The Last Champion of the French Revolution’s Decimal Time

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Although plenty of political and social movements espoused the ten-or-hundred-hour day, the hundred-minute hour, and the hundred-second minute, the most infamous was the French revolution.

[Henri] Poincaré believed in decimal time with all his heart, and when he joined the Bureau [des Longitudes] in 1893, he pushed decimalization of time hard.

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Rising through the ranks of the Bureau, he went from secretary in 1893 to president in 1899, pushing the new and improved system all the way.

[I]n 1897, the Bureau debuted a compromised system. Each day would still have 24 hours. It was only the minutes and seconds that would get changed to hundredths of an hour and a minute respectively.

At home, people complained that they’d have to change everything from their watches to the navigational equipment of ships. Other governments were openly incredulous. Although a successful mathematician, physicist, engineer, and philosopher, Poincaré was a failure as a standardizer.

Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography via io9 for the full article.

This entry was posted in Culture, History, Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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