Early in the afternoon of December 16, 1850, Herman Melville looked at his timepiece. He was in the midst of composing the novel we now know as Moby-Dick. At that moment he was writing about how for thousands, even millions of years whales have been filling the atmosphere over the waters of the Pacific with the haze of their spouts - "sprinkling and mystifying the gardens of the deep." It was then that he decide to record the exact time at which he was writing these words about whale spouts: "fifteen and a quarter minutes past one o'clock P.M. of this sixteenth day of December, A.D. 1850."
- From Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick