What’s the time?

What would you pay to know the time? Probably nothing.

But go back a couple of hundred years, and people made a living out of selling the time. They would own a particularly high quality watch, and every morning they would go up to Greenwich and set it to exactly Greenwich Mean Time (simply the time told by the most accurate clock at the observatory). Then they would take their watch to the homes of their wealthy London clients and sell them the time – in other words for a small fee the clients could look at the watch and so set their clocks to Greenwich Mean Time.

Such behaviour seems pretty bizarre today – but it does beg the question – what kind of things that we pay big money for nowadays would be viewed as utterly trivial in the future? Answers on a postcard please (or hit the ‘comments’ link below).


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