No two things in this world have the same measure of time … Formulating it boldly, there are in the universe at one time an infinite number of times.
Johann Gottfried Herder,
Metacritique of the Critique of Pure Reason (1799)
Herder’s critique of Kant’s temporal aesthetic mirrors the state of the literature on the history of human experience with clocks and time. Whereas Kant postulated one philosophical manifold that made possible the apprehension of time, Herder emphasized the multiplicity and cultural embeddedness of temporal experience. A similar divergence has occurred in the work on time regimes. The field has long been concerned with the rise of time discipline, which historians characterize as a process in which Westerners shifted from being aware of clocks to being dominated by them. This approach proceeds from two key assumptions:
that time discipline is a simple behavior, and that it owes its existence to a single cause. Put another way, much of the scholarship presupposes that modern time discipline has worked in the same manner everywhere and, more specifically, that it has always emerged from capitalist forms of production. Over the past fifteen years, however, scholars have undermined this interpretation, noting not only the variety of time disciplines in both Europe and North America, but also the many origins of this behavior. As a result, the accepted view of the history of time discipline has begun to dissolve.
In order to understand the significance of recent critiques, we need first to consider the substance of the traditional narrative, which runs as follows: From the Middle Ages until today, awareness of time has increased steadily in the Western world. This process began in medieval cities and included both conceptual and technological changes. At the conceptual level, merchants shattered the theological idea that all time belonged to God by carving it into smaller, secular times within which one could make money, while Europe’s monastic communities taught everyone the virtue of organizing one’s days according to a schedule. (Our “noon” was once nones, the call to prayer announced at roughly 9 a.m. by a monastery’s bells.) At the technological level, the introduction of mechanical public clocks to European cities during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries made clock time a daily experience for increasing numbers of people, a trend that was augmented by emerging market forces that in turn may have connected time to production. Finally, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, profit-maximizing industrialists both united and intensified the existing trends through the elaboration of the factory system, which forced workers to internalize what had been a diffuse if growing awareness of time. In this way, time awareness became our modern compulsion.
The cornerstone of this narrative remains E. P. Thompson’s classic article “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism.” First published in Past & Present in 1967, and reprinted many times since, this essay distilled Thompson’s view that capitalism created modern time discipline by changing the nature of work. Thompson argued that whereas labor was task-oriented before 1700, with workers putting in only the hours needed to complete a given task, by 1800 the factory system had disciplined workers to arrive at a certain time and to work continuously for a specific duration. For Thompson, a critic of capitalism, this new work discipline was alien to workers’ culture, and thus was as worthy of scorn as other capitalist innovations. Thompson’s critical opposition to modern labor-capital relations, in turn, became fundamental to the subsequent literature, as many scholars accepted the idea that the diffusion of work-based time discipline was merely another baleful consequence of the worldwide expansion of industrial capitalism. For better or worse (usually worse), Western capitalists compelled the next reluctant population—be they rural European peasants or non-Western peoples—to submit to the clock.
The Thompsonian approach has not, however, been without its critics. On the one hand, historically minded scholars have noted that in Europe and the United States, time discipline not only preceded industrialization, but also emerged from a variety of factors that were not related to the factory system, including religious strictures, the complexities of city life, and the rigors of rural poverty. On the other hand, sociologists and anthropologists have argued that a uniform understanding of time discipline obscures the variety in temporal experience. In particular, they see the concentration on factory or even merchant time as gendered and Eurocentric, because it ignores women’s time and non-Western, pre-industrial people’s time. These critiques are all well-founded; not everyone can experience time discipline in the same way. Nevertheless, none of them undermines Thompson’s basic insight that a clock-based time discipline dominates modern life, even if some still resist its charms. What is needed, therefore, is to construct a history that recognizes time discipline’s inexorable march while also leaving room for variations in its application.
Thompson was right to note the significance of human submission to clock time, but he incorrectly identified the historical origins of time discipline. First, time discipline in Europe was not an invention of capitalism, but rather an outgrowth of the early modern European tradition of disciplining. This disciplining dated back to the late Middle Ages and became especially strong after 1500, when growing state apparatuses, more intrusive religious institutions, and increased economic competition imposed greater behavioral control on many segments of the populace. Not coincidentally, public clocks became numerous at the same time, as an ever-growing number of local authorities installed clocks in Europe’s cities and towns through the end of the eighteenth century. Second, time discipline began as an urban product and emerged not from the factory floor but from the streets, where most people in the early modern world would have encountered clocks. Third, this early modern time discipline began as “local knowledge.” A given city’s inhabitants “knew,” for example, where their clocks were located, whether they ran well, who used them, who maintained them, and what public events might have been organized with reference to them. This local knowledge, in turn, was indexed to a seemingly universal public standard, the sun, which gave local clockwatchers a point of comparison. Finally, this arrangement produced a “disciplining public”: local knowledge wrought local discipline, as throughout the early modern period, people continually monitored and disciplined their often wayward public clocks.
Thompson also misunderstood the nature of modern time discipline. Whereas he saw it as an externally imposed compulsion, modern time discipline is founded on submission not to another’s discipline, but to a standard that is determined by people with specialized knowledge and skills. Until the end of the eighteenth century, clocks were set by clockmakers in accord with the sun—a standard to which all had access. From roughly 1800 onward, however, scientists calculated the time with respect to a star, a process that required knowledge to which the public had little access. Moreover, the rise of the factory system did not impel this transformation; it was, rather, a product of the eighteenth-century public sphere. The process was complicated, but at root, the expansion of print and sociability in the eighteenth century effected key changes in the foundation of local temporal discipline. Thanks to the proliferation of both print materials (newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and books) and places to read and discuss them (coffeehouses, salons, and Masonic lodges), people were suddenly able to compare foreign temporal practices with their own. In this context, broader questions about public time arose. What constituted accuracy? Should there be a uniform standard? Who should determine that standard? How should it be distributed to other clocks? In Berlin, science and the state imposed a final answer, but only after the clockwatching public had expended much effort complaining about an increasingly unacceptable status quo. It was the conceptual shift from a locally defined time to an official regional standard that marked the arrival of modern time discipline.
On August 23, 1787, Ewald von Hertzberg, curator of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, gave a speech to the Academy. Celebrating the new king’s supposed reformism, Hertzberg announced “measures to have a clever clockmaker install … in the Academy’s Grand Hall a clock, which our intelligent astronomer, Herr Bode, will set daily according to the true meridian, so that all city clocks can be set by it.” The clock was installed in October 1787, just above the Academy’s main entrance, and rapidly gained favor among Berliners, who checked their pocket watches against it. A sign of the growing prestige of science in the city, the Academy clock became fundamental to Berlin’s public sphere. In 1822, Heinrich Heine wrote:
It is barely noon, the time when the beautiful people go for a walk. The well-groomed masses move up and down the Linden. You wonder why all the men stop here suddenly, reach into their pockets, and look up? My dear fellow, we are standing directly in front of the Academy clock, which is the most accurate of all of Berlin’s clocks, and each passerby takes the opportunity to set his watch by it.
In 1787, the Academy clock was an expression of reform by Berlin’s elite; forty years later, it had become an institution in the city’s daily life.
The Academy clock highlights complicated changes that were under way in early modern Berlin’s time regime. From roughly 1650 to 1750, most Berliners relied on turret clocks, which meant that they acquired time aurally and judged its accuracy by whether a clock’s bells rang synchronously with those of other clocks. This behavior was dictated to some extent by limits in technology, as older public clocks generally used verge-and-foliot regulators, which routinely lost ten or more minutes per day, if they worked at all. Thus there was little point in installing minute arms that might have facilitated visual supervision, although such arms often came with later renovations. Moreover, even if Berlin’s clocks had been equipped with minute arms, it would have been difficult to compare their respective times, because their turrets were not in observers’ direct line of sight. As a result, until the appearance of an alternate platform for time—the pocket watch—the average clockwatcher had little choice but to compare the bells of turret clocks to each other, or, if possible, to a sundial.
The pocket watch made time a visual phenomenon in Berlin. This local effect was only a small part of a broader trend, as large numbers of pocket watches appeared around Europe after 1750. The new timepieces were more regular than the traditional turret clock, because they used a balance spring, which made good devices accurate to within five minutes a day. It is not clear how widespread these watches were. Experts have estimated that by 1800, more than 400,000 pocket watches were produced in Europe every year, and given how easy they were to smuggle, they must have diffused rapidly. In Germany, pocket watches became so popular that articles on how to choose and care for them appeared in journals. In Berlin, where King Frederick II (1740–1786) personally oversaw the clock- and watchmaking industry, many people kept pocket watches. Some even carried two, although wags claimed that the second watch was only a potato attached to a silver chain. The rise of the pocket watch had three concrete effects in Berlin. First, it empowered Berliners to monitor and critique their clocks more intensely, because the new watches boasted minute and even second hands. Second, it embedded time in daily life by making time-gathering a ritual that was performed in a public space and before an audience. Finally, it incorporated time through daily, repetitive action, as time-gathering came to be associated with the taking of a particular physical stance in a specific place.
Initially, the Academy clock seemed perfectly suited to the new visual mode of temporal acquisition. First, it showed time down to the minute and lacked bells. Second, unlike Berlin’s turret clocks, it was not displayed prominently in a tower but was recessed into the Academy’s broad façade. As a result, Berlin’s pocket watch owners had to go directly to the Academy’s front door and look up. The intense scrutiny of this clock was, however, incompatible with the then accepted temporal standard. Like most cities, Berlin ran on “true time,” which meant that the workday started and ended with the sun, and clocks were set at local noon. (This practice yielded multiple local times, as each town’s noon occurred at a different moment.) The day was, in turn, divided into twelve equal hours, although the duration of those hours waxed and waned with the seasons. The Academy clock was built to meet a more exacting standard, “mean time.” Mean time was calculated via the earth’s daily rotation with respect to a star, and its hours, as a result, were uniform. Indeed, the Academy clock was celebrated for the uniformity of its operation, as it was initially built and advertised as an equation clock, which was a specialized piece of equipment for use by astronomers that displayed both “mean time” and “true time.” In its original form, the future Academy clock showed “mean time” and registered “true time” only as the difference between the two. Christian Moellinger, the clock’s maker, transferred this dual-time function to the subsequent version that was installed in the Academy, although here the temporal duality was represented by two sets of arms, with each devoted to one time.
Thrust into public life in eighteenth-century Berlin, the Academy clock’s four arms and two times were a disaster. The public could not distinguish between the arms, which meant that they did not know the “correct time,” and the complaints mounted. In response, in November 1787, the government ordered that the mean-time arms be removed and announced in a local newspaper:
As experience has taught that the double time display of the clock recently installed in the Academy along Unter den Linden has caused the better part of the public much trouble in setting their clocks … the Curator of the Academy, His Excellency Count von Hertzberg, consulted with experts [Sachverständigten] … and concluded that two of the clock’s arms will be removed from the outer faceplate that was intended for the public … The four arms on the inner faceplate that faces into the Academy’s round foyer will, as before, simultaneously show both true and mean time—that is, complete time, so that experts can view both in the foyer.
These changes failed miserably, however, because the clock’s reputation for accuracy and its association with a scientific institution had influenced public expectations. Berliners cleaved to a variable (solar) standard and expected that a “scientific” clock would mark the variations in the hour’s length exactly. A mechanical device could not, however, offer this kind of precision, and the result was repeated expressions of public disapproval. The local government, for its part, responded to the grumbling by reporting complaints to Moellinger, noting expressly on one occasion that the clock was making the public insecure (verunsichert).
The travails of the Academy clock highlight a neglected aspect of eighteenth-century publicity: the rise of the clockwatching public. However, in contrast to the print and sociability spheres, to which historians have paid so much attention, this public was anchored in rituals performed in Berlin’s streets. The novelist Karl Gutzkow, who was born in Berlin in 1818 and grew up in an apartment in the Berlin Academy, described the ritual thus: “Whoever walks by and is a man of the clock stops here for a while. The pocket watch is pulled by its chain, and the wise man thoughtfully sets it according to the large clock that hangs in the main entrance above a solemnly moving pendulum.” A man of means could now make the Academy clock part of his daily rounds and, for the benefit of his less punctual, less wealthy, or less masculine fellow burghers, publicly enact his time discipline.
If we accept Gutzkow’s caricature, it is reasonable to assume that Berlin’s clockwatchers were people of means. Thus they would have had access to the city’s vibrant public sphere, which included not only a variety of clubs but also a substantial quantity of print, since eighteenth-century Berlin was a major publishing center. We cannot know exactly what people said about clocks in the city’s salons and coffeehouses, but we do know that clocks and time were a topic of discussion in print. The famous Berlinische Monatsschrift published a story on Moellinger’s equation clock before the latter had become the Academy clock, and Moellinger himself produced three works on public clocks, all of which were published in Berlin. Berliners would also have had access to information about clocks through the foreign books and journals that were widely available as part of the city’s social scene. One likely example comes from 1784, when the important Hannoverisches Magazin published an article on Basel’s habit of setting its public clocks one hour ahead of regular civic time. The story included this aside on dairy farmers near Hamburg:
In both winter and summer, the dairy farmers [Landwirte], who sell milk to Hamburg in such great quantities, all set their clocks [Hausuhren]—perhaps not a full hour, but certainly a half-hour—ahead of the clocks set by honest people. This happens in the Elbmarsch [a region southeast of Hamburg] year after year, and for no other reason than to get the milkmaids up early enough before sunrise to milk the cows.
The author then blamed this outrage on the desire among Hamburg’s women to take fresh milk with their afternoon tea. These charges provoked a response from an Elbmarsch farmer, who wrote to tell the journal “that the clocks here in the Elbmarsch are set just as [they are] in other regions.” By the 1780s, temporal practices and standards had become a topic of conversation across the German states, and anyone who had access to print, whether in Berlin or the Elbmarsch, could read about practices in other places, such as Breslau, Gotha, Vienna, or even England.
Although print influenced local practices, time discipline in Berlin was rooted in local enactments that occurred within an emerging temporal infrastructure. The existing literature has not stressed the point, but it must be recognized that public clocks created the physical spaces in which clockwatching occurred. Hence, if we are to understand properly the effect that print had on temporal practices, we must consider how the given setting nurtured local time rituals. In Berlin, as in most other cities, public expectations of clocks had originally been shaped by both the accepted standard (true time) and the weak performance of traditional turret clocks. Older devices ran poorly and had to be rewound and set every day, which meant that they were actually suited to public expectations, because mechanical irregularity and daily settings reinforced the system of true time. The Academy clock upset this arrangement on two levels. First, locals already knew it to be something of a technological marvel, because it had been advertised as exactingly regular, with “lost time” calculated in seconds per day. Second, it required only one winding and setting per week, which made it completely unacceptable as a public clock, because the public understood “accuracy” in the context of daily settings. Hence, with each passing day, the difference between “true time” and the Academy clock’s time became more obvious to the city’s clockwatchers, with the result that complaints arose about Berlin’s most “accurate” clock.
The Academy’s next act underscores the problems that the local public’s ever-growing surveillance of public clocks created. In 1793, under the leadership of its chief astronomer, Johann Elert Bode, the Academy installed a sundial on the clock’s face. Sundials were crucial to the early modern system of time discipline. Most major cities set their clocks by public sundials, and serious clockwatchers also carried pocket sundials. In the new post–pocket watch context, however, the Academy sundial exacerbated the public’s insecurity by underscoring the differences between the public’s and the Academy clock’s time. Further complaints resulted, as is evidenced by Christian Moellinger’s novel defense against an official letter of complaint. In 1801, he informed the Academy that the clock’s inaccuracy resulted from the dust storm created by the constant stream of clockwatchers to the Academy’s front door. (The dust supposedly fouled the clock’s gears.)
Moellinger’s dust cloud beautifully represents the ambiguous results of the interaction between the Academy clock and an increasingly critical public. Thanks to the pocket watch and the print sphere, time had become ever more important, and one can readily imagine Berliners commenting on the Academy clock’s supposedly mediocre performance as they pulled out their watches and looked up. The government, whose authority was rooted in competent management, turned to the Academy’s astronomers for help. In a written report, the astronomers recommended that “we no longer require of our clocks that they mark longer hours on one day of the year than they do on another, because they must otherwise function irregularly in order to run accurately without constant supervision.” For the Academy’s scientists, the public had become a problem to be overcome. From their perspective, and ultimately from the government’s as well, the Academy clock needed to become a source of discipline, rather than a focus of it, if the city’s time regime was to function at all.
The government’s interest in avoiding public disorder invited ever-greater intervention in the management of public clocks. The process of change was gradual but thorough. In 1787, the Police Directory (Polizeidirektorium) and the town magistrates (Räte) tried but failed to get all turret clocks to be set in accord with the Academy clock. (Berlin’s church consistories feared losing control over their clock setters, because it would have meant the loss of a patronage appointment. Those fears proved justified.) In 1810, however, with public disorder and insecurity becoming an issue, the local magistrates were able to anoint the Academy clock as Berlin’s master clock and, more importantly, to require that it and all other public clocks be set to mean time. With this change, Berlin became only the third city in Europe to establish such a master clock. Geneva had been first, in 1780, followed by London in 1792; Paris and Vienna joined the club in 1816 and 1823, respectively. The latter three cities are the most significant, because, like Berlin, they turned time over to their astronomers. Hence, Berlin’s experiences must also be understood as part of a European trend, as other prominent cities were empowering a scientific discipline to define their time. In 1811, one practical result of this broader shift became evident in Berlin, when the Academy quietly removed the sundial. With astronomy and the government in league, both the public’s approach to time and the tools for cultivating it had lapsed into irrelevance.
