Science & Technology- August

As Time goes by

In 1840 a standard time was established in Britain when the Great Western Railway used the electric telegraph to synchronise local mean times to a single standard time. By 1855, time signals from an electro-magnetic clock at Greenwich were sent through wires alongside the railway lines across the length and breadth of Britain.
In 1924 The Greenwich Time Signal (GTS), popularly known as the pips, is a series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals was introduced by the BBC to mark the precise start of each hour.
The Post Office Speaking Clock has kept time since 1936, when it was also known as “TIM” the three-letter code short for “time” which callers dialled on old-fashioned alphabetic phones. The mechanism used was an array of motors, glass discs, photocells and valves which took up the floorspace of a small room. The voice was that of London telephonist Ethel Jane Cain, who had won a prize of 10 guineas in a competition to find the “Golden Voice”.
In September 1995, Digital Radio (DAB) was introduced in the UK, however there is a slight delay caused by the length of time it takes to encode the DAB signal at broadcast and then decode the signal via the radio, which means that the BBC transmitted time signals do not indicate the precise time if received on a DAB radio.
Maybe Terry Pratchett was right with “Progress just means bad things happen faster”.
Michael Milsom