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  • Gloria Hoffner

Swing Into Daylight Savings Time

Next Sunday is daylight savings time when everyone in the US, except those living in Hawaii and Arizona, will move their clocks forward one hour. The idea dates back to Benjamin Franklin who thought more hours of daylight would make workers more productive. It was first used by Germany in WWI.

Keeping track of time itself dates back to ancient sundials used by the Egyptians and water clocks used by the Chinese. Here’s a way for residents to understand how grandfather clocks work, a method that revolutionize per-industrialized America.

Experiment: How a grandfather clock works.

Materials: Heavy strings cut in the following lengths: 10 inches, 20 inches, 39 inches, and 48 inches, fishing weight, clothes hanger and a watch with a second hand.

Process: Tie the weight to the 48 inch string. Tie the other end of the string to the clothing hanger. Pull the string to one end of the clothes hanger. Start the string swinging and count the number of swings in 60 seconds. Pull the string to the other side of the hanger and repeat.

Do this same process with each length of string.

Result: the 39-inch string will move 60 times in one minute.

The Science behind the Experiment: In 1673 the grandfather clock was invented by Christopher Huygens based on a pendulum discovery. The pendulum take the same amount of time to make a swing no matter how fare it travels or how heavy the weight. However, the longer the string the longer it takes to complete a swing. Thus the 39-inch string will accurately measure 60 seconds on one minute.

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