Berlin’s time discipline cannot be explained in the traditional way, with reference to the spread of factories, trains, or shipping in the nineteenth century. The factory whistle did not play a prominent role in daily life in the city until after 1848. The very first train line in Germany appeared only in 1835, running between the Franconian towns of Fürth and Nuremberg, neither of which belonged to Prussia. And to the extent that Berlin had a maritime tradition, it was associated more with Baltic shipping than with open-ocean Atlantic navigation, where exact knowledge of the time was becoming essential for calculating longitude. Moreover, in spite of its strong astronomical tradition, Berlin was conspicuously absent from the race to produce a marine chronometer; that problem was left to people and powers farther to the west.
Although the Academy clock is generally celebrated as the first master clock (Normaluhr) in Berlin, the city actually had an official master clock, the Domkirche clock, by the late seventeenth century. In 1679, Elector Frederick William I proclaimed Berlin’s first official time regime:
Following the determination of His Royal Highness that the bells in this city ring dissimilarly, and in response to the many complaints caused by the resulting confusion—which has meant that one does not know which clock to follow—and, moreover, with the clock in the Marienkirche having been ringing mostly wrong and occasionally not at all for the last year, we order the magistrates … graciously and at the same time earnestly to make arrangements for setting all clocks uniformly by the Domkirche, so that total disorder can be prevented.
We should immediately note the publicness of the Domkirche clock. Its location on the Spree Island in a major structure and overlooking the Lustgarten, which had become a public space, made it central to Berlin’s daily life.
By the middle of the eighteenth century, the Domkirche clock was the focal point of the city’s temporal infrastructure, which comprised twelve turret clocks in various states of disrepair. The clocks in medieval structures were generally installed in the seventeenth century, and according to archival records, the clocks in eighteenth-century structures were all in place by 1770. In order to understand how the system worked, it is best to consider this collection of clocks in spatial terms. If we take the Domkirche clock as the center, the other eleven turret clocks were all within a two-kilometer radius. The medieval Georgenkirche, which stood to the northeast, was the farthest away, at slightly less than two kilometers, while the medieval Marienkirche was the closest, at less than half a kilometer to the east. The other nine turret clocks were all within a one-and-one-half-kilometer radius, and as indicates, some of them were very close to each other. Berlin’s public time regime was, therefore, initially embedded in a network of religious buildings, whose clocks were more likely to be heard than seen.
We can gain further insight into the interactions between Berlin’s clocks and their public by considering the maintenance practices that undergirded the network. By the end of the seventeenth century, regular maintenance of public clocks had become essential, precisely because the public was observing and critiquing them. Indeed, the arrival of the public as a critical force is apparent in two events that occurred on either side of the elector’s proclamation in 1679. First, in 1676, a clockmaker named Michael Kresten petitioned the consistory for the privilege of replacing the incumbent clock setter, who had fallen ill. Consistent with the picture of seventeenth-century Berlin as a sleepy princely residence, the consistory affirmed the request by scrawling a note in the margins of Kresten’s letter. By 1711, however, things were different, as the consistory required another clock setter to sign a full-blown service contract, the first of its kind in Berlin. The contract had seven detailed provisions, the fifth of which required that the clock setter “check on the clock every Sunday before the sermons and set the same correctly, even when it appears unnecessary.” By this point, being located in a church meant that getting the time right on Sundays was part of the Domkirche clock’s raison d’être.
The needs of the public soon grew beyond the limits of the city’s main religious structure, however, as Berliners became ever more critical of the Domkirche clock. The effects of—and perhaps the opportunities opened by—the growth in public surveillance are evident in the machinations of Carl Ludwig Buschberg, a local clockmaker. On January 12, 1776, Buschberg tried to steal the job of setting and maintaining the Domkirche clock from the incumbent with a letter of complaint to the consistory about the clock’s poor performance. Criticizing a competitor’s work was standard fare in the business. New, however, was Buschberg’s invocation of a public in support of the critique, as he noted that people on the street were accosting him over the clock’s poor performance, even though he was not responsible for maintaining it. Not surprisingly, he concluded that suffering public abuse entitled him to the government contract. Buschberg’s instrumental reference to public criticism was no doubt associated with the pettiness of local competition. His complaint could take form, however, because the public was increasingly armed with pocket watches.
Whatever the nature of its influence, it must be noted that Berlin’s clockwatching public was an exclusive club, dominated by elite men. That local clockwatchers would be elites makes perfect sense, given that one could not join this public without the money to buy a watch and the education necessary to participate in the print public sphere. The issue of gender is trickier, however, because the archival sources almost always identify Berlin’s clockwatchers as das Publikum (the public). Still, if we look beyond these sources, the evidence suggests that this public was heavily masculine. Consider that, although women were not completely excluded from participation in Berlin’s social and print spheres, those zones were controlled by men. The city’s most famous enlightened institution, the Mittwochsgesellschaft, for example, had no female members, and all of Berlin’s great journals, including the Berlinische Monatsschrift and the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek, were edited and written by men. In addition, and perhaps most important, the pocket watch was a man’s fashion accessory. Women probably owned watches, but owning a watch was not the same thing as using it, especially in public. Here, women confronted a serious obstacle: by the late eighteenth century, watches were used in a way that best suited them to men’s clothing, which had pockets. In England, the three-piece suit provided an excellent platform for the pocket watch, while on the Continent, French-style military uniforms did the same. Thus, on both sides of the Channel, men could put their watches in a place that allowed them not only to show them off—thus the dangling chain—but also to consult them while in public.
As a result, during the eighteenth century, clockwatching probably became increasingly masculinized. A good example is the military’s embrace of timepieces, as by the end of the century, most of Europe’s military officers (who were all men) were required to carry watches, which they no doubt displayed. On this latter point, contemporary evidence comes from the Prussian writer Karl Friedrich von Klöden, who was born in Berlin in 1786 and was the son of a Prussian military officer:
At the time, there was, however, more to the height of elegance in a sergeant than his uniform. He had to carry a silver watch in each pocket from which a silver chain dangled visibly … Punctuality was considered a cardinal virtue in a soldier, and since a single pocket watch ran inaccurately after a while, the soldier who acquired a second watch proved how much punctuality meant to him and, thereby, the extent to which he was a virtuous fellow.
It was, therefore, no accident that Gutzkow described the clockwatcher as a “man of the clock.” The man, the pocket watch, and the ritual were all shaped by public practices that had made time-gathering a man’s thing.
Although our knowledge of the composition of the temporal public sphere is uncertain, there is little doubt that this public affected the evolution of the time regime in Berlin. One obvious indication is the shift of time’s epicenter from the Domkirche to the Academy—a change that could also be inscribed in a different secularization narrative. Nevertheless, the change to the Academy clock reveals that a new public realm was being created in the late eighteenth century—a realm that gave Berliners the standing to make demands of both their public clocks and the institutions that controlled them. Some tantalizing evidence of the changes wrought by this clockwatching public comes from the maintenance contract between the Berlin Academy and Christian Moellinger. This contract stipulated that Moellinger was to set the clock every Saturday and Monday between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. The choice of days is significant. On the one hand, in requiring that the clock be set on Saturdays, the Academy claimed primacy over Berlin’s turret clocks, which were set on Sundays and were overseen by the city’s preachers. On the other hand, in requiring the resetting, only two days later, of a clock that needed but one setting per week, the Academy also recognized the presence of a group who needed (or wished) to gather at the Academy’s front door on Mondays. In the end, changes in the rituals of public time-gathering became the cornerstone of a new civic time regime.
Scholars have long known that people were once very possessive of their local time and often resisted relinquishing it in favor of an externally imposed standard. The literature on the history of time discipline usually interprets this reluctance as a remnant of the old ways, a bump on the road to modern time discipline, and there is reason to ascribe this resistance to parochial stodginess. However, the reluctance to give up one’s local time can also be understood as a product of the same forces that shaped early modern Europe’s many public spheres. Put simply, people resisted giving up “their” time because it was based on knowledge and discipline that they enacted in their particular place.
In the eighteenth century, time sense was closely linked to a sense for “place.” This latter sense was a product of new urban spaces that European cities began to provide in the form of buildings, streets, parks, and squares. City dwellers then appropriated the resulting spaces for their daily activities, and one result was that a new sense for urban space emerged, as people began to value cities overall as things to be enjoyed, observed, critiqued, and even compared. In Germany, the print discussion about urban spaces was extensive. Heinrich Heine’s comments about the Academy clock, for example, were part of a series of articles on Berlin that appeared in the Rheinisch-Westfälische Anzeiger, which was published in the Westphalian city of Aachen. In general, commentators noted whether the streets were clean, the buildings were attractive, and the cultural life was interesting. Another example comes from 1779, when the Deutsches Museum, which was published in the Saxon city of Leipzig, printed the writer and economist Leopold Friedrich von Göckingk’s travel description of the Prussian capital. Among other things, Göckingk noted: “As large as this city may be, one easily learns to find one’s location, because almost all the streets run straight, [their] names are posted on each corner, and so many large public buildings, ornamented columns, etc., are scattered throughout all of Berlin, that one finds them [to be] the best signposts.” Eighteenth-century Germans, like their contemporaries elsewhere, wanted clean streets, open spaces for promenading, and nice things to contemplate along the way, including grand buildings, elaborate town gates, and accurate public clocks.
