Talk:John Harrison

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Put your text for the new page here. my name is MR VIVIAN C KENNEY i just built a demo model of the grasshopper escapement for showing at the annual SYDNEY REGIONAL OCT.18-19 I will be representing MELBOURNE CHAPTER 122 A.A.H.S. My clock is large and made from wood. The escape wheel being 20 inches diam.and is hand made etc.Itis weight driven and runs beautifly. R.T.GOULD did a drawing in 1930 and i followed it plus harrison etc. Turret clock restoration is always of interest to me and my email is jkenney[at] p.s. i cannot type the symbol for the[at] in my address so please rectify when writing to me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:20, 10 October 2002

does any schematic exist of john harrison's famous H4 pocketwatch chronometer? these should of course naturally be in public domain beyond any patent or copyright. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:53, 21 July 2004

  • There are diagrams and descriptive text in "The Marine Chronometer" by Rupert Gould. I don't know about the copyright on that (it's Gould's work). The book was originally published in 1923 but reprinted recently, so perhaps the copyright was renewed. Also, Gould references an article in the Horological Journal, May 1878, by H.M.Frodsham. Apparently Frodsham examined Kendall's copy of H4 and made drawings. I would assume those copyrights have expired -- but I have not seen that article. Finally, if you're anywhere near Greenwich you might go there and look at what they have. Paul Koning 13:30, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

There appears to be an error with the links to this article. The article appears whenever a user attempts to see an account of the Mayor of North Tyneside, John Harrison. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:31, 13 October 2005

models to London[edit]

Did Harrison really take models of his work to London? I'd always thought that it was just the description and diagrams... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Peter R Hastings (talkcontribs) 21:42, 7 February 2006


EXCERPT FROM TEXT: Yet the timekeeping device with such accuracy would eventually also allow the determination of longitude accurately—whether night time, despite fog and mist, and during other varieties of inclement weather that defeated other solutions, making the device a fundamental key to the modern age. COMMENT: this does not seem to be entirely true - you can only determine your position if you know that it is noon locally (or any other specified time) and you know what Greenwich time is at the same moment. So you do need visibility to determine your position -- it wont work in for or mist. Am I mistaken???? 14:07, 21 April 2007 (UTC) That is correct- You do need to know the time of local solar noon. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:04, 2 August 2007


Added source for inflation £20k --> £3mm, but could not make it work --- maybe someone can look through the source text for the ref /ref tags and see what to do to do it properl thx 14:39, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorted, you just needed to add "<references />" to the References section at the end to allow the reference to be visible and work properly. SFC9394 14:44, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

I am the poster who originally added the dollar and euro conversions of the prize amount, and I (belatedly) admit that I was overzealous in my application of the {{inflation}} template. I was NOT following WPMOS, and should have left it at GBP. I apologize. STOP THE REVERSIONS! WeeWillieWiki (talk) 14:41, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

the text states "..offered financial rewards of up to £20,000 (£2.75 million).. " WHAT?? do you mean adjusted for inflation? and actually "pounds" were not introduced until 1818 so it should read "20,000 guineas" maybe look here.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:14, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Disambig link[edit]

Fixing links, I came across the link to pitch in the sentence:

"...ble to function at the odd angles and pitching and yawing typical..."

For now, I've removed the link because I wasn't sure which pitch it was referring to. There's Pitch (flight) and Blade pitch. I know this dude was about the sea, but maybe flight pitch is roughly the same? :S Marc 09:00, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Howabout a picture of the bloody clocks?[edit]

I can't believe there isn't a picture on here of these things. Seems like a pretty obvious inclusion! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:08, 13 July 2007

If someone visits the Maritime museum or lives nearby, please take a few pictures. Brholden 19:02, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes please. All the pictures I have are covered by copyright. Paul Koning 17:32, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I have added my picture of H5 taken at the Clockmaker's Museum. Unfortunately when I visited Greenwich I was told that photography was not allowed. Racklever 19:26, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
This is correct, photography is sadly not allowed but having seen them personally I can testify to the fact that they are exquisitely beautiful machines. (talk) 22:26, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Images added. Shot without flash, and uploaded in low resolution to discourage commercial re-use. Phantom Photographer (talk) 19:11, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

What about Harrison?[edit]

Should it be so that the article titled John Harrison be almost entirely about the clock Harrison made? Would it be strange if a larger part of the article spoke of Harrison's life? -- (talk) 16:48, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs to be more focused on Harrison's life, rather than the clock issue. I can find some books on Harrison once I'm back at my university, and I will expand on the details of his life. Nishkid64 (talk) 19:01, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

A watch doesn't measure miles[edit]

