The Marine Chronometer its History and Development

Author: John Cronin


Maritime chronometers are rare and precious items, crafted with care and precision, to provide an accurate means of measuring time and determining longitude at sea. Developed in the eighteenth century, these beautiful instruments were produced for the next two hundred years to the same basic design, and played a significant role in the growth of maritime trade, ultimately helping to shape the world as we know it today.

In The Marine Chronometer, the author explains the workings of the chronometer and highlights a few of the more significant makers.

Topics covered include:

- The problem of longitude
- The early sea clocks
- Developments in France and England
- The mechanism of the chronometer
- Caring for chronometers

Note by Jeff Formby:

This book is an inexpensive introduction to the subject but some of the illustrations are poor quality (they appear to have been culled from the internet). The author correctly explains that the Harrison gridiron pendulum is based on the expansion of brass and steel in the approximate ratio of 3 to 2 - but the accompanying schematic on page 29 shows steel and brass rods used in the ration of 2 to 1 so does not achieve the result stated.

It is unfortunate that the author/publisher have chosen to use the exact same title as Gould's famous book first published in 1923 as this will cause confusion in the future. Gould's book remains the standard reference work on the history and development of the marine chronometer and is well worth the additional cost.