Berlin provides an excellent venue for investigating the effects on time sense of new urban spaces, because between 1650 and 1750, it produced many new spaces. The city suffered heavily during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), and at war’s end was left with a population of only 6,500. From there both the population and the city grew steadily. In 1700, Berlin had 70,000 people; by 1810, the number had reached 170,000. The government, in turn, provided spaces for the new residents, with new neighborhoods, such as Friedrichswerder (1660), Dorotheenstadt (1678), and Friedrichstadt (1688), being the result. Elector Frederick William’s edict on time (1679) cannot be understood without reference to this growth, because each of these neighborhoods—and the new ones that followed—received both a church and a turret clock that joined the local space to a network that was centered on the Domkirche.
Most important, however, for the sense of space in late-eighteenth-century Berlin was the construction of the grand avenue Unter den Linden. Although this street dated back to 1647, most of its signature structures were built during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In Heine’s time, it was bounded on one side by the Schlo\Sbrücke (1822–1823), which connected the Linden to the Spree Island, and on the other by the Brandenburg Gate (1788–1791). These structures extended the public space westward from the original center that had been defined by the Domkirche and the Royal Palace. As Heine described it, “Truly, I know of no more imposing view than to stand before the Dog’s Bridge [replaced by the Schlo\Sbrücke in 1823] and look up to the Linden. On the right—the magnificent Armory , the Neue Wache , the University , and the Academy . On the left—the Royal Palace , the Opera , and the Library , etc.” During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Unter den Linden became a new cultural scene, where “the beautiful people” went for a walk. Of course, these beautiful people were probably not on their way to factory jobs, so why did they consult the Academy clock so assiduously?
During the eighteenth century, checking the time became a means of social distinction. This was due in part to the status of the pocket watch as a luxury item. Another key local factor, however, was the growing presence of science “in the city.” In 1700, the Berlin Academy was founded and acquired laboratory space in the former royal stables on Unter den Linden. Although the building was not well-appointed, and the horses still occupied the ground floor, science now had a physical presence. Over the next century, especially under King Frederick II (1740–1786), the Berlin Academy increased its profile by sponsoring both celebrated essay contests and scientific demonstrations. In addition, it engaged in classic public-relations efforts; in 1728, 1745, and 1809, the Academy arranged nighttime illumination of its building in honor of a dignitary’s visit. In these ways the Academy burrowed into Berlin’s newest space, which had the perhaps unintended side effect of making the Academy clock an alternate site for the rituals of public time.
Like Berlin’s churches, the Berlin Academy put down roots in local space, but its cultural effects must also be understood against the backdrop of another eighteenth-century phenomenon, German princes’ support of science for their own aggrandizement. It was especially during this period that scientific societies proliferated around the German states, and astronomy gained particular prominence as a result. Berlin was an early player in astronomy’s rise. In 1711, when the Academy’s observatory was completed, it became the first government-funded observatory to be built in Germany. State support for astronomical observation then spread widely, as between 1711 and 1811, eighteen professional observatories appeared in other German states. The resulting network of stellar observation and scholarly exchange soon became part of Berlin’s public life. On the one hand, there was a vigorous print discussion. Johann Elert Bode, Berlin’s chief astronomer, published regularly on astronomical topics in the late eighteenth century, while the Berlin Academy published its proceedings and star charts (Ephemeriden) as well as calendars. On the other hand, the Academy also became part of the city’s social universe. Between 1755 and 1768, for example, it hosted a coffeehouse within the confines of its building. Moreover, its Great Chamber (GroßSer Saal), which adjoined the foyer into which the Academy clock’s inner face looked, became a sought-after location for public meetings of all types, including student examinations. Anyone who attended such an event necessarily passed under the Academy clock along the way.
Although astronomy embedded itself in Berlin’s everyday life, it was the astronomical calendar that provided the most significant connection between science and local temporal practice. Such calendars were very popular across Germany, as is evidenced by the extent of their publication and the reviews that appeared in the press. Each version allowed people to find the local time via solar observation. This could be done using a sundial, but a primitive sextant that had come with the calendar was also used. Taken from a contemporary encyclopedia on clockmaking, depicts Ratio using such a sextant, as well as a clock, a calendar, and a globe, to establish the correct time. This encyclopedia was published in Leipzig, but the method that it depicts encapsulates the practices that the Berlin Academy supported with its calendars. As the only authorized producer of calendars for Prussia (a monopoly had been granted to be the main source of revenue), the Academy must have played an important role in shaping broader public attitudes toward time. This particular connection between print and public practice also offers insight into the deeper local significance of the Academy sundial: in many ways, the Academy had made the sundial into a public scientific instrument.
The Berlin Academy’s astronomical calendars and its public sundial draw attention to a broader problem in the literature on time discipline, namely that scholars have misunderstood the meaning behind the shift away from “true time.” Most studies of time discipline see the shift away from the sun as a fundamental moment in the history of clocks and time. It was, indeed, of great import, but not because it represents a move away from the “natural,” as some scholars have assumed. This position is problematic in two respects. First, historians of early modern science long ago dispensed with the boundary between natural and unnatural. Nature is always constructed. Second, eighteenth-century practice itself undermined this distinction, as astronomers reckoned the time by measuring the earth’s rotation with respect to a star. Having obtained the exact time, they passed it to the clock setter, who put it on display. Whatever else one may say about this system, it is hardly clear that observing the stars is less natural than observing the sun.
The natural-unnatural boundary obscures what really changed. By the end of the eighteenth century, the definition of time was not less natural but less accessible. Whereas the public had consulted the sun relatively easily, scientists consulted the stars with specialized knowledge and instruments. In other words, changes in how knowledge about the world was produced, ratified, and distributed were reflected in the early modern time regime. We find ourselves, therefore, at what can be called a Foucauldian knowledge-discipline nexus, insofar as the state and science reshaped both the foundations of temporal knowledge and the discipline that went with it.[101[ Power and knowledge certainly redefined time in a way that led to human subjection to clocks. Nonetheless, a Foucauldian explanation also has limits here, because the shift to “mean time” amounted to the reversal of an existing discipline, not the creation of a wholly new and alien one, which Foucault’s work on the seventeenth century presupposes. Moreover, to the extent that clocks exerted control over individual subjects, they did so at the request of the subjects themselves, and often through the new public sphere. Thus, at the very least, the public’s expressed desire for better time implicates it in the modern subjection to clocks, in addition to exposing a less than emancipatory aspect of the eighteenth-century public sphere. The particular significance of this development for Prussia (and later Germany) lies in Berlin’s status as a political and scientific center. When in the nineteenth century the new time was exported to other cities and towns—most of which would have had at least one public clock, as well as a host of clockwatchers—it made sense for locals to follow this standard carefully, because powerful political and scientific authorities stood behind it. In the end, Prussia’s factories and trains functioned with a discipline that had been created by daily life in the streets of the capital city.
Berliners became subject to modern time discipline only after the state ratified astronomy’s new temporal standard. The roots of this change extended back over a century and were spread widely. Berliners had been accumulating experience with clocks of all types since the second half of the seventeenth century. To this was added the diffusion of the pocket watch, the growing complexity of city life—including the construction of new urban spaces—the rise of institutional science, and the maturation of a critical public sphere. The key change within this fluid context came, however, with the installation of the Academy clock, because it focused the many aspects of the local time regime into a coherent set of practices. Karl Gutzkow characterized the end result this way:
The point Archimedes sought from which to move the earth lies for the Berliner between the Academy clock here and Petitpierre’s barometer over there. “Give me a place to stand!” preach the devout … in St. Matthews Church and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Müller and Schulze have only one firm belief: that in the clock at the Berlin Academy.
Gutzkow may have been overstating the case by associating the Academy clock with a new worldview. Still, by connecting time discipline with science, he highlights for us the changes in knowledge and disciplining that produced the new time regime. After 1810, when Berliners consulted the clock, they did so without the standing required to critique its time; the people could obey the clock or ignore it, nothing more.
Berlin’s experience is only one example of a European trend, as a variety of people across the Continent came to rely on astronomers for their time. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), for example, derives its name from the Greenwich Observatory—now part of Greater London, though once outside the city—which was famous for the accuracy of its clocks as early as the seventeenth century. During the nineteenth century, GMT was first established as English time, before becoming the center of world time. The Continent reveals similar processes, as early in the nineteenth century, Berlin, Paris, and Vienna all made time the province of astronomers. Paris offers a striking example of how astronomy became enmeshed with local temporal practices. A group of men checking the clock at the Paris Observatory on the rue Cassini. Completed in 1672 on land south of the city, the Paris Observatory became one of the world’s premier centers of astronomical research and publication. The clock itself (which is still there) is electric, and this dates the image to the second half of the nineteenth century. However, in spite of the different time and place, the behavior pattern depicted resembles Heine and Gutzkow’s descriptions, as men with pocket watches in hand not only check the time publicly but also assume the same posture taken by Berlin’s clockwatching men. Paris’s nineteenth-century time discipline was therefore enacted in almost the same way that time discipline had been enacted earlier in Berlin: a masculine clockwatching public, pocket watches, and astronomical authority combined to anchor time-gathering in a specific place.
