black numerals. Presumably, that's to indicate day and night, and could be aligned for local time as well.

The city ring, if properly aligned to the longitude of the time zones, would then tell you the hour at any location on the globe. So, when everything is set up, you can get your local time, plus the time anywhere in the world. That's not too bad, and yes, it would be a nice educational tool.

Dealing with the International Date Line is a little tricky, not insofar as the time is concerned, but as to what day it is, but that's a learning thing. The "day" suddenly jumps backward (going counterclockwise) as you cross the dateline, but the time will still read correctly.

Can't see them very well, but looks like there are some interesting air routes marked on the globe as well. Might be fun to try to date the thing by comparing the countries, especially those in Africa, with their dates of formation or major border shifts.

So, a nice piece of history, and a nice display of world time and time zones! I like it. Of course, there is the matter of having to have a special power supply to get the voltage and cycles right. Don't know what's inside or what the motor looks like, but not impossible that you could convert it to 110v and 60 cycles.

Best regards!

Tim

In many respects, I think it's a pretty interesting display of local and world time.
 

Jack Feldman

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Jun 26, 2020
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Tim, thanks for taking the time to send me all of that valuable info. I was actually kidding when I mentioned putting the clock in front of a mirror. I'd never heard of a barber shop clock before but I found several when I Googled it. As I looked at my clock again I noticed a little groove that goes all around the globe, and I realized that's where the transparent plastic ring should sit, which raises it above the hour markers and makes both easier to read. You're correct that there are two sets of hours, one red and one black, which I recognized from other 24-hour clocks I've come across. I mentioned in my first post that I'm using a frequency converter to allow the clock to run. I guess it might be possible to convert the motor to 110/60Hz, but I don't plan on keeping it running on a regular basis. I appreciate your giving me some interesting context for the clock. It would be nice to know who or what it was originally made for, but I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.
 

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