A speaking clock service was first introduced in Britain on July 24, 1936
The mechanism used was an of array of motors, glass discs, photocells and valves which took up the floorspace of a small room
The voice was that of London telephonist, Ethel Jane Cain, who had won a prize of 10 guineas (£10.50) in a competition to find the right voice
Cain's voice was recorded optically onto the glass disks in a similar way to a film soundtrack
The service was obtained by dialling the letters TIM (846) on a dial telephone, and hence the service was often colloquially referred to as "Tim"
However this code was only used in the telephone systems of the cities of London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester
"At the third stroke, the time will be (hour) (minute) and (second) seconds"
For times that are an exact minute, "precisely" is substituted for the seconds portion of the announcement
Similarly, announcements for times between the hour and one minute past the hour substitute "o'clock" for the (zero) minutes
Other operators run their own speaking clocks, with broadly similar formats, or redirect to BT's service.
In Moscow, the Speaking Clock number is 100 if dialed from within the city, or +7-495-100-xxxx from other countries (where x can be anything)
At one time in Moscow there were advertisements before and after the announcement of the current time; this practice has since ceased.
The speaking clock in South Africa is reached by dialling 1026 from fixed or mobile networks and consists of a female voice reading the time in 24-hour format, alternating between Afrikaans and English
All of South Africa is in the time zone GMT+2 without any daylight saving time so the speaking clock is the same all over the country.
The speaking clock (Swedish: Fröken Ur, meaning Miss Clock) in Sweden has been in service since 6 October 1934, and can be reached by dialling 90510 (+46 33 90510 from outside Sweden)
Four women have contributed with their voices for the service: Eva Ulvby (1934–1956), Berit Hofling (1956–1968), Ebba Beckman (1968–2000), Johanna Hermann Lundberg (née Östlund) (2000-)
More details at
In Taiwan, the speaking clock can be reached by dialing 117.
In the United Kingdom, the speaking clock can be reached by dialling 123 on a BT phone line; the number may vary on other networks
A voice announces