Much like the Berlin Academy clock, the Paris Observatory clock not only defined its own space but also shaped the practices that occurred within its sphere. Some subtle differences with respect to Berlin suggest, however, that astronomy and time-gathering had to combine in a way that suited the given city’s spaces. Note that the caption identifies the observers as clockmakers (horlogers), not as members of the general public. These clockmakers presumably carried the time back to their shops, where they displayed it in their store windows for a local public who enjoyed viewing fine watches and checking the time while on promenade. (Artisan clockmakers were a very important part of Paris’s economy in the mid-nineteenth century. As the industry prospered, it became normal for the middle classes to own clocks and watches.) Here we reenter the realm of local knowledge, although from a different direction than before. Even if astronomers had become the final arbiters of the temporal standard, the standard still had to be applied to the city, and as a result, time rituals in Paris took on their own flavor, regardless of the deeper astronomical foundations of their time.
Taken together, Berlin and Paris’s separate experiences with public clocks and astronomy underscore how modern time discipline emerged with a change in the direction of discipline. Only after people stopped disciplining clocks could clocks discipline people. This reversal was not a product of the rise of the modern factory system, but was inextricably linked to changes in how early modern Europeans produced and distributed knowledge about the world. As astronomers laid claim to specific knowledge, skills, and even whole institutions, they became arbiters of an exclusive standard that the public was left with no choice but to respect. It was, therefore, Europe’s astronomers who ultimately transformed Herder’s universe of infinite times into one mean time, with assists from a willing state apparatus and an exacting public. All of this leads to the conclusion that if we moderns must persist in holding someone responsible for our subjection to clock time, we may wish to blame the stargazers of the early modern world and the clockwatchers who made them indispensable.
I would like to thank the DAAD and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnolog´fia in Mexico (2006), the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte in Göttingen (2006), the University of Erfurt (2003), and the Parliament of Berlin (2000) for supporting my archival research. I also owe thanks to the archivists and librarians in Berlin, Erfurt, Heilbronn, Göttingen, Gotha, Paris, and Wolfenbüttel for bringing me to the sources. In addition, I extend thanks to the AHR’s three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, as well as to Katya Hinke and Enrique Verduzco at CIDE for their work on the images. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the following people: Peter Reill, David Sabean, Hans Medick, Hans-Erich Bödeker, Lynn Hunt, Margaret Jacob, Kimberly Garmoe, Jason Coy, Marc Lerner, and above all Allyson Benton, whose support was crucial as always.
Michael J. Sauter is Profesor-Investigador in the División de Historia at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City, where he has taught since 2002. He is a member of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, Level 1, and has authored or co-authored articles that have appeared in Central European History, Osiris, and the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. He is currently working on a history of orientation in eighteenth-century Germany.
1 Johann Gottfried Herder, Sämmtliche Werke, ed. Bernhard Suphan, 33 vols. (Hildesheim, 1967), 21: 59. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.
2 On Kant’s understanding of time and space, see Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York, 1965), 65–91.
3 Carlo M. Cipolla, Clocks and Culture, 1300–1700 (London, 1967); and David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge, 1983). For a critical view, see Gerhard Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders (Chicago, 1996).
4 On merchant time, see Jacques Le Goff, Time, Work and Culture in the Middle Ages (Chicago, 1980), 29–52. On monastic time, see Barnabas Hughes, “Friars, Hourglasses and Clocks,” Collectanea Franciscana 53, no. 3–4 (1984): 265–278. See, however, the critical comments in Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 33–39.
5 In general, see Otto Mayr, Authority, Liberty, and Automatic Machinery in Early Modern Europe (Baltimore, Md., 1986), 3–27. For Germany, see Igor A. Jenzen and Reinhard Glasemann, eds., Uhrzeiten: Die Geschichte der Uhr und ihres Gebrauches (Frankfurt am Main, 1989). On work and urban time, see Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 232–236; and Landes, Revolution in Time, 72–74.
6 David Landes calls this the shift from time obedience to time discipline; Landes, Revolution in Time, 2.
7 E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” Past & Present, no. 38 (1967): 56–97.
8 For some useful critical comments, see Paul Glennie and Nigel Thrift, “Reworking E. P. Thompson’s `Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,'” Time & Society 5, no. 3 (1996): 275–299; Glennie and Thrift, “The Spaces of Clock Times,” in Patrick Joyce, ed., The Social in Question: New Bearings in History and the Social Sciences (London, 2002), 151–174; and Ulla Merle, “Tempo! Tempo!—Die Industrialisierung der Zeit im 19. Jahrhundert,” in Jenzen and Glasemann, Uhrzeiten, 161–217.
9 On Thompson’s role as critic and activist, see Michael D. Bess, “E. P. Thompson: The Historian as Activist,” American Historical Review 98, no. 1 (February 1993): 19–38. On irregular work rhythms, see Douglas A. Reid, “The Decline of Saint Monday, 1766–1876,” Past & Present, no. 71 (1976): 76–101; Reid, “Weddings, Weekdays, Work and Leisure in Urban England, 1791–1911: The Decline of Saint Monday Revisited,” Past & Present, no. 153 (1996): 135–163. For a critical view, see Mark Harrison, “The Ordering of the Urban Environment: Time, Work and the Occurrence of Crowds, 1790–1835,” Past & Present, no. 110 (1986): 134–168.
10 For a work in the Thompson tradition, see Hoyt Alverson, “From `Storied Time’ to `Clock Time’ in Economic Globalization at the New Millennium,” in Marlene P. Soulsby and J. T. Fraser, eds., Time: Perspectives at the Millennium (The Study of Time X) (Westport, Conn., 2001), 177–188. On railroads, see Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century (Berkeley, Calif., 1986); and Carlene Stephens, “‘The Most Reliable Time’: William Bond, the New England Railroads, and Time Awareness in 19th-Century America,” Technology and Culture 30, no. 1 (1989): 1–24.
11 Keletso E. Atkins, “‘Kaffir Time’: Preindustrial Temporal Concepts and Labour Discipline in Nineteenth-Century Natal,” Journal of African History 29, no. 2 (1988): 229–244; Mike Donaldson, “The End of Time? Aboriginal Temporality and the British Invasion of Australia,” Time & Society 5, no. 2 (1996): 187–207.
12 On religion, see Max Engammare, L’ordre du temps: L’invention de la ponctualité au XVIe siècle (Geneva, 2004). On rural life, see Paul B. Hensley, “Time, Work, and Social Context in New England,” New England Quarterly 65, no. 4 (1992): 531–559. On cities, see Harrison, “The Ordering of the Urban Environment.”
13 For useful overviews, see Nancy D. Munn, “The Cultural Anthropology of Time: A Critical Essay,” Annual Review of Anthropology 21 (1992): 93–123; and Werner Bergmann, “The Problem of Time in Sociology: An Overview of the Literature on the State of Theory and Research on the `Sociology of Time,’ 1900–82,” Time & Society 1, no. 1 (1992): 81–134.
14 On rural time discipline in North America, see Mark M. Smith, “Counting Clocks, Owning Time: Detailing and Interpreting Clock and Watch Ownership in the American South, 1739–1865,” Time & Society 3, no. 3 (1994): 321–339; Smith, “Old South Time in Comparative Perspective,” American Historical Review 101, no. 5 (December 1996): 1432–1469; Martin Bruegel, “Time That Can Be Relied Upon: The Evolution of Time Consciousness in the Mid-Hudson Valley, 1790–1860,” Journal of Social History 28, no. 3 (1995): 547–564; and Hensley, “Time, Work, and Social Context.” For Germany, see Jan Carstensen, “Die Uhr im Haus: Zur Aufstellung von Bodenstanduhren in Stube, Küche und Entree,” in Carstensen and Ulrich Reinke, eds., Die Zeit vor Augen: Standuhren in Westfalen (Münster, 1998), 141–177. We still need a thorough analysis of the relationship between rural time sense and urban factory discipline. A good start is Thomas C. Smith, “Peasant Time and Factory Time in Japan,” Past & Present, no. 111 (1986): 165–197.
15 James Surowiecki, “Punctuality Pays,” The New Yorker, April 5, 2004, 31.
16 On discipline, see Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York, 1977); and Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (London, 1970). For an overview, see Henry Kamen, Early Modern European Society (London, 2000), 177–205. On the state and disciplining, see Gerhard Oestreich, Neostoicism and the Early Modern State, ed. Brigitta Oestreich and H. G. Koenigsberger (Cambridge, 1982); and Marc Raeff, The Well-Ordered Police State: Social and Institutional Change through Law in the Germanies and Russia, 1600–1800 (New Haven, Conn., 1983). For a sociological view, see Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Oxford, 1994); and Elias, The Court Society, trans. Edmund Jephcott (New York, 1983).
