The House of Uberbach, or The Change of Time
by Thom Savino
Hans Uberbach of Switzerland was a world-class clock maker, creating cuckoos containing the most intricate workings of his time. His time was the 1700s (or, as he liked to say, "It's a half-past one") and few people know that the term "hands of the clock" which most of us believe refers to the three ever ticking extensions that count in strokes the seconds, minutes, and hours were actually called the arms of the clock. But, Uberbach was so famous for his clocks he was simply known all through Europe as "Hans of the Clocks." However, through the mysterious and sometimes untraceable process of history, the fly-switching herd of humanity confused the name of Uberbach with those most prominent parts of the clock and, disarmingly, morphed the phrase into our now current "hands" of the clock.
Also little known, is Uberbach's influence in creating the first time zone differentiations in Europe, although he created only two zones separated by an hour - earlier in his town of Bern, later in his ex-wife's Lucerne. He bribed a local Magistrate in Lucerne to decree without prior notice the time there to be one hour later than in his Bern causing his wife to be late in attending the divorce proceedings thereby forfeiting her rights to any of Uberbach's fortune. Hans' ability to pay off the Magistrate prompted those who knew of the corruption to say, "Time is money."
Depressed and despondent the former Mrs. Uberbach was found nearly dead by Hans' dummkopf subordinate who had always been attracted to her. He had dreamed of seeing her naked, but he probably didn't want to see her nude this way. She lay in a pool of blood in her porcelain bathtub having sliced the Cephalic veins of both arms at the base of each hand. Narrowly missing arteries, she survived. The medical examiner at the Lucerne hospital where Ada Uberbach recuperated told Hans they put his ex-wife on a twenty-one day suicide alert or as they called it a "wrist watch." Hans couldn't get that phrase - "wrist watch" - out of his head and dreamt during a fitful sleep of tiny clocks attached by a band to people's wrists. Six months later he patented the first Swiss wristwatch and doubled his fortune.
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Thom Savino is the host of Savino Veritas.
Copyright © 2015 Kesteven Crescent Media in association with Thomas Savino.
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