Thanks to our always-on cellphones we don't really have much need for this service anymore, but remember when you could call... the time?

When I was a kid growing up in central Wisconsin, we used to say you were calling the 'time and temp,' and it was a pretty simple concept. You just dialed (and when I say 'dialed,' I mean that literally-- our two phones still had dials on them) the local number (which, in the Wausau area was 845-0123) and it would connect you with the local phone company (which, back then, was GTE, if I recall correctly.)

The automated female voice would then answer, give you some sort of quick :10 advertising spiel for one of their services-- maybe a second line for your business, for instance-- and would then say, "It's 47 degrees at 11:04 a.m...." followed by an audible click as you were then promptly disconnected.

We used to call it ALL. THE. TIME! (And I always wondered what the 'time and temp' lady, as we called that automated voice, actually looked like...) Back then, it was pretty much the only way to get any kind of on-demand weather information. It seems archaic when you look at all the things our mobile devices can do now, but back then it was pretty high-tech!

But did you know you can STILL call the time?!? This Atlantic story mentions how the U.S. Naval Observatory still maintains a line that, when you call it (the number is 202-762-1401), an old-timey voice tells you the exact time, down to the second. Who knew?!

Listen to Curt St. John from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5
and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 103.9 The Doc