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Registration Number: H1

Name or Title: Marine chronometer

Classification: CH classification HOROLOGY Chronometers chronometer

Brief Description: A marine chronometer in a polished wooden box with double hinged lid. The top section of the lid is opened by pressing a button on the front, this opens to reveal a glass viewing panel. The chronometer sits in a metal ring that is fixed inside the box with two screws and its mechanism is encased in a circular brass surround. On the back of the chronometer is a circular disk which is rotated to reveal the hole in which the winder is inserted. The dial or face of the chronometer is white with black Roman numerals from 'I' to 'XII' marked around the edge. There are two smaller dials towards the middle of the main dial. The upper dial is marked from '0' to '54' while the lower dial is marked from '10' to '60'. A circular glass cover sits over the face of the chronometer. On either side of the box are metal handles and there is a metal key hole in the centre front of the box. The box has a decorative metal shield on the top of the lid and inlaid metal corners. A [ivory] plaque is attached to the centre front of the lid. The brass winder key sits in a holder in the back right hand corner of the box.

Collection: Social History

Production Place: London/England

Production Date: Circa 1860-1867

Materials: Brass, wood

Measurement : H184 x W170 x D172 mm

Signature/Marks: JOHN POOLE \ 57 Fenchurch Street \ London \ No 3464
John Poole \ MAKER TO THE ADMITALTY \ 57 Fenchurch St London 3464

History and Use: Marine Chronometers were considered the most accurate method available for keeping time in the past. They were used particularly in maritime navigation. Typically housed wooden boxes, they were equipped with gimbals to compensate for vessel movement.

The number inscribed on this chronometer (3464) indicates it was made by John Poole, Maker to the Admiralty. John Poole was considered one of the great chronometer makers of his time. He is attributed with the invention of ‘Poole’s Auxiliary Compensation’, a device to correct for errors induced in chronometers at low temperatures. In 1867, the year of his death, John Poole was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Exposition, in recognition of his outstanding work. The business was continued by his brother, James Poole.

The chronometer was owned by the Marks family of Brisbane. In 1933 they sent it to Lilley & Reynolds Ltd., nautical instrument makers in London for repairs. The chronometer was returned to Brisbane on the SS Port Bowen. It was donated to the Museum in 1954.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.

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