Shortest start, stop time. 0.07 to 0.12 were the non, "got lucky on a glitch" times possible on an ordinary SEIKO or CASIO watch back then. Done by double tapping the button on a desktop.
Hit exactly X seconds.
Using "lap" function, which froze a running display for viewing while timer continue to run in background, hit exact seconds, X times in a row, Y misses allowed. Highest number wins. This was one of the more fun ones. Practice made for higher scores and a zen like state. Anyone could play, unlike short time which showed us some people were just faster than others period. No fun. Anyway, on that one, we usually did "three strikes and you are out!" Anyone hitting the first second, or two, dead on had a clear advantage.
Variation on that was just hit an exact second, wait as long as you want between attempts. That is a different game. Both fun, and interesting to middle schoolers with no cell phones or Internet.
So, having mastered timer fun, we used the timers to time various things.
One ended up being, of all things, thumb tack spinning. Turns out, the nice, stainless steel, thumb tacks featuring a smooth, non plated, metallic top were excellent candidates.
The game was simple, spin the tack, and stop the timer when the tack no longer moves. At first, this was seconds. Honestly, people got tens of seconds, approaching a minute, depending. I remember being surprised at that!
Using rough surfaces, people would hone the point of the tack, and look for tacks formed in such a way as to be very well balanced. The machines do not always place the shaft well. But, in a group of tacks, there are always a few near dead center. Those are the candidate tacks.
To spin them, we held them low, near a smooth surface, such as glass, or a polished table or desktop. The polished tile floors were great places to do this, of course the morning after cleaning.
A finger snap type motion, along with a gentle lift up would send the tack spinning rapidly to land on the surface. The lower one could get the release, and the faster the spin, the longer the time. Better tacks made for much longer times.
When a tack was well balanced and given a fast spin, it would often just stand there, as if balanced right on the tip, motionless.
Funny the things people will remember. Your fun little game brought those back. Thanks!
I've never tried this, and I'm going to buy some thumb tacks soon just so I can!
"A finger snap type motion"
You've just reminded me that when I was a kid and playing games that involved spinning coins, all the other kids would spin a coin by keeping it vertical between the table and one finger, and then flicking it with another. But my habit was to hold the coin between two fingers (either with the bottom of the coin on the table, or with my palm facing up, a foot above the table), and do a finger snap motion before releasing the coin.
I have fond memories flooding back. A small group of us, bored as all get out, just doing what we could think of to do.
Was such a different time.
Anyway, yeah I was best with thumb and index finger, back of wrist right against the surface. Snap, with just a touch of lift to pull hand out of the way.
Have fun, don't forget to work the tip. LMAO
I never could do the coin that way. And some people can snap bottle caps, sending them off like little frizbees.