Presented by Carlene Stephens

This talk will cover a crucial set of milestones in twentieth-century timekeeping, the inventions surrounding the introduction of the electronic watch. The focus will be on the Hamilton Pulsar—the world’s first all-electronic digital wristwatch—and its role in what has been called “the quartz revolution.”

Carlene Stephens is a curator in the Division of Work and Industry at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. She oversees the Museum’s historical clocks and watches, robots and automatons, and acoustic sound recording technologies. She is the author of “On Time: How America Learned to Live by the Clock” and other publications related to the cultural history of timekeeping and time finding. Her recent exhibitions are Robots on the Road?, about self-driving vehicles; Time and Navigation at the National Air and Space Museum; ‘Hear My Voice’, a display of objects and audio recovered from some of the earliest sound recordings ever made, all from Alexander Graham Bell’s Volta Laboratory; and most recently Elephants and Us: Considering Extinction.

 She has a book in the works about the history of the quartz wristwatch.