Spending time, sharing time

When you hear the phrase “lost technology”, you tend to think of something mysterious from millennia ago.

However, as I discovered from “Einstein’s clocks, Poincaré’s maps”, even just a century ago, there were systems both surprising and sophisticated.

“Distributing time”
“Consuming time”

This is a sort of precursor to NTP, within a very locally constrained area, with this pneumatic control of the precision of everyone’s clocks in the city.

It must’ve been magic for most people in the world then — well, it’s still magic now, people just don’t care as much how anything around them works — and I wouldn’t even believe they existed if I didn’t see strong evidence.

Is there a takeaway from this, other than a mild curiosity? Maybe that anything is possible, because anything was possible in the past.

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