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    Re: Railroad Time
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2014 Mar 2, 11:46 -0800

    The short answer is, yes, by telegraph. Observatories, especially government-sanctioned observatories like the USNO in the US, performed daily transit observations while also maintaining large ensembles of chronometers (for the cloudy days!) and transmitted the time to the principal telegraph offices, both government and commercial.

    There's a nice article in "Sky with ocean joined : proceedings of the sesquicentennial symposia of the U.S. Naval Observatory, December 5 and 8, 1980 / edited by Steven J. Dick and LeRoy E. Doggett" which you can read online here:
    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31822002462802

    Somewhere in there (I read it a few weeks ago), there's an interesting comment about other observatories complaining about the USNO's monopoly of time dissemination to Western Union. It seems that some observatories were largely funded in the late 19th century by selling time signals.

    -FER
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