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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:33 am   #1
electronicskip
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Default Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Just been watching todays Bargain Hunt on BBc1.
As part of the show they visited the Museum of Timekeeping in Notts.

They actually powered up the original Speaking clock machine with the original discs and demonstrated it to the presenter.

Very interesting indeed .

Does the speaking clock still exist? in one form or another?
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:42 am   #2
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

If I say Alexa what's the time, I get a spoken answer,

In the car I say OK google what's the time with the same result.

As for dialling a number to hear a talking clock, haven't a clue

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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:52 am   #3
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

"TIM or the BT Speaking Clock is alive and well and can be heard by dialling 123 though these days it costs a minimum of 31 pence": another result says it's only available from a BT or EE landline and costs 50p. Quite a while since I tested its availability, but our only phone is a BT landline so I could be tempted one day.

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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:54 am   #4
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

I checked, it was still working at 12:51:20 seconds precisely. So unlikely to be taken off within the timescale of this thread...
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 1:01 pm   #5
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

I remember ringing the speaking clock when i was a child quite a lot .
Mum and Dad must have wondered why their phone bill was so high!

I seem to remember there was a competition a few years ago to find the (new voice) of the speaking clock? although i guess there have been a few different ones over the years.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 1:29 pm   #6
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Of course, if you're connected to Cnet (known as C*Net in the US) there are several speaking clocks available for free - including ones from other countries and time zones. There is also a portal to Cnet from the PSTN, though I'm not sure how widely this is advertised.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 3:44 pm   #7
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

If you just want to know the right time, probably any Windows computer set to sync to an internet time source or mobile phone set to sync to network time will be fairly close, unless anyone has found differently. I have a large radio-locked digital clock on the wall above my bench at work.

My little Nokia 100 dumb phone gets its time from the network but also has a 'speaking clock' feature. Accidentally fumble the right sequence of buttons, usually in the small hours of the morning, and it will start telling me the time VERY LOUDLY until a few more frantic button pushes turn it off.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 8:54 pm   #8
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

The Icecrypt digibox we use with our kitchen tv displays the time when in standby mode.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 9:59 pm   #9
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

I remember the Speaking Clock was given a new voice in the 1980s, I presume when the it was upgraded to a computerised system.
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:08 pm   #10
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

The speaking clock is accurate to a millisecond in the UK, allowing for propagation delays - at least, when using a landline. As are the Greenwich pips on LW and FM.

On digital TV and DAB radio, this is no longer the case of course, owing to time lost by digital data processing, which could be a couple of seconds - and I guess the same will be the case for a networked computer.

It just depends how accurately you need to know the time of day.

Last edited by kalee20; 2nd Jul 2021 at 11:09 pm. Reason: Typo
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Old 2nd Jul 2021, 11:31 pm   #11
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

I have implemented a speaking clock on my Asterisk phone system, that runs on a Raspberry Pi. It uses the voice of Pat Simmons, who was the second voice used by GPO.
I get it by dialling TIM but I've temporarily configured one of my spare PSTN numbers 0333 443 1123 if anyone wants to dial it.

Pat was the voice between 1963 and 1985

The original voice was that of Ethel Jane Cain and it ran from 1936 to 1963 I have not managed to locate a set of recordings of Ethel to recreate her speaking clock, I think the museum exhibit is Pat Simmons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_FM View Post
I remember the Speaking Clock was given a new voice in the 1980s, I presume when the it was upgraded to a computerised system.
That was Brian Cobby whos other claim to fame was voicing "5-4-3-2-1, Thunderbirds are go".
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Last edited by rambo1152; 2nd Jul 2021 at 11:54 pm.
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 7:37 am   #12
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

At risk of being Geek Of The Month, but wasn't the Thunderbirds introduction done by Peter Dyneley, who voiced Jeff Tracy?
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 7:51 am   #13
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telephone Guy View Post
At risk of being Geek Of The Month, but wasn't the Thunderbirds introduction done by Peter Dyneley, who voiced Jeff Tracy?
I thought so too, so i resorted to Wiki:

