Skip to main content

Correspondence on clocks, 1879 - 1927

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 7/252

Scope and Contents

(1) Correspondence regarding clocks and sympathetic clocks, 1879-1893

Correspondence on clocks and sympathetic clocks not belonging to the Royal Observatory:

Correspondence between H. Eaton, G.S. Criswick, T. Lewis, W.H.M. Christie, Dent and Co., H.H. Turner and J. Buckney regarding the Westminster Clock, 1879-1887. The topics discussed are poor signals from the clock; inaccurate time; errors and the stopping of the clock; renewal of signal wires; changes in the organisation for transmitting the signal; the Deal Time Ball; batteries for the clock; proposed new galvanic contacts for the clock, with a plan; and maintenance and cleaning of the clock.

R.J. Lecky's proposals to have a controlled clock at Burlington House, 1879.

Correspondence between F.J. Britten, Sir George Airy and G.C. Criswick regarding proposals for a clock controlled by galvanism at the Horological Institute, with discussions on the system to be used and its advantages and disadvantages, 1879.

Enquiries by B. Price to Sir George Airy regarding sympathetic clocks, 1879.

Request by C. Shepherd to G.S. Criswick to display his electromagnetic clock and for trials of a pendulum and some dials, 1881-1887.

Enquiries regarding the Westminster Clock, 1884-1888: F.W. Reynolds on the use of electricity for regulating the clock, answered by E. Dunkin; R.S. Lecky on the error of the Westminster Clock; and J. Edmonds's request for a description of the clock, answered by W.J. Wickison.

Request by A.B. Mitford, on behalf of the Office of Works, to investigate the poor performance of the St James' Palace Turret Clock, 1885, with a report by him on the failings of the clock.

C. Cornu's enquiry about Jones' method of synchronising clocks, answered, with diagrams, by T. Lewis, 1887.

Request by R. Inwards for trials and ratings of his clock, with correspondence with H.H. Turner, Christie and T. Lewis on the mounting of the clock, including a sketch of the wall bracket and daily rates compared with Arnold. The items cover 1889-1890.

Request for an electric astronomical clock for the Natal Observatory, 1889-1893. The papers cover the functions for the clock by E. Nevill, a summary of correspondence and work on the clock, the order sent to V. Kullberg, arrangements for sending the clock and the rating of the clock. The correspondents include T. Lewis, the Crown Agents, Christie, V. Kullberg, and C.R. Sayers.

(2) Miscellaneous correspondence concerning clocks, 1886-1892

Correspondence on the following subjects:

Opportunity to see Ellery's chronograph at the behest of E. Dent and Co., 1886.

Undated items on the rates of the Glasgow University Clock.

Completion of the clock for the Sydney General Post Office by H. Daly, with photographs of the clock under a covering letter by W.B. Joyce, 1891.

Covering letter from E.T. Loseby and cuttings from the 'Coventry Herald' concerning rates of the Market Hall Clock, 1890-1891.

Request made to Grimshaw and Baxter for information on the makers of the Greenwich Observatory clocks, 1891.

Enquiry from F.J. Brown regarding a suitable clock for Chester, answered by Christie, 1892.

(3) Correspondence regarding non-Royal Observatory clocks, 1881-1911

Correspondence on the following subjects, with an index:

A. Malloch on batteries for electric clocks, 1881.

V. Kullberg's plans for the Natal Clock, 1892.

Correspondence between F.C. Penrose and T. Lewis regarding the St Paul's Clock and means of rating it, 1894.

J.H. Bishop on variations in the rates of clocks due to the presence of oil in the escapements, answered by F.W. Dyson and W.H.M. Christie, who enclose the rates of Royal Observatory standard clocks and information on the Greenwich Sidereal standard escapements, 1894.

Letter from E.R. Archer advertising a self-winding clock, 1895.

Request for information from Gregory and Eyles for particulars and specifications of watches suitable for the Cape Railway, 1896.

Request by H.A. Hankey for a list of clocks controlled from the Royal Observatory, answered by H. Outhwaite, 1896.

