What Time Is It?

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Mark Twain’s Quest to Bring Affordable Watches to the Masses

by Stephen J. Mexal Smithsonian.com

Today, it’s common for celebrities to hawk products that seem to have little, if anything, to do with what made them famous in the first place. Although this phenomenon may seem recent, it’s actually quite old. American novelist Mark Twain, for instance, endorsed a lot of products. Some made him money; some didn’t.

But there was at least one product he genuinely loved. Twain loved watches. And like many watch enthusiasts, perhaps the only thing Twain loved more than owning watches was complaining about them.

In one piece published in the November 26, 1870, issue of the Buffalo Express, the 34-year-old told a story about getting a new watch. Wanting to make sure he was setting it to the correct time, he brought it to a watchmaker, who took one look and told him it needed to be adjusted. No, Twain explained, the watch was new—he only needed to know the correct time. The watchmaker refused to listen. Finally, Twain relented and let him adjust the watch. Sure enough, the watch, which had previously kept perfect time, began to gain several minutes a day.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The painting by Dali, depicts his skin and the element of his time, which is 3rd decan taurus, Carbon.
    He was excellent at painting his time, and depicting the shape and function of it. Surrealism, is the place where, we find the real, and the behind the veil aspects of our condition as it changes with time, and the truth behind why we think certain thoughts, do certain things, and events happen when they do.
    The time, not spoken by any that I know, is we are moving into 1rst decan Aquarius, and the secondary time is the architecture and the oil and water. All the cycles play out on the macro, so you can’t know the time by just one cycle. It’s a stew and you just have to know what’s in it. I consider groups like the Tertons criminals for not speaking,. The Catholics and the Jews wouldn’t if they knew. It is a financial negative to speak of it.