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What does the word ball mean?

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June 18, 2009 3:56AM

April 18th, 1891 a local passenger train collided with a fast mail train in Kipton, Ohio. The event took the lives of eight people and was eventually dubbed The Great Kipton Train Wreck. Legend has it one of the engineer's watches was 4 minutes slow and this discrepancy was later found to be the route cause of the fatal crash. Some still argue about the watch being slow, but due to this wreck on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, the General Superintendent of the Lake Shore Line appointed Webster Clay Ball as Chief Inspector to investigate time keeping. Ball was a Cleveland jeweller with the reputation of being able to fix just about any watch. As a direct result of his investigation of railroad timekeeping, he instituted watch performance and inspection standards in 1893. Subsequently he became Chief Time Inspector for many railroads and had many American manufacturers (Howard, Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton & Hampden), produce a quality railroad timekeeper: the Ball Railroad Watch. Many of the aforementioned watch manufacturers produced railroad grade watches, but Ball watches were considered to be the best, the Cadillac of American railroad watches. It is also important to note that Ball's successful system was the first to be accepted on a broad scale. It was his system that set the standards for the railroads and helped establish accuracy and uniformity in timekeeping. It was his system that resulted in railroad time and railroad watches being recognized as STANDARD, whenever accuracy in time was required. "In general, it becomes accepted that when the average person asks a railroad man the time, he is assured it is correct