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"Daniel P. B. Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 1 Aug 2022 09:43:11 -0400
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> Em 1 de ago. de 2022, à(s) 8:53 AM, Carl Chimi <[log in to unmask]> escreveu:
> I can only say that even as a kid I never believed that anyone could remember such a thing so specifically.  And react to it with such precision in a time when the whole idea of clocks was so relatively primitive.  But I can’t remember.  Did Hank have a watch and an almanac (with historical eclipse information in it) with him?
> Carl

No watch. "For a time, I used to wake up, mornings, and smile at my ‘dream,' and listen for the Colt’s factory whistle.” And during the event "The time of the day was right for the eclipse; I had seen that for myself, in the beginning, by the dial that was near by.”

In the book Hank admires a horse "muscled with watchsprings.” Not sure how common personal watches would have been in 1879. I imagine reasonably well-to-do people would have had pocket watches—the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has one, not so sure a factory foreman would have. 

Certainly no almanac. And I think it would need to be a specialized almanac. Really unlikely that a factory foreman in 1800s Connecticut would have had one. And normal almanacs list future eclipses, often just for the single year, not past ones back into the middle ages.

I only just realized that "the only total eclipse of the sun in the first half of the sixth century occurred on the 21st of June, A.D. 528, O.S. and began at 3 minutes after 12 noon” because eclipses of the sun are very local phenomena, visible only along a narrow path—that’s why people travel to see them—and the time depends on the location, enough to mess you up if you need to know the time to the minute. You would need a very compendious almanac unless it was compiled specifically for a single location. A table of eclipse times and dates for Hartford, Connecticut wouldn’t work at all for Camelot.