Blast from the past: The speaking clock

​​Did you know that if you dial 123 a very nice lady with a mellifilous voice will tell you that ‘at the third stroke the time will be …..’
‘The time sponsored by Accurist is…..’ – the speaking clock ticks on‘The time sponsored by Accurist is…..’ – the speaking clock ticks on
‘The time sponsored by Accurist is…..’ – the speaking clock ticks on

Yes, the speaking clock, which launched in the UK in 1936, is still very much alive and ticking!

There was a time (pardon the pun) that ringing the speaking clock was the only way to know for certain the exact hour, minute and second, before the time-obsessed world of iPads, mobile phones, computers smart watches, smart TVs, and just generally, reliable timepieces.

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The speaking clock was the reassuring number you rang when the batteries in the kitchen clock (notorious for being five minutes fast or slow) gave up and you needed to set the time; or when you lost your wristwatch and hadn’t a notion whether it was time to watch Hart to Hart on the TV; or, simply, if you just wanted to hear a human voice.

But, being expensive, (although, not quite in the same league as the financially ruinous immersion heater), the speaking clock was only ever called in extremis.

The speaking clock has had five perfect enunciators since its inception, and, the service is going strong, with BT stating it receives millions of calls a year. Proof, if it were needed, that good inventions will always stand the test of time.

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