[time-nuts] Re: Strange oscillations

Tom Van Baak tvb at leapsecond.com
Thu Sep 9 13:52:14 EDT 2004


Thanks for the plug for "Tuxedo Park". Some years
ago I read "The Invention That Changed the World"
about radar and the MIT Rad Lab, and it mentions
Loomis and his private lab. But "Tuxedo Park" is
one I hadn't heard about before so I picked it up.
I see it goes into detail about his lab and his precise
timekeeping interest.

Did you note the reference to the word "time nut"
at the top of page 70?

The dual Accutron anecdote warms the heart of
any time nut. Attached is a photo from a 1982
post-college trip taken at sunrise from the top of
the great Pyramid. See how many watches each
of the guys is wearing; 0, 1, 2; and you don't have
to guess which one is me.


----- Original Message -----
From: "John Ackermann N8UR" <jra at febo.com>
To: "Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement"
<time-nuts at febo.com>
Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 17:03
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Strange oscillations

> There's a really excellent book called "Tuxedo Park" about Alfred Loomis,
Wall Street multimillionaire and amateur physicist extraordinare of the
1920s through WWII.
> He was seriously into time measurement and in the '20s bought 3 of the
Shortt pendulum clocks, at that time the most accurate clocks in the world.
He mounted them on rock pedestals in the basement of his mansion/laboratory
and even with those "crude" devices was able to see the effect that the
pendulum of one clock had on the others.  He ended up having to orient the
three clocks with the pendulums swinging 120 degrees relative to each other
to minimize the effect.
> Other Loomis time anecdotes -- he had a dedicated phone line to Bell Labs
which sent a 1000 cycle note from their crystal standard to his lab; he and
the Labs guys would compare notes.  He would routinely write to the standard
frequency stations around the world to tell them how far off they were
(remember, this was just as crystals were coming into use, so propagation
was swallowed by the equipment errors.  And, in his older days, he used to
wear two Accutron watches, one on each wrist, and reverse them regularly to
correct for left vs. right orientations!
> Great book, well worth a read.
> 73,
> John

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