This was not precise and the operator could not always answer when the subscriber wanted. The mechanical speaking clock used rotating glass discs where different parts of the time were recorded on the disc. This was amplified to give sufficient impetus to drive the motor. Because of the low torque available, a hand wheel was used to spin the motor on start up. The voice was provided by Gordon Gow.
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The units were designed for continuous operation. Both units in Melbourne and Sydney were run in tandem primary and backup. For daylight saving time changes, one would be on line while the second was advanced or delayed by one hour and at the Australian Eastern Standard time, would be switched over to the standby unit. As well as the speaking clocks, there was ancillary equipment to provide timing signals, 1 pulse per second, 8 pulses per minute and 8 pulses per hour.
From a maintenance point of view, the most important part of the mechanical clocks was to ensure that they were well oiled to minimise wear on the cams and to replace blown bulbs in the optical pickups from the glass disk recordings.
Building M5 , the control signals were duplicated and a second bank of Caesium Beam Primary standards installed so the cutover was transparent with no loss of service. This mechanical system was replaced with a digital system in Each speaking clock ensemble consisted of two announcing units Zag , a supervisory unit CCU , two phase-locked oscillators, two pulse distribution units, a Civil Time Receiver plus a spare , and two or four Computime baud modems. The various components were sent for commercial production after a working prototype was built in the Telstra Research Laboratory TRL.
Design incorporated TRL oscillators in the phase locked oscillator units designed at TRL and controlled by two tone from the Telstra Caesium beam frequency standards. Ged Company built civil time receivers. The civil time code generators and two tone generators were designed and built within TRL. The changeover occurred at , September 12, Each state capital had a digital speaking clock for the local time of day with one access number for all Australia, In May the remaining Telstra services were withdrawn and the digital hardware was decommissioned.
Telstra ended the service on the midnight of October 1, and Australians are no longer able to dial In Belgium, the speaking clock used to be reachable on the numbers Dutch language , French language , and German language. At the time of the number change, the service received calls per day. The NRC provides a Telephone Talking Clock service; voice announcements of Eastern Time are made every 10 seconds, followed by a tone indicating the exact time.
Dialling in any city connects to a speaking clock that tells the current time in China. Despite China spanning five time zones, only one time is kept over the country, therefore only one zone related service is required and the same time would be announced regardless of where the call was made. Rates are charged according to the ordinary local number, generally around 0.
The first Neiti Aika service was started in and was the first automated phone service in Finland. The voice of the speaking clock can be male or female depending on whose phone company service you are using.
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In France , the speaking clock horloge parlante has been in service since 14 February However, since September a call placed from outside France or its territories yields only a recording indicating that the number is no longer available. On 1 October , a system was installed in the Haarlem telephone exchange automated in which indicated the time using series of tones, with number In , electronic engineer and inventor F.
Leeuwrik built a speaking clock for the municipal telephone service of The Hague using optically recorded speech, looping on a large drum. The female voice was provided by the then year-old school teacher Cor Hoogendam, hence the machine was nicknamed Tante Cor Aunt Cor. In , this system was replaced by a machine that looked like a record player with three pick-up arms, telling the time at 10 second intervals followed by a beep.
The text was spoken by actress Willie Brill. The service was now called over million times a year.
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In April , the machinery was replaced by a digital device with no moving parts. The voice was provided by actress Joke Driessen and the clock's accuracy is maintained by linking it to the German longwave radio transmitter DCF To comply with international guidelines limiting double-zero to use as an international prefix, the number was changed on 3 December  to , and later to The service still receives approximately four million calls a year. The service is reached by dialling 45 calls are 99c per minute. MSL has been running the service since The speaking clock in Poland is known as Zegarynka which means the clock girl.
Though Telstra operates the billing and network for the talking clock, the actual service is provided by Melbourne-based company Informatel.
Benjamin also told the paper that the service receives about two million inquiries a year, which is mind-blowing when you think about it. Bask in the retro glow. Toggle navigation. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon. Globe Icon An icon of the world globe. If you like getting the current time in Australia over the phone by calling the 'talking clock' on , the fun is over. James Hennessy. Sep 30, , PM. Naval Observatory still offers a time-by-phone service.
But we get a big flood of calls when we switch to Daylight [saving] time and back. As it turns out, people have been telephoning the time for generations. In the beginning, a telephone-based time service must have seemed like a natural extension of telegraph-based timekeeping—but it would have been radical in its own way, too, because it represented a key shift to an on-demand service. In the 19th century, big railroad companies had used the telegraph to transmit the time to major railway stations.
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By the early 20th century, people could simply pick up the telephone and ask a human operator for the time. During World War I, several cities discontinued such services to save time and labor, but many of them returned after the war.
In New York, in the s, you could ask for the time by dialing Meridian —though in those days, there was a fee associated with the call. Automated systems emerged in the decades that followed, including one invention that featured a mechanical hand that picked up the phone receiver.
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By , according to a New York Times article that year, the local service was getting about 90, calls a day. By the s, a single market of callers generated hundreds of thousands of daily calls. Mary Moore of Atlanta, Ga. Moore, a Vassar graduate and a housewife with three children, announces the time for the Bell System in communities. When I was calling the time, Jane Barbe was likely the announcer.