longitude

The Origins of the Greenwich Prime Meridian

The Origins of the Greenwich Prime Meridian

On October 13, 1884, Greenwich was adopted as the universal meridian, dividing the Earth into the Eastern and the Western hemisphere. At the International Meridian Conference held in Washington, D.C., 22 countries voted to adopt the Greenwich meridian as the prime meridian of the world. The French argued for a neutral line, mentioning the Azores and the Bering Strait but eventually abstained and continued to use the Paris meridian until 1911. The British Meridian Before…
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Ferdinand Berthoud and the Chronometer

Ferdinand Berthoud and the Chronometer

On March 19 1727, French horologist Ferdinand Berthoud was born. Together with his great rival, Pierre Le Roy, Berthoud contributed to the development of the chronometer in the attempt to solve the problem of determining longitude at sea. Berthoud‘s improvements to the chronometer have been largely retained in present-day designs. Becoming a Master Watch Maker Ferdinand Berthoud was born in in Plancemont, Val-de-Travers, in the Canton of Neuchâtel, which then belonged to…
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The Chronometers of John Harrison and the Problem of Longitude

The Chronometers of John Harrison and the Problem of Longitude

On April 3, 1693, self-educated English carpenter and clockmaker John Harrison was born. Harrison invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought-after device for solving the problem of calculating longitude while at sea. However, it was not until toward the end of his life that he finally received recognition and a reward from the British Parliament. Early Life Little is known about John Harrison’s early years. He was the oldest of five children, born…
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