Morning Open Thread is an open discussion forum for human interest news of the day, hobby and fun things, what you did on your vacation, and your local weather phenomena.
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My dad had a Ball Watch. During WW2 he tried to join every branch of the military, but could not pass the physical. Never mind that he went to college on a football scholarship, was incredibly strong and had a brilliant mind. He had fallen out of an apple tree when he was six years old, breaking a bone in his elbow. He could not completely straighten out his arm, a condition that was not noticeable unless one looked closely. He was frustrated, because he wanted to do his part for the war effort.
So, he went to work for the railroad. He was hired by the Cotton Belt Line, which no longer exists due to mergers, but that is another story. Railroad crews were required to have extremely accurate watches. Trains ran on timetable schedules, and being off more than a few seconds could mean the difference between a safe trip and what railroaders call, “A cornfield meet.” That is, a collision out in the middle of nowhere because a train was not where it was supposed to be. That is what happened to the famed engineer Casey Jones.
On April 18, 1891, there was a head-on collision between two trains in Kipton, Ohio. Like most wrecks of the time, there were fatalities. Trains were using the same lines but going in opposite directions. On that April 18, the two trains were supposed to cross each other at a defined crossing point. However, one of the conductor’s watch stopped for four minutes. Those lost four minutes cost a number of lives and two trains.
The railroad wanted to make train travel safer, so they appointed a skilled watchmaker named Webb C. Ball as “Chief Time Inspector.” Ball had demanding standards for the watches and timekeepers under his control. He established standards so strict, the Swiss Official Testing Institute (COSC) adopted them. I remember going with my dad to the railroad watchmaker to get his watch checked and reset. If it was off by more than a few seconds PER WEEK, he would have been laid off until he either got it fixed or replaced.
My brother has my dad’s watch now. Some years ago, pocket watches were discontinued in favor of wrist watches. The Ball Watch Company only makes wrist watches these days. The watch you see in the photo at the top is the Ball Engineer Master II Aviator watch. It has a 44mm face, which is covered by a clear sapphire crystal instead of glass. I didn’t buy it; it was given to me by someone who cares very much.
One thing about Ball watches. Unlike a Rolex or other jewelry watch, they are not for show. They are working watches. The example given to me was that although a top end 18-wheel truck and a Rolls-Royce cost about the same, one says, “‘Look at me,’ while the other says, ‘get the hell out of my way, I have work to do.'”
In keeping with the working tradition of the company, and its dedication to providing the best service to the traveling public, they created the Explorer Club. The Ball Watch Explorers represent some of the best of humanity. Adventurers, explorers, and humanitarians who can inspire us all.
Here are just a few of the members inducted into the Ball Watch Explorer Club. This inspires me to try even harder.
One of the newest members inducted into the Explorer Club is Alex Honnold, free climber.
If you have not given life everything you have in the time allotted on this earth, holding nothing back, then what are your plans?
This is Morning Open Thread. Grab your cup, pull up a chair, sit a spell and share what’s on your mind today.