26. Selling Time
People can a business out of anything, but how can anyone sell time?! Well, a UK businessman in 1836 by the name of John Belville did just that – and even found customers for his ‘product’!
Belville used to work in the Greenwich Observatory, which is the prime meridian of the world. This meant that the timekeeping in the observatory was the most accurate anywhere in the world. Belville saw this as an opportunity.
Everyday, he used to set his pocket watch to the time shown in the observatory, and sell that pocketwatch to clients all across the city! After he died, his widow continued the business till 1940!
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