Glasgow time signals

Black, W. B. and Clarke, D. (2016) Glasgow time signals. Journal for the History of Astronomy, 47(3), pp. 256-293. (doi:10.1177/0021828616660048)

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Abstract

From 1859 to 1864, both visual and audio one o’clock time signals operated in Glasgow. Although the University carried a remit to provide the city’s time, following convoluted processes of establishment, a local chronometer-maker operated a time ball for 4 years. Towards the end of the period, time guns were triggered by telegraph from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh. Both exercises caused aggravation for the University. For the ball, the Professor of Astronomy, John Pringle Nichol, failed to convince the City Council that the “drop” control should originate from the University’s Observatory. For the guns, Robert Grant, the newly appointed Astronomy Chair holder, was aggrieved by the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Piazzi Smyth, appearing to operate above his station. Rather than having only a once per day reference, both projects were abandoned as the University laid a dedicated telegraph cable from its observatory to control many public clocks and additional clocks with large sweep fingers indicating exact time to the second.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clarke, Dr David
Authors: Black, W. B., and Clarke, D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Research Group:Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Journal for the History of Astronomy
Journal Abbr.:JHA
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0021-8286
ISSN (Online):1753-8556
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal for the History of Astronomy 47(3): 256-293
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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