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Author Topic: Harrison Clocks for navigation  (Read 4084 times)

Tug-Kenny

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Harrison Clocks for navigation
« on: March 25, 2013, 08:03:42 PM »


WE have started a new separate topic on the clocks and watches of John Harrison.
This due to the interest shown in the topic  " This day in boating history"




1693 & 1776: John Harrison, a self-educated English carpenter and later a clockmaker was born and died on the same day of the month, albeit 83 years apart.

He was born in Foulby, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, the first of five children in his family. His father worked as a carpenter at the nearby Nostell Priory estate. John Harrison following his father's trade as a carpenter, building and repairing clocks in his spare time. He built his first longcase clock in 1713, at the age of 20. The mechanism was made entirely of wood, which was a natural choice of material for a joiner.
His longcase clocks performed exceptionally well, and elements from them would appear in his a description and drawings for a proposed marine clock to compete for the Longitude Prize.


More details to follow with  Adross's permission  ...................




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ardarossan

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 08:41:20 PM »

No problems from me what-so-ever.
It would be nice to see some of the little nuggets in the 'Boating History' thread developing in their own right. In the case of John Harrison, I happened upon the story by chance, and was fascinated as I read more about him.
I've tried to keep the information relatively concise for each piece of data I've added to the 'Boating History' thread, but it just isn't realistic with some events, and the story of John Harrison is certainly a case in point.

Andy
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Circlip

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 09:16:33 PM »

Wonder what Harrison would have though to the fact that it is now cheaper to buy a crystal controlled watch and throw it away rather than replace its battery?   
 It should also be noted that it was Harrisons son that received the Balance of the Longitude prize after his fathers death.
 
  Regards Ian.
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ardarossan

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 10:51:31 PM »

Wonder what Harrison would have though to the fact that it is now cheaper to buy a crystal controlled watch and throw it away rather than replace its battery?   
 It should also be noted that it was Harrisons son that received the Balance of the Longitude prize after his fathers death.
 
  Regards Ian.

Ian,

Where did you find the reference that John Harrision's son received the balance of the Longitude prize please?
All I've been able to find is slightly conflicting data that seems to suggest; The Board of Longtitude paid John Harrison around £14,500 for his work in solving the problem; The Board never paid the full prize (to anyone): and that Parliament paid a sum of around £8500, 3 years before JH died. If that was the shortfall, it comes to more than £20,000, and it was before his death?

As an example of what I'm finding, below is the 'Conclusion' of an article from www.watch-around.com;

Conclusion
It appears that the demands of the Board of Longitude were justified in view of the Longitude Prize’s naive formulation and the Board’s unfamiliarity with chronometry. The fact that Harrison prevailed is a testament to his genius and perseverance, but also to the Board’s scientific magnanimity.

An acceptable test method was only devised 60 years after the Harrison trials by Maskelyne’s successor as Astronomer Royal, George Biddle Airy, one of the rare scientists to have done significant work in horology. Harrison’s test results were finally accepted after spirited intervention by King George III, who took a personal interest in these trials.

Once one becomes aware of its inherent faults, it is not surprising that no one ever won the full Longitude Prize, though in the end, John Harrison received a total of £23,065 in awards and grants, amounting to more than the prize money itself.


Although I'm replying to the information provided in Ian's post, input from anyone would be appreciated as I'm a tad puzzled.

Andy
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Corposant

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 11:09:26 PM »

Dava Sobel's book "Longitude" mentions it.

Mike
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ardarossan

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 11:38:17 PM »

Dava Sobel's book "Longitude" mentions it.

Mike

Hi Mike, Can you provide the source she references please?

Since I last posted, I just found another example stating that the prize wasn't awarded (below) - I found this one at The National Museum of the Royal Navy (Portsmouth) at http://www.royalnavalmuseum.org/info_sheets_john_harrison.htm

"...John Harrison died on his 83rd birthday on 24 March 1776 at Red Lion Square, London. He was buried in a vault in Hampstead church. A tomb was later erected by his son, William. In 1879, the London Company of Clockmakers reconstructed it as a mark of respect - even though Harrison had not been a member. His wife, Elizabeth, died a year later and William died in 1815.

The Longitude Act 1773 was repealed in 1828 and the Board of Longitude was disbanded. Although the main prize was never actually awarded, to all intents and purposes, Harrison had been the main winner. In total, the Board had made disbursements of £100,000 in the course of its life, the last being in 1815. After this, the problem of longitude had been solved and disasters, such as that that happened to Shovell's fleet, were no longer possible."


Any thoughts?

Andy
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Artistmike

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 07:47:54 AM »

Wonder what Harrison would have though to the fact that it is now cheaper to buy a crystal controlled watch and throw it away rather than replace its battery?   
  Regards Ian.

Thankfully the sort of engineering standards that Harrison instigated are still very much alive in the watch industry and although there are cheap quartz watches of the type that you refer to, they are often poor examples of what quartz technology can offer at chronometer grade and for which you still have to pay quite appreciable sums of money for to get good examples.

