Time Ticks Backwards on This Clock

Rob Spiegel

January 6, 2012

2 Min Read
Time Ticks Backwards on This Clock

Among the wedding presents my wife and I received was a square, white, corded electric wall clock with chrome trim around the face. I don't recall the brand, but given the time frame, I am sure it was made in the US. One day, I was in the process of rearranging some things on the wall, when I knocked the clock to the floor. It was still plugged in, but it was no longer running.

This was in the days of wind-up watches. When they quit, sometimes after winding them, you had to restart the mechanism by gently rocking them back and forth. I tried that with the clock, but it didn't work. I continued with the rocking motion, getting progressively vigorous until I was shaking the clock violently. Whether it was the motion or my look of anger, I don't know, but the clock started.

As I rehung the clock, I noticed the second hand was running backwards. I unplugged it, waited a few minutes, plugged it back in, and got the same reverse results. The minute and hour hands also followed suit and were running in reverse. The clock still kept perfect time and we learned how to read it in reverse. It drove house guests crazy, but my wife and I thought it was cool.

The clock continued running backwards for more than a year, even after we moved it to another wall and plugged it into a different outlet. One day, I plugged a DC adapter in the same outlet and the clock made a weird grinding noise, stopped, and then started again, only this time it was running in the right direction. I have no idea what caused any of this, but the clock was a good and faithful servant for many years until it was dispatched to the big appliance store in the sky. If there was a monkey involved, I would like to shake his hand.

This entry was submitted by Ralph L. Wirtel and edited by Rob Spiegel

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About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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