Under the heading "The Longitude Watches" there is a sentence which says "When the ship reached Jamaica the watch was only two miles in error" Shouldn't the sentence say something like "the calculation of longitude made using the watch was only two miles in error"? Richerman (talk) 13:10, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

The one is simply a shorthand for the other. Paul Koning (talk) 16:33, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Well of course I know that, but what I'm saying is that it's bad use of English that could be improved. An encyclopaedia article should be clear and unambiguous. Richerman (talk) 21:47, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough, I'll track down the source data for better text along the lines you suggested. Paul Koning (talk) 17:23, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Paul, It's generally a very well-written article and I didn't want to change it myself in case my interpretation was wrong. Richerman (talk) 12:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I extended the text to give errors in terms of time as well as distance, citing the pages in Gould where I found that information. Thanks for the improvements. Paul Koning (talk) 16:45, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That's a lot clearer now, thanks. Richerman (talk) 12:18, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Greenland as a standard[edit]

I removed this:

{{citation needed}}<!--was Greenwich already the standard?-->

from the section The longitude watches.

Greenwich did not need to be a "standard" at the time. It was simply a reference point on the globe - one where many astronomical observations were made to establish the positions of the fixed stars and of the planets and moon over time. The British used this as a reference point simply because this the one they had established. I don't see that a specific reference is needed for this. --Michael Daly (talk) 06:18, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Suggested Addition: story about Neil Armstrong paying tribute to John Harrison[edit]

I want to add text to describe this story from's_timepiece1.htm (or from some other source).

"In the year of Harrison's death, James Cook sailed again to the Pacific, where he demonstrated beyond any doubt the utility of the chronometer in marine mapping. Nearly two centuries later, the honored guest at a dinner at 10 Downing Street was an American, who rose to propose a toast to John Harrison. His invention, the American said, enabled men to explore the Earth with precision and, when most of the Earth had been explored, to dare to build navigation systems for voyages to the Moon. 'You, ladies and gentlemen, started us on our trip.' The speaker was Neil. A. Armstrong."

Any objections? It's a great story and it needs to be here in order to show the stature of this engineering genius. I will write the entry in a while if I don't hear any negative feedback.Lkoler (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 22:58, 26 April 2010‎


Were the clocks H4 and H5 practical according to the terms of the "Longitude Act"? You have to keep in mind, they were prototypes, with room for improvement. But did they fulfill the task to provide an accurate and practical tool to meassure the longitude? Accurate they were, but capable for mass-production?-- (talk) 13:29, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

'Practical' means that they were able to be used in practice. Nothing to do with making them.
BTW, as Harrison and the marine chronometer led to such things as time balls and the Greenwich Time Signal - they were all used for setting ship's chronometers to GMT before a voyage - perhaps they could also be mentioned in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Designs for pendulum clock after maritime chronometers[edit]

According to this Guardian article, Harrison claimed to be able to build a pendulum clock that was accurate to within 1 second in 100 days. The article also says that this has now been confirmed by building a clock to his design. I think something on this should go in the article. Yaris678 (talk) 13:26, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Agree with this. Was coming here to mention it myself. 220 of Borg 09:14, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Cool. This has been added in these edits by WhosAsking and JezGrove. Looks good to me! Yaris678 (talk) 16:33, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

All credit to WhosAsking - I only tweaked the refs.JezGrove (talk) 17:27, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Relevance of Scilly naval disaster of 1707[edit]

User talk:RichardSDunn's good faith edit has removed the link to Scilly naval disaster of 1707 on the grounds that it can’t be proved to be a navigational error. Whilst WP:VNT applies and I agree, the real cause of this massive wartime Naval disaster is irrelevant here, the fact that the Admiralty ‘chose to blame it on navigation’ & hence put up the money is relevant and was covered in the link. I’ll restore it, add a new reference and invite Richard to discuss it as per wp:BRD if he still objects. JRPG (talk) 16:17, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Clock exhibit on tour.[edit]

Currently (January 2016) the clock exhibit is not in London but is on tour. The exhibit is currently in Mystic Seaport Connecticut and is slated to be moved to Sydney before being returned to London. You should correct the statement, "Today the restored H1, H2, H3 and H4 timepieces can be seen on display in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich." You should also not use the term "today" but should replace it with the current date. Arydberg (talk) 13:24, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

"Speed" of balace?[edit]

"Harrison had also come to this conclusion and abandoned the idea of the 'Sea clock' as a timekeeper, realizing that a watch-sized timekeeper would be more successful as it could incorporate a balance which, though smaller, oscillated at a much higher speed. "

How come that a higher oscillating frequency would imply higher accurracy? A H1 copy has just run for 100 days with less than 1 s error and the H1 are moving fairly slow. KjellG (talk) 22:41, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

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