Alfred Sohm’s Time-Hiding Clock

Benton Harbor News-Palladium - July 18, 1940

A "thinking clock" with no hands and designed to make time-telling difficult has just been invented and built by an ingenious Benton Harbor manufacturer, Alfred L. Sohm, who operates the Acme Game company at the Benton Harbor Industrial center.

The clock, first of its kind ever to be built, announces the hours by a complicated system of lights, buzzers, chimes, and bells. Its inventor proudly claims that several minutes will be required by the average person to tell from the new clock just what time it is.

While the person is trying to tell the time, he will receive all sorts of other information that is designed to distract his attention and confuse him even further. The revolutionary design of the new instrument is expected by its builder to make "clock watching" a fascinating pursuit.

While the new device is perhaps reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg patent, apparently there is a sound principle behind it. The object is to attract attention and discussion for advertising purposes. Instead of merely glancing at the hands of a clock to get the time, people using this clock will have to ponder a bit, and meanwhile they will be taking in concentrated doses of advertising.
     Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 01, 2022
     Category: Technology | Rube Goldberg Devices | Advertising | 1940s

People already try to avoid looking at advertisement at all costs. That gizmo will only make it easier to do so, as it's far easier to ask the time to a passerby with a watch.
Posted by Yudith on 03/06/22 at 02:26 PM
Some day, when I have all my ducks in a row (yeah, like that's ever going to happen), I'm going to build a clock that uses Base8 (instead of the Base2 or Base3, Base10 and Base4, Base7, Base10 mixture we use today).

Each day will be in 8 parts (three hours), each of those parts divided into 8 parts (22.5 minutes), each of those divided into 8 parts (~2.8 minutes), and each of those into 8 parts (~21 seconds).

Yes, four hands instead of three, but you usually know which three-hour period you're in, and you don't often need the half-minutes, so you'll only have to pay attention to the second and third hands.

An added benefit is the simplicity in gearing. It can be far more robust and needs fewer jewels, improving accuracy.
Posted by Phideaux on 03/06/22 at 06:09 PM
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