17 Hans-Joachim Voth, “Time and Work in Eighteenth-Century London,” Journal of Economic History 58, no. 1 (1998): 29–58.
18 On the spread of large public clocks, see Cipolla, Clocks and Culture, 48.
19 On local knowledge, see Clifford Geertz, Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (New York, 1983).
20 In Berlin, time sense was dictated in part by performances of the opera and the continual military parades in the Lustgarten. On opera, see Walter H. Bruford, Germany in the Eighteenth Century: The Social Background of the Literary Revival (Cambridge, 1935), 83–85. On the military and time, see below.
21 Landes, Revolution in Time, 73–75. Eighteenth-century Berlin’s preachers monitored their clocks’ performance to ensure that their congregants had no excuse for tardiness. Landesarchiv Berlin [hereafter LAB], A Rep. 004, No. 585, Die Uhr und die Glocken der St. Marienkirche, 1767–1875, fol. 28r.
22 The Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin has had a number of names since it was founded (on paper) in 1700. Its original name was Societas Regia Scientiarum. In 1744, under Frederick II, the Academy was renamed Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Prusse. In 1810, it was renamed Königlich Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. I refer to it as the Berlin Academy throughout. The definitive work on the Academy remains Adolf von Harnack, Geschichte der königlich preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (Berlin, 1900). See also Conrad Grau, Die preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin: Eine deutsche Gelehrtengesellschaft in drei Jahrhunderten (Heidelberg, 1993). For the eighteenth century, see Mary Terrall, “The Culture of Science in Frederick the Great’s Berlin,” History of Science 28 (1990): 333–364.
23 Ewald Friedrich von Hertzberg, Historische Nachricht von dem ersten Regierungs-Jahre Friedrich Wilhelm II. Königs von Preussen …. (Berlin, 1787), 19.
24 Heinrich Heine, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe der Werke, ed. Manfred Windfuhr, 16 vols. (Hamburg, 1973), 6: 14.
25 On Berlin’s churches, see Jürgen Boeckh, Alt-Berliner Stadtkirchen (Berlin, 1986). On sound and time, see Alain Corbin, Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the Nineteenth-Century French Countryside (New York, 1998). On the sounds made by clock mechanisms, see Stuart Sherman, Telling Time: Clocks, Diaries, and English Diurnal Form, 1660–1785 (Chicago, 1996).
26 Bernhard Schmidt, “Die Turmuhren,” Alte Uhren 7, no. 2 (1984): 47–56.
27 This work usually excluded an upgrade of the regulator, because of the expense involved. The turrets also tended to be too windy and dirty to accommodate pendulum mechanisms. On the pendulum clock, see Landes, Revolution in Time, 114–124.
28 Today, it still takes some effort to see the Domkirche and the Marienkirche clocks together, even though the buildings that once surrounded the latter are now gone. Berlin has had three Domkirche. The first Domkirche, which is depicted, dates to the fourteenth century. In 1747, it was demolished to make way for the second one, which was in turn demolished in 1895 to make way for the eyesore that still stands there.
29 Landes, Revolution in Time, 87–88; Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” 65–67.
30 Landes, Revolution in Time, 128.
31 Helmut Kahlert, “400 Jahren Taschenuhren. Dargestellt an Exponaten des Deutschen Uhrenmuseums Furtwangen,” Die Weltkunst 65, no. 2 (1995): 132; Landes, Revolution in Time, 287–288.
32 “Vom Gebrauch der Taschenuhren,” Olla Potrida 11, no. 2 (1788): 128–131; Jean-André Lepaute, “Anmerkungen über die Wahl der Taschenuhren,” Wittenbergisches Wochenblatt zum Aufnehmen der Naturkunde und des ökonomischen Gewerbes 22, no. 29 (1789): 225–229; J. H. M. Poppe, “Mittel zur genauen Stellung und Regulierung der Uhren,” Neues Hannoverisches Magazin 6, no. 13 (1796): 197–206.
33 For specialized works on Berlin’s clock- and watchmaking industry, see Gerhard König, Uhren und Uhrmacherei in Berlin: Geschichte der Berliner Uhren und Uhrmacher, 1450–1900 (Berlin, 1988); and König, “Berliner Uhren,” Sammler Journal 24, no. 8 (1995): 1266–1270. Erika Herzfeld argues that the clock- and watchmaking industry was unimportant in Berlin before 1750. Herzfeld, Preussische Manufakturen: Grossgewerbliche Fertigung von Porzellan, Seide, Gobelins, Uhren, Tapeten, Waffen, Papier u.a. im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert in und um Berlin (Berlin, 1994), 219–224. On Frederick II, see Alfred Chapuis, Le grand Frédéric et ses Horlogers (Lausanne, 1938); and Winfried Baer, “Die Uhren Friedrichs des Grossen,” Alte Uhren 1, no. 1 (1978): 57–66. On potatoes and pocket watches, see Karl Friedrich von Klöden, Karl Friedrich von Klödens Jugenderinnerungen (Leipzig, 1911), 40.
34 Landes, Revolution in Time, 129–130.
35 In its original form, the clock had chimes. They were removed when it was installed in the Academy building. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften [hereafter BBAW], Akademie-archiv, Bestand I., Abth. III, No. 105 A, Personalien der Mitglieder und Officianten, fol. 10r.
36 On “mean time” and “true time,” see Landes, Revolution in Time, 122.
37 Johann Esias Silberschlag, “Nachricht von einer neuen kunstreichen astronomischen Uhr in Berlin,” Berlinische Monatsschrift 5, no. 2 (1786): 555–559. On equation clocks, see Hans von Bertele, “The Development of Equation Clocks: A Phase in the History of Hand-Setting Procedure,” La Suisse Horlogère 74 (1959): 39–46, 15–24; 75 (1960): 17–27, 37–48; 76 (1961): 25–36; and Johannes Wenzel, “Equation Clocks,” Antiquarian Horology 13 (1981): 24–43.
38 “Anzeige,” Königlich-priviligirte Berlinische Zeitung von Staats und gelehrten Sachen, November 17, 1787, n.p.
39 The entire correspondence is available in BBAW, Akademiearchiv, No. 105 A, Personalien, fols. 44r–66v.
40 I am expanding here on the traditional notion of the public sphere, which sees it in terms of print and/or sociability. For overviews, see Anthony J. La Vopa, “Conceiving a Public: Ideas and Society in Eighteenth-Century Europe,” Journal of Modern History 64, no. 1 (1992): 98–115; and Harold Mah, “Phantasies of the Public Sphere,” Journal of Modern History 72, no. 1 (2000): 153–182. The classic works on the public sphere are Reinhart Koselleck, Kritik und Krise: Eine Studie zur Pathogenese der bürgerlichen Welt (Baden-Baden, 1959); and Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft (Neuwied, 1962).
41 Karl Gutzkow, Aus der Knabenzeit (Frankfurt am Main, 1852), 5–6.
42 Ursula Goldenbaum, “Der `Berolinismus’: Die preussische Hauptstadt als ein Zentrum geistiger Kommunikation in Deutschland,” in Wolfgang Förster, ed., Aufklärung in Berlin (East Berlin, 1989), 339–386. For a more specialized study, see Horst Möller, Aufklärung in Preussen: Der Verleger, Publizist und Geschichtsschreiber Friedrich Nicolai (Berlin, 1974).
43 Christian Moellinger, Erklärung einer die wahre u. mittleren Zeit zugleich zeigenden in d. Saal der königl. Akad. aufgestellten Uhr (Berlin, 1787); Moellinger, Ueber die allgemeinen Klagen in Ansehung des unregelmässigen Ganges der Thurm-Uhren und über die Mittel, diese Uhren ohne allzugrosse Kosten zu einer übereinstimmenden Richtigkeit zu bringen (Berlin, 1798); Moellinger, Erneuter Vorschlag zur Aufstellung einer Normal Uhr für Berlin (Berlin, 1823). Unfortunately, the first two books have been lost. The only extant copy of the last text is in LAB, A Rep. 004, No. 38, Die Thurm-Uhren und Glocken, Bd. 1, 1787–1843, I. Teil, fols. 77–85. See also Silberschlag, “Nachricht.”
44 Two of Berlin’s most famous clubs were the Mittwochsgesellschaft and the Montagsklub. On the Mittwochsgesellschaft, see Günter Birtsch, “Die Berliner Mittwochsgesellschaft,” in Hans Erich Bödeker and Ulrich Herrmann, eds., Über den Prozess der Aufklärung in Deutschland im 18. Jahrhundert: Personen, Institutionen und Medien (Göttingen, 1987), 94–112; and James Schmidt, “The Question of Enlightenment: Kant, Mendelssohn, and the Mittwochsgesellschaft,” Journal of the History of Ideas 50, no. 2 (1989): 269–291. On the Montagsklub, see Gustav A. Sachse, ed., Der Montagsklub in Berlin 1749–1899: Fest und Gedenkschrift zu seiner 150sten Jahresfeier (Berlin, 1899); and Erich Steffen, “Ein Klub im alten Berlin,” Alt-Berlin: Mitteilungen des Vereins für die Geschichte Berlins, no. 9 (1910): 119–121.
