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Surfin’: When Digital Was Mechanical


By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ recalls those mechanical digital clocks that once proliferated ham shacks everywhere.

Jim Cain, K1TN, wrote: “Every active ham I knew in the 1960s and 1970s had a 24-hour Numechron Tymeter ‘digital’ clock, the one in a brown plastic case with rotating drums. I was watching The Black Cat (1934, Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff) and in one scene, I saw one of those clocks. It was in a white case and the numbers were sort of Gothic (no surprise there), but the camera filmed the minutes turning over and it surely was the real deal.”

 Jim pointed me to the Reverse Time Page website, which spills the beans on this early digital clock.

Also, I found a slew of related videos on YouTube that include how to service and replace the motor in a Numechron, as well as various Numechron collections. I also found photos of vintage Numechrons on flickr. And if you are interested in adding a Numechron to your shack, be sure to check out eBay.

The first clock in my radio shack was a mechanical digital alarm clock handed down from my old folks at home, circa 1967. I have no idea who manufactured it, but I am fairly certain that it was not a Numechron because it looked different than any Numechrons I’ve seen so far.)

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, enjoys the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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