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Copyright 1893 – Watch Puzzler

by J.Peter

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C.K.Colby DialThis dial was in a junk pile at work and I think it’s really interesting. It took me a lot of thought to figure out what all the numbers in the center are for. Any guesses? The only prize is pride. If you know, or even if you don’t take a guess. Post your guesses as comments.


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  1. Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Looks like some kind of table, for conversion or something?

    My best quess!

  2. Lunkenheimer
    Posted June 13, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    The dial will give you speed in miles per hour (MPH) if you look for the time in seconds to cover one mile. For example, the 30/120 (third from the left on the top row in the table) shows that if you record 30 seconds to traverse one mile, then you are traveling at 120 MPH. This would make for a quick way to compute your speed in the days before electronic calculators. Because of the copyright date I would think this is related to Railroad speed measurements.

  3. J.Peter
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes, finally. Those numbers correspond to units of speed be it km/h or mph or whatever. I expect the dial was on a pocket chronograph. Congratulations!

  4. lunkenheimer
    Posted June 15, 2008 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t think about anything but miles but you are correct that it could apply to kilometers. I suppose that it could also apply to calculating production rate of a product e.g. you produce one screw in 30 seconds or anything else that you want to time in seconds and convert to units per hour.

    Do you have any information on what movement(s) it might fit?

    Considering the range of conversions provided, it would be well suited for railroad use with speeds in MPH though this is still just a guess.

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