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Longitude on National Poetry Day 2014

We’ve had one poetic contribution on this blog recently with Isabel Rogers’ post about her award-winning poem, ‘John’s Curious Machines’. As it’s National Poetry Day today, I thought I’d take us back to the eighteenth century and the work of Christopher Smart. Between 1757 and 1763, Smart was confined to…

Time to Solve Longitude: The timekeeper method

The simplest solution to the problem of longitude was one of time difference. You can determine how far east or west you are of a given location if you know the difference between local time (determined by the sun) and time in that location. All you need is a clock…

Longitude solutions

Longitude Solutions When Isaac Newton testified to a Committee of the House of Commons in 1714 about four potential longitude solutions, he pointed out that there were key problems with all of them, but what were those proposed solutions? And what were the problems with them?   Time Keepers The…

Why longitude mattered

One of the truly special objects on display in the Ships, Clocks & Stars exhibition is the Longitude Act of 1714 itself. The actual act, on loan to us from the Parliamentary archives, gives us some clues as to why Longitude was such a big deal in the 18th century….