45 N. Beckmann, “Ueber die Uhr zu Basel,” Hannoverisches Magazin 22, no. 51 (1784): 863–864.
46 “Ueber die Uhren der Landwirthe in den Elbmarschen,” Hannoverisches Magazin 22, no. 96 (1784): 1551–1552.
47 On England and Gotha, see “Einige Bemerkungen über die sogenannte Thurm- oder Kirchen-uhren,” Neues Hannoverisches Magazin 10, no. 64 (1800): 1211–1218. On Breslau, see “Von den öffentlichen Uhren in Breslau: Ein Beytrag zur Geschichte und Beschreibung dieser Stadt,” Schlesische Provinzialblätter 24, no. 7 (1796): 1–16. More generally, see Poppe, “Mittel zur genauen Stellung und Regulierung der Uhren,” and G.W.E., “Beantwortung der Frage: Warum nur selten, nach Anzeige des Kalenders, auch die vollkommenste Uhr ganz accurat geht, sondern bisweilen mehrere Minuten differirt, was ist die Ursache davon? u.s.w.,” Hannoverisches Magazin 23, no. 39 (1785): 609–616. On Vienna, see Moellinger, Erneuter Vorschlag, 6–7.
48 Silberschlag, “Nachricht”; Klaus-Harro Tiemann, “‘Pro musis et mulis’—das erste Akademiegebäude,” Spectrum: Berliner Journal für den Wissenschaftler, no. 6/91 (1991): 44.
49 Sara Schechner, “The Material Culture of Astronomy in Daily Life: Sundials, Science, and Social Change,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 32, no. 3 (2001): 211.
50 BBAW, Akademiearchiv, No. 105 A, Personalien, fol. 44rv.
51 On Prussian governance, see C. B. A. Behrens, Society, Government, and the Enlightenment: The Experiences of Eighteenth-Century France and Prussia (London, 1985).
52 BBAW, Akademiearchiv, No. 105 A, Personalien, fol. 49v. Emphasis added.
53 Ibid., fols. 14r–17v.
54 The Polizeidirektorium slowly assumed control over all of the city’s public clocks, with the result that by the 1820s, individual church consistories in Berlin were no longer even allowed to hire their own clock setters. On the Polizeidirektorium’s early involvement with the Academy clock, see BBAW, Akademiearchiv, No. 105 A, Personalien, fol. 17rv. On hiring clock setters, see Brandenburg Landeshaupt-archiv Potsdam [hereafter Brandenburg LHA], Pr. Br. Rep 10A, Domkirche Berlin, No. 208, Acta betr. die Bestallungen der Uhrmacher und Uhrsteller; and Brandenburg LHA, Pr. Br. Rep 10A, Domkirche Berlin, No. 209, Anstellung der Domuhrsteller (1773–1858). On the centralized system of clock setting that emerged in Berlin, see LAB, A Rep. 004, No. 39, Die Thurm-Uhren und Glocken, Bd. 2, 1844–1869.
55 On Geneva, London, Berlin, and Paris, see Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 346.
56 On the sundial, see BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. II., No. 30, Acta die Aufstellung der akademischen Sonnenuhr betreffend, 1810–1811. See also Johann Georg Krünitz, ed., Oekonomisch-Technologische Encyklopädie, 242 vols. (Berlin, 1832), 155: 692–712.
57 On German industrialization, see Hans Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, 4 vols. (Munich, 1987), 1: 14; Thomas Nipperdey, Deutsche Geschichte 1800–1866: Bürgerwelt und starker Staat (Munich, 1983), 182–183.
58 Dava Sobel, Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (New York, 1995).
59 On the invention of marine chronometers, see Landes, Revolution in Time, 146–152.
60 “Die Akademieuhr—Berlins älteste Normaluhr: Das Chronometer ist im märkischen Museum zu sehen,” Berliner Zeitung, October 17/18, 1987, 42; and Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 346.
61 Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preussischer Kulturbestiz, I. HA Rep. 9, No. 7, Fasc. 1, Uhrmacher 1661–1702, fol. 13rv. Also quoted in König, Uhren und Uhrmacherei in Berlin, 27.
62 For all of these churches, see Jürgen Boeckh, Alt-Berliner Stadtkirchen (Berlin, 1986). The Luisenkirche was part of the system, but it was located in Charlottenburg, which was outside the city limits. LAB, A Rep. 004, No. 789, Die Uhr und die Glocken auf dem Luisenkirchturm, 1755–1866.
63 On the maintenance needs of a public clock, see Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 192.
64 LHA, Domkirche Berlin, No. 208, Acta betr. die Bestallungen, n.p.
65 LHA, Domkirche Berlin, No. 209, Anstellung der Domuhrsteller, fol. 20r.
66 The letter failed, but Buschberg did get the contract two years later. Ibid., fol. 21r.
67 On German education, see Anthony J. La Vopa, Grace, Talent, and Merit: Poor Students, Clerical Careers, and Professional Ideology in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge, 1988); and James Van Horn Melton, Absolutism and the Eighteenth-Century Origins of Compulsory Schooling in Prussia and Austria (Cambridge, 1988).
68 On women in Berlin’s public sphere, see Deborah Hertz, Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin (New Haven, Conn., 1988).
69 On the Mittwochsgesellschaft, see Birtsch, “Die Berliner Mittwochsgesellschaft.” On the Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek’s contributors, see G. Parthey, Die Mitarbeiter an Friedrich Nicolai’s Allgemeiner deutscher Bibliothek nach ihren Namen und Zeichen in zwei Registern geordnet (Berlin, 1842).
70 On the market for women’s watches, see Landes, Revolution in Time, 270–271.
71 On the three-piece suit, see David Kuchta, The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity: England, 1550–1850 (Berkeley, Calif., 2002), 102–111.
72 On the rise of the uniform, see Philip Mansel, “Monarchy, Uniform and the Rise of the Frac, 1760–1830,” Past & Present, no. 96 (1982): 103–132. On the significance of the uniform in the Prussian army, see A. Hamish Ion and Keith Neilson, eds., Elite Military Formations in War and Peace (Westport, Conn., 1996), 103–105. On the military and pocket watches, see Landes, Revolution in Time, 96. On the continuing significance of pocket watches in Germany during the late nineteenth century, see Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space, 1880–1918 (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), 110–111.
73 Klöden, Jugenderinnerungen, 40. On Klöden, see Maximilian Jähns, “Klöden, Karl Friedrich,” in Rochus Wilhelm Liliencron et al., eds., Allgemeine deutsche Biographie [hereafter AdB], 56 vols. (Leipzig, 1875), 16: 203–208.
74 Gutzkow, Aus der Knabenzeit, 5–6. On Gutzkow, see Johannes Proel\S, “Gutzkow, Karl,” in Lili-encron et al., AdB, 10: 227–236.
75 BBAW, Akademiearchiv, No. 105 A, Personalien, fol. 34r.
76 Derek Howse, Greenwich Time and the Discovery of the Longitude (Oxford, 1980), 106.
77 On the production of space, see Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford, 1991). For the eighteenth century, see Daniel Brewer, “Lights in Space,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 37, no. 2 (2004): 171–186. On city space and science, see Sven Dierig, Jens Lachmund, and J. Andrew Mendelsohn, eds., Science and the City (Chicago, 2003).
78 On new city spaces in early modern Germany, see Klaus Gerteis, Die deutschen Städte in der Frühen Neuzeit (Darmstadt, 1986), 34–51.
79 On Berlin, see Friedrich Nicolai, Beschreibung der Königlichen Residenzstädte Berlin und Potsdam und aller daselbst befindlicher Merkwürdigkeiten …. (Berlin, 1779–1786). Other examples include Johann Gottlob Schulz, Beschreibung der Stadt Leipzig (Leipzig, 1784); Philipp Christian Ribbentrop, Beschreib-ung der Strassen, einiger öffentlichen Gebäude und der Kirchen der Stadt Braunschweig (Braunschweig, 1789); and Friedrich Groschuf, Versuch einer genauen und umständlichen Beschreibung der Hochfürstlich-Hessischen Residenz- und Hauptstadt Cassel …. (Cassel, 1769).
80 Leopold Friedrich von Göckingk, “Briefe eines Reisenden an den Drost von L.B.,” Deutsches Museum 2 (1779): 71–72.
81 For Prussia, see Eckhart Hellmuth, “A Monument to Frederick the Great: Architecture, Politics, and the State in Late Eighteenth-Century Prussia,” in John Brewer and Hellmuth, eds., Rethinking Leviathan: The Eighteenth-Century State in Britain and Germany (Oxford, 1999), 317–342. On monumental buildings in general, see Gerteis, Die deutschen Städte, 46–48.
82 Margaret Shennan, The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia (London, 1995), 67–68.
83 This was the case with the Böhmische Kirche (1737), the Dreifaltigkeits Kirche (1737), the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche (1701), the Französische Kirche (1701), and the Parochialkirche (1695). For an overview, see LAB, A Rep. 004, No. 38, Die Thurm-Uhren und Glocken, Bd. I, 1787–1843, I. Teil and II. Teil. For a contemporary perspective, see Georg Andreas Eberhardt, Grundlinien zur Be-urtheilung ganz vollkommener Thurmuhren (Gotha, 1812).
84 Heine, Gesamtausgabe, 6: 12. In 1840, Karl Gutzkow added his impression: “From my apartment I am afforded a view of the area around the castle, [which is] on a glut of large buildings, which make the area between the start of the Linden and the Dom one of the most remarkable plazas in Europe”; Gutzkow and Wolfgang Rasch, Berlin—Panorama einer Residenzstadt (Berlin, 1995), 12–13.
85 I have taken this idea from Dierig, Lachmund, and Mendelsohn, Science and the City.
86 The Academy, through its different divisions, posed questions on a variety of issues, ranging from abstract philosophical ones to simple mechanical ones. See, for example, “Preisfrage der Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften für das Jahr 1788,” Berlinische Monatsschrift 5, no. 2 (1787): 96; and “Preisfragen, welche von der königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin für das Jahr 1787 und 1788 aufgegeben worden,” Journal von und für Deutschland 3, no. 6 (1786): 560–561. Johann Esias Silberschlag, who first publicized Moellinger’s clock, was Berlin’s chief official in charge of construction (Oberbaurat), and in that capacity gave lectures at the Academy on practical physics. On Silberschlag, see Paul Tschackert, “Silberschlag, Johann Esaias,” in Liliencron et al., AdB, 34: 314–316.
87 BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. II., No. 24, Volumen Actorum betreffend die Illumination bey Gegenwarth des Königs von Polens Majestät in Anno 1728 und die von 1745; BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. II., No. 28, Illumination des Academie-Gebäudes bei der Ankunft Sr. Majestät betreffend, 1809.
88 On Germany in general, see Ludwig Hammermayer, “Akademiebewegung und Wissenschafts-organisation während der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts,” in Erik Amburger, Michaï¿½ Cieï¿½la, and László Sziklay, eds., Wissenschaftspolitik in Mittel- und Osteuropa (Berlin, 1976), 1–84. On astronomy, see Rainer Baasner, Das Lob der Sternkunst: Astronomie in der deutschen Aufklärung (Göttingen, 1987). More broadly, see Simon Schaffer, “Authorized Prophets: Comets and Astronomers after 1759,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 17 (1987): 45–74.
89 Germany also had private observatories, such as Wilhelm Olbers’s in Bremen (1781), Nathanael von Wolf’s in Danzig (1785), and Johann Schröter’s in Lilienthal (1793). On observatories in Germany, see Baasner, Das Lob der Sternkunst, 28–31. More generally, see Nicholas Jardine, “The Places of Astronomy in Early-Modern Culture,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 29 (1998): 49–62.
90 Baasner, Das Lob der Sternkunst, 29–30.
91 On science and the eighteenth-century public sphere, see Thomas Broman, “The Habermasian Public Sphere and `Science in the Enlightenment,'” History of Science 36 (1998): 123–149.
92 For an example of Bode’s work, see Johann Elert Bode, Von dem neu endeckten Planeten (Berlin, 1784), which discusses William Herschel’s discovery of Uranus. For star charts, see Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Astronomisches Jahrbuch, oder Ephemeriden für das Jahr 1778 nebst einer Sammlung der neuesten in die astronomischen Wissenschaften einschlagenden Beobachtungen, Nachrichten, Bemerkungen und Abhandlungen (Berlin, 1776). On calendars, see BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. VIII., No. 14, Calender-Sachen, 1732–1744; BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. VIII., No. 56, Calender-Wesen vom Jahr 1789 bis 1790, während der Pacht des Herrn Siwieke; and BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. VIII., No. 57, Kalender Sachen, 1790–1794.
93 Tiemann, “‘Pro musis et mulis,'” 43.
94 Details in BBAW, Akademiearchiv, Bestand I., Abth. II., No. 29, Acta den runden Vorsaal der Academie betreffend, 1793–1805–1812.
95 In general, see Hans Ludendorff, “Zur Frühgeschichte der Astronomie in Berlin,” Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Vorträge und Schriften, no. 9 (1942): 1–23. For primary sources, see Gott-lob Friederich Haug, Kurze und deutliche Anleitung zum Gebrauch eines Sextanten …. (Stuttgart, 1794); Friederich Christoph Müller, Gemeinnützige Astronomische Tafeln (hauptsächlich zur richtigen Stellung der Uhren) …. (Leipzig, 1792); and Julius August Koch, Astronomische Tafeln zur Bestimmung der Zeit …. (Berlin, 1797).
96 For Berlin, see Vollständiger astronomischer Calender: Nach dem verbesserten Stylo …. (Berlin, 1747–1756). For other areas, see Neu zu jedermanns Gebrauch eingerichteter astronomischer, historischer und Schreib-Calender: Aufs Jahr nach Jesu Christi Geburt.; worinnen der Planeten Aspecten, Auf- und Untergang, Erwehlungen, Gewitter, astrologische Prophezeiungen und andere Calender-Sachen befindlich; fürs Hertzogthum Schlesien und benachbarte Länder (Berlin, 1746); and Verbesserter Astronom- und Physicalischer Mecklenburgischer Calender: Auf das Jahr 1710 (Rostock, 1709).
97 A sextant was included with Friederich Christoph Müller, Tafeln der Sonnenhöhen nebst einem Sextanten zum Gebrauche im gemeinen Leben …. [Schwelm, 1787].
98 See, for example, Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” 58–60.
99 Lorraine Daston, “The Nature of Nature in Early Modern Europe,” Configurations 6, no. 2 (1998): 154–156.
100 On astronomical instruments, see J. A. Bennett, “The English Quadrant in Europe: Instruments and the Growth of Consensus in Practical Astronomy,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 23 (1992): 1–14; and A. J. Turner, “The Observatory and the Quadrant in Eighteenth-Century Europe,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 33 (2002): 373–385.
101 Foucault, Discipline and Punish; and Michel Foucault, “Truth and Power,” in Colin Gordon, ed., Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977 (New York, 1980), 109–133.
102 This is particularly the case in Foucault, The Order of Things.
103 The Prussian government played a significant role in distributing the new time standard through the promulgation of public edicts; see “Bekanntmachung des Königl. Ministeriums des Innern und der Polizei, die Stellung der Thurm-Uhren,” in Karl A. von Kamptz, ed., Annalen der preussischen inneren Staatsverwaltung, 23 vols. (Berlin, 1825), 9: 415; and “Cirkular-Reskript des Königl. Ministeriums des Innern und der Polizei an sämmtliche Königl. Regierungen—ausschliesslich derjenigen der Provinz Westphalen—die gleichmässige Stellung der öffentlichen Uhren betreffend,” ibid., 17: 144–145. See also Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 346.
104 Gutzkow, Aus der Knabenzeit, 5–6.
105 On the origins of GMT and the time zone system, see Dohrn-van Rossum, History of the Hour, 348–349.
106 On the Paris Observatory’s high profile in the seventeenth century, see Sobel, Longitude, 28–32.
107 On the Paris Observatory, see Roger Hahn, The Anatomy of a Scientific Institution: The Paris Academy of Sciences, 1666–1803 (Berkeley, Calif., 1971), 18–19. More broadly, see Michael Hoskin, ed., The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy (Cambridge, 1999), 146; and Suzanne Débarbat and Curtis Wilson, “The Galilean Satellites of Jupiter from Galileo to Cassini, Römer and Bradley,” in René Taton and Curtis Wilson, eds., Planetary Astronomy from the Renaissance to the Rise of Astrophysics, Part A: Tycho Brahe to Newton (Cambridge, 1989), 149–152. For examples of French influence in Germany, see Johann Leonhard Rost, Astronomisches Handbuch: Worinnen des Herrn Cassini Tractat, Vom Ursprung/Fortgang und Aufnehmen der Astronomie, und deren Nutzen/ in der Geographie und Schiffart …. (Nuremberg, 1718); Pierre Simon LaPlace, Darstellung des Weltsystems, trans. Johann Karl Friedrich Hauff, 2 vols. (Frankfurt am Main, 1797).
108 On clockmaking in Paris, see Johannes Willms, Paris, Capital of Europe: From the Revolution to the Belle Époque, trans. Eveline L. Kanes (New York, 1997), 283. Also see David Garrioch, The Making of Revolutionary Paris (Berkeley, Calif., 2002), 271–273.
By MICHAEL J. SAUTER