The main map is a polar projection of the world from the northern hemisphere with a printed cardboard time dial volvelle in the center of the North Pole (half black, half white, calibrated for 24 hours, day and night), which may be rotated to local time, thus enabling the user to determine the time in other parts of the world. An inset map of the United States below, is aligned to enable the user to determine time in United States, as shown in larger scale for greater detail. The United States map indicates railroads and their passages across different time zones. The margins and card covers feature instructions for use as well as advertisements for clocks, watches, and dials by Pheils.
World globes generally feature an hour circle at the North Pole that functions in a similar way as the time dial on this map. This is the only example of a map that we have seen with a similar rotating hour circle. To use the hour circle, it is to be set for local time. By following the hour ring extending to latitude lines for any place on the globe, one can then determine local time there.
The map was intended to advertise watches and clocks manufactured by Pheils that had a special “Universal Dial” that operated on a similar principle to the hour circle in the map. The Universal Dial apparently could also be fitted to clocks by other manufacturers. Phiels might have produced its timepieces and this map in response to interest in time zones, particularly after the adoption of the International Date Line in 1887.
Pheils was granted a patent for his Universal Time-Indicator in 1900. The patent application opens with these statements, and goes on to explain how the device works (see Reference below):
Be it known that I, ISAAC F. PHEILS, a citizen of the United States, residing at Woodville, in the county of Sandusky and State of Ohio, have invented a new and useful Universal Time-Indicator, of which the following is a specification.
My invention relates to time-indicators, and particularly to an apparatus adapted for determining the relative times between places at different points upon the earth’s surface and also for obtaining the absolute time at a given place when that at another point is known.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and wear. Folds into covers, as issued. Some minor separation at intersections and creasing at folds, as usual, some reinforced with archival tape. Covers good with usual wear and light separation at spine.
“All Public Member Photos & Scanned Documents results for Pheils.” Ancestry. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/1093/?name=_Pheils&fh=60&fsk=MDs2MDsyMA-61–61- (27 August 2020).
“Geographical Clock.” Google Patents. https://patents.google.com/patent/US641540 (27 August 2020).