[time-nuts] Man with two watches...

Bill Hawkins bill at iaxs.net
Tue Sep 14 14:07:00 EDT 2004

This month's Pavek Museum of Broadcasting newsletter had a
feature article on Dr. Otto H. Schmitt, of Schmitt Trigger
fame (1938). He is described as a man "whose home, office and
laboratory were so full of gadgets, equipment, desks, tables,
inventions, tools, parts ... and many, many works in progress,
it was hard to walk from one end to the other. Narrow passages
between towering piles were the only way to navigate between
rooms." See www.otto-schmitt.org or
for details. He taught biometrics at the U of Minnesota.

Here is the relevant paragraph:
"As a scientist Otto understood the inherent nature of instruments
to fail. For this reason, he always carried many, many pens in a
pocket protector - but none of the same model lest they should
all fail simultaneously. Similarly, he wore watches on either arm
and carried one in his pocket. If the wristwatches did not agree,
Otto would consult his pocket watch. This "nonreplicative redundant
thinking" guided Otto and Viola in their scientific pursuits."

BTW, the 1938 Schmitt Trigger was used in a Nerve Axon Simulator
that was about 5 feet high, 3 feet wide and less than 2 feet deep.
It will be donated to the Bakken Museum, founded by the inventor
of the heart pacemaker.

Bill Hawkins

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