Proposal by W.E. Burton to synchronise public clocks from the Royal Observatory, 1897.

W.J. Bartlett's desire to see the Westminster Clock, 1898.

Request by Parkinson and Frodsham for the best system of electrically-connected clocks, 1899.

Overhaul by V. Kullberg of the Cairo Survey clock and the clock regulating the Port Said time ball, 1899-1901. The correspondents are H.G. Lyons, H. Outhwaite and V. Kullberg.

Interest in a 'Moon Clock' shown by C.W. Thomas, 1899.

Enquiry by McCrea and Co. into the hiring of electric clocks, 1900.

Clarification for C.E. Fry and Sons on the actual striking of the hour by Big Ben, 1901.

Request from A.C.J. Boileau that a member of the Observatory staff clean the 'Congreve Clock', 1901.

Correspondence with W. King, the chief Canadian Astronomer, regarding the Greenwich time service, 1901, including advice on the setting up of a Canadian time service and a brief resumé on the foundation of the British time service.

Request by E.J.D. Hewitt to connect the clocks of the Standard Time Co. with the Royal Observatory and an explanation of the work of the company, 1901-1902.

Enquiry as to who supplies the sidereal pendulums for the Observatory, forwarded by W.J. Wharton, 1903.

Correspondence with C.H. Cooper regarding the cost of synchronising the Wimbledon Public Clock, 1904.

Enquiry from A. Coote concerning a 'perpetual motion clock', with a diagram and a photograph, 1904.

Invitation from Dent's to see the Mexico turret clock, 1904.

Particulars of Sallin's 'Automatic striking electric clock', including a photograph, 1905.

Particulars of a patent watch by F. Linan, written in French, with a photograph, 1905.

Enquiry from A. Millhouse as to how Greenwich Mean Time is governed, 1906.

Request by G.F. Campbell for advice on a house clock which runs for a year without stopping, 1906.

Copy of 'Science' containing an article by W.S. Eichelberger on 'Clocks - ancient and modern', 1907, with criticism by T. Lewis of Eichelberger's conclusions on the Greenwich clocks.

Enquiry by Cooke and Sons regarding Greenwich barometrical observations, 1907.

Offer from F.E. Clotten to sell an astronomical clock, 1907.

Correspondence on the alleged invention by T. Adair of a clock without error, 1907.

Suggestion by A. Robinson that the Observatory clock be placed east to west, 1908.

Enquiry from J. Arthur regarding the rate of the Greenwich sidereal clock, 1908.

Request from the Crown Agents to test a clock destined for use in Ceylon, 1909.

Enquiry by B.C. Webber of the Toronto Meteorological Service about the fee charged for the Greenwich Time Service, 1909.

Tracing and description of W.A. Granger's patent spring-impulse escarpements, with remarks on his inventions by T. Lewis, 1910.

Enquiry by Miss M.G. Rands regarding references for a year-going clock made by T. Tompion, answered by F.W. Dyson, 1911.

Questionnaire from Y. Shoten of the Imperial Consulate of Japan on the standard time systems employed in Britain, completed by F.W. Dyson, 1911.

(4) Correspondence regarding the Synchronome Company, 1910-1927

Covering letter from F. Hope-Jones and advertising literature concerning the wares of the Synchronome Company, 1910.

Request from T. Hope-Jones to exhibit the electrical impulse dials and arrangements for a meeting between F. Hope-Jones and Christie, 1910.

Description of F. Hope Jones' astronomical pendulum, 1911.

Request by F.W. Dyson that F. Hope-Jones demonstrate his pendulum at the Royal Astronomical Society, 1911.

Enquiry from G. Barrel regarding compensating astronomical clocks for variations of atmospheric pressure, 1913.

Suggestion by C.V. Boys that the tests and ratings of the Shortt clocks are invalid due to minute variations in temperature, answered by F.W. Dyson, 1927.


  • Creation: 1879 - 1927


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 bundle(s) (1 bundle)

Language of Materials