Date: Tue, 29 Nov 94 19:44:42 PST
Subject: GMT Landmark
From: WhiteBoard News for November 28, 1994
The clock that gave the world Greenwich Mean Time and
helped prove the earth turned smoothly will go home to
an observatory east of London after 275 years away,
time-keepers said Thursday.
The Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich said the clock
made by Thomas Tompion, known as the father of English
clockmaking, would be restored to its original setting
in the Octagon Room.
In the late 17th century the clock was used by
England's first Astronomer Royal to determine that the
earth rotated at an even rate, a discovery that meant
astronomical readings could be relied on for plotting
maps and for navigation.
The findings were used as the basis for all
measurements of time and space for more than 250 years
and are the reason why the Prime Meridian Longitude
passes through Greenwich. It was not until the 1930s
that quartz crystal technology detected minute
variations in the earth's rotational speed.
"The Tompion clock is an immensely important piece of
British and international history, central to the
development of timekeeping and navigation," said Lord
Lewin, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the
National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
The clock, which needed to be wound only once a year,
was sold off in 1719.
© 1994 Peter Langston