Marconi Time Switch what was it used for


W

Wally

Guest
Hi there, after doing a bit of cleaning of my late grandfather's workshop and stumbled apon this Marconi Time Switch (pictured below). I've been watching this thing in action and here are a few more details.
The brand is Marconi and the tag says that it is a Time Switch by Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Co LTD London. Inst No 1049. On the side of the box is a dial to wind it up and another button that stops the timer momentarily until the button is released. The timer has two hands, one that counts 60 minutes and the other that counts 60 hours. At the 0 mark (where 12 would be on a normal clock) is a red line which is stamped as the "Datum Line."
Inside the box are two sets of mechanical arms that open and close two sets of contacts that are clearly labelled "Switch 1" and "Switch 2." I've sat here with a stop watch and recorded exactly what the switches do:

0:00 -SWITCH 1 CLOSES CONTACTS
0:44 -SWITCH 2 CLOSES CONTACTS
2:21 -SWITCH 2 OPENS CONTACTS
3.25 -SWITCH 1 OPENS CONTACTS
12:15 - SWITCH 1 CLOSES AGAIN AND THE SEQUENCE REPEATS FROM HERE

There is a small lever inside the box that momentarily stops the timer until it is released and there is a small wheel that is a fine adjustment to make the timer tick slower or faster (like on an old wind up alarm clock). There are 4 little holes in the side of the box where wires would come out and I pressume two would be for switch 1 and the others for switch 2.
I've done so much research on this and have turned up empty handed every time. I know that Marconi made the wireless telegraph system for the titanic which led me to this forum. The closest thing I have found to this on the net is something called a chronometer but as you can see from the description above,this time switch does a lot more than just measure time. The two sets of contacts look a lot like the contacts you would see on a set on automotive contact points. I've also seen mention of early telegraph systems using a spark to generate sounds but the descriptions are all very vague and haven't helped much. Any help in identifying what this time switch was used for would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help.
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Marconi Time Switch 1
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W

Wally

Guest
The pictures on here seem to be very small. If anyone would like a better look at it they can email me at waldog2000@hotmail.com and I'll happily send through some high res pictures. Thanks again.
 

Alex F

Member
Nov 8, 2013
136
2
73
It is simply a timer to shift "listening frequency" of the Titanic (or any Marconi) from one wave to another without operators "will" (automatically:)).

They have to receive press (Atlantic news) at certaing periods. At 10:00pm from Cape Cod and 2:21am from Poldhu (depends were you are in the Atlantic).

The time switch closes contacts to add an additional coil to shift the resonance in radio or opens contact to remove the coil from the circuit and to shift the frequency back to the normal wave (e.g. from 1500 meters back to 600 meters).

More you can read about schedule of broadcasting here. And consequences here.

All IMHO.
 

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