Thunderbirds producer Gerry Anderson maintained that the countdown was recorded by Peter Dyneley, who provided the voice of Jeff Tracy for both the series' 32 episodes and its two film sequels:

Question: An actor by the name of Brian Cobby has claimed that he was the voice of the famous '5-4-3-2-1 Thunderbirds are go!' countdown, whereas the voice sounds just like Jeff Tracy voice artist Peter Dyneley. Can you please confirm, just for the record, who the actual voice artist was? Ian Fryer, Bradford, W. Yorks

Answer: Sorry, but I haven't got a clue who Brian Cobby is, Ian! Does anyone really believe that we'd hire a different actor to record those eight words in preference to the talented team of artists we'd already assembled to perform in the series? I remember the countdown as being one of the hardest voice recording sessions as it wasn't just a case of someone coming in and reading out the lines. The actor had to really emote, and only an actor who had been involved in the production and understood what it was about could really do it. No, anyone who's heard the Thunderbirds countdown knows that it is Peter Dyneley.[7]
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Old 3rd Jul 2021, 10:00 am   #14
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalee20 View Post
The speaking clock is accurate to a millisecond in the UK, allowing for propagation delays - at least, when using a landline. As are the Greenwich pips on LW and FM.

On digital TV and DAB radio, this is no longer the case of course, owing to time lost by digital data processing, which could be a couple of seconds - and I guess the same will be the case for a networked computer.

It just depends how accurately you need to know the time of day.
No, computers synchronise their local clock using Network Time Protocol (NTP) which provides better than 1 millisecond accuracy in ideal conditions. Of course, how accurate the indicated time really is depends on how recently the computer's clock was synchronised and the accuracy of the clock oscillator used to maintain local time.

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Old 4th Jul 2021, 9:13 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

You'll find the old 1960's Pat Symmonds Speaking Clock still working on its old '8081' code by dialling 01352 83 8081

Note this is a normal geographic phone number so will be included in your 'free calls' package on most networks - unlike most other number with the Speaking Clock on them (08XX or 03XX - which are often not included)

There is another Speaking Clock still working on 8081 on an exchange on the road between Aberdeen and Braemar in the Highlands - 01330 55 8081

And another in North Wales on 01286 86 8081.

Surprising what survives !
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 7:13 am   #16
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

I guess the speaking clock could have a use for providing a recordable time reference for legal purposes, as it's something that is from a known source whereas simply using a computer or radio controlled clock could have issues with synchronisation or in the computers case bugs, either accidental or deliberate.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 8:56 am   #17
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

The original speaking clock mechanism is in working order at the BHI museum at Upton Hall Newark. One day in 1996 it mysteriously stopped working, it later transpired that Ethel Jane Cain (1 May 1909 – 19 September 1996) the original voice of the speaking clock had died that day.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 11:42 am   #18
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pellseinydd View Post
You'll find the old 1960's Pat Symmonds Speaking Clock still working on its old '8081' code by dialling 01352 83 8081

Note this is a normal geographic phone number so will be included in your 'free calls' package on most networks - unlike most other number with the Speaking Clock on them (08XX or 03XX - which are often
03xx numbers are included in free calls packages.
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 2:41 pm   #19
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

The speaking clock may have originally been to give the public the time of day, but it, or rather the circuits that carried it, evolved into something far more sinister.
http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/Page213.htm
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Old 5th Jul 2021, 5:36 pm   #20
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Default Re: Ist Speaking clock mech in action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Finney View Post
The original speaking clock mechanism is in working order at the BHI museum at Upton Hall Newark. One day in 1996 it mysteriously stopped working, it later transpired that Ethel Jane Cain (1 May 1909 19 September 1996) the original voice of the speaking clock had died that day.
Shades of Henry Clay Work's grandfather!
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