An example of where Harrison's work with watches has led to today can be seen here....  http://uhrforum.de/a-lange-and-soehne-saxonia-automatik-in-weissgold-t132622  ....... don't worry if you can't speak German, just scroll down to see the sort of legacy that can be clearly seen from where Harrison started with his Marine Watches and where it has lead to today, especially in the terms of the escapement.  When you realise you're looking at an escapement in a wristwatch, you realise engineering goes it doesn't get much finer....  :-)
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Corposant

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 09:39:42 PM »

Hi Andy

It appears I have no more information than you on the subject the Longitude Prize. I read Dava Sobel’s book about twelve years ago and Circlip’s comments rang a bell. Earlier today, I made a sortie into the loft to retrieve my copy.  It appears the bit that rang a bell was William Harrison being told by George III “By God, Harrison, I will see you righted!”

John had received £10,00 (half the prize) in the late autumn of 1765 when he was 72 - this after enormous obstacles had been put in his way by members of the Board of Longitude who had vested interests. It was only after the king helped him and his son  to petition Parliament that he received  a further £8,750 but this was not actually the prize as it did not come from the board. (As you mention in your last post.) I suspect it was William that effectively received it as this was at the end of June 1772, just four years before John died.

I imagine that you have read the book yourself, so I apologize for telling you what you know already!
Dava S. just gives a general bibliography list.

Hopefully anyone looking at this who hasn’t read the book will have had their appetite whetted - really is a great story.

Mike
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dave301bounty

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2013, 10:29:03 AM »

this post is    inbetween setting up a fusse  there is a very famous clock /watch maker lives on the Isleo man ,Mr G Daniels ,hand made pocket watches ,beautifull work ,and i was very priveliged  to meet him some time ago ,to think of how he started ,amazing   has any clockmen on here used a movement ,,mines the third weel to act as a gearbox ,it works brilliant fo a boat . O0
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Artistmike

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 11:06:57 AM »

there is a very famous clock /watch maker lives on the Isleo man ,Mr G Daniels ,hand made pocket watches ,beautifull work ,and i was very priveliged  to meet him

Unfortunately Mr Daniels died about eighteen months ago but will be remembered a long time in the watch fraternity, like Harrison, for his work on escapements, especially the co-axial. ... He continued a famous heritage of British watch making and he rightfully earned the Tompion Medal for his work. A great watch-maker...
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Circlip

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 11:17:11 AM »

Andy, think I picked up the point about Harrisons son collecting the residue from the film "Longitude"
 
  Reference to crystal controlled watches was that even cheap ones could have won the prize but are discarded nowadays without a second (bad pun) thought.
 
  Regards   Ian
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cabman

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 06:46:57 PM »

My house was approximately 100 yards from the site of Harrison's House in Barrow on Humber. There is a lot of information about him at Baysgarth Museum at Barton on Humber which is about 2 miles from his Barrow home.
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dave301bounty

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 08:03:17 PM »

Thanks for updating me Artist ,,,Mr Daniels ,as he learnt the trade the hard way ,he drew up a forum and rooy plan for us ,myself beginers to read ,it was a fasinating read and when i was at the school for the last 3 months ,in 1985 he made an apperance and was quite annoyed that this coucil had withdrawn funding ,so much for the future ,but he did insist we few keep the trade going however hard ,   by the way ,i am on the search for an american size 16 waltham case with lever setting ,cant get on .. ;)    :}    :embarrassed:
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Norseman

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2013, 10:09:46 PM »

I live only a few miles from Prescot. A place with a long association with watchmaking http://www.harrison-associates.co.uk/prescot/watchmaking.html Prescot has a watch museum I believe but I have never found time to visit it ... Maybe it would make for a nice afternoon out - you horologists would probably love it.

Dave
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dave301bounty

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 07:43:15 PM »

Dave ,I,ve been to Prescot Museum ,its as you say ,really interesting and a big eye opener ,some quite famous people have been and always state ,,did,nt know it was here  but there y,go .tonite will be busy for me ,have to put on 12 clocks ,and  silence 3 ,but it,s worth it .  Dave try and go ,you wont be disappointed.Dave .
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Peter Jordan

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2013, 08:48:05 AM »

I've just joined the forum and was interested to note the discussion about John Harrison. I am very interested in the man and his works, particularly his early timekeepers with movements made largely of wood. I own a replica of one of these clocks, and it features in a two-part video that I made about Harrison's early work and placed onto 'YouTube.' If you put 'John Harrison's wooden clocks' into the 'YouTube' search facility you should find it. I hope you enjoy it.
 
Peter Jordan
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2013, 09:26:25 AM »

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Neil

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Re: Harrison Clocks for navigation
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2013, 09:52:34 AM »

thanks Peter...
 
I once made a paper and card clock that someone bought me as a Christmas present........and it worked until it got crushed in an accident.......lol........but it was enjoyable making.......just as one makes card model boats.
 
and welcome to the site.
neil.
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