“Starting in 1893 Ladd Observatory at Brown University began transmitting time signals from precision pendulum clocks that were synchronized to observations of stars. The signals were used by local businesses such as jewelers and factories. The signals were also transmitted to the fire stations throughout Providence which sounded signals at exactly noon and 8:30 pm every day.”

Michael Umbricht is the Observatory Curator where he researches the history of science and technology to engage the public with Brown University’s historic scientific instrument collection. Prior to this he was the Coordinator of the Cormack Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History in Roger Williams Park for 14 years.