Goal: $300, Received: $55.00 (18%) Contribute Now
Donate whatever you can or Join the 14,000 other NAWCC members for only $80 (plus $10 for hard copy publications). Check it out here.

NOTICE Notice: This is an old thread. The last post was 3157 days ago. If your post is not directly related to this discussion please consider making a new thread.
Results 1 to 1 of 1
  1. #1

    Thumbs up BOOKREVIEW: Rooney: Ruth Belville, The Greenwich Time Lady, 2008


    Greenwich Mean Time – up close and personal

    Ruth Belville, The Greenwich Time Lady, by David Rooney. Published 2008 by National Maritime Museum,Greenwich, London UK ( www.nmm.ac.uk/publishing ) ; hardback, dustjacket, 192 pages, 14x20cm; ISBN 973-0-948065-97-2, sparsely illustrated in b&w.Index. Text in English. Available at www.amazon.com for $16.50 or borrow from the Library & Research Center at the National Watch & Clock Museum.

    Most horological enthusiasts know that the Greenwich Royal Observatory provided exact time for navigational purposes long before time in everyday life was standardized, and in 1833 - with its time ball - installed the first ‘time signaling device’ distributing accurate GMT or Greenwich mean time to ships captains laying at anchor on the Thames below. But how did the chronometer makers in the city of London, who were out of eyesight of Greenwich, get accurate time which they needed to regulate the many chronometers they built?

    The charming little book under review, written by one of the current curators of the historic Greenwich Observatory, recounts the seldom told story of Maria Belville, The widow of an observatory employee, in 1856, before telegraphic time signals were feasible, established a small, semi-official business ‘carrying’ every week the exact GMT (in the form of a superb pocket chronometer by John Arnold set to exact GMT time by the observatory) to a list of clients throughout greater London. The truly amazing part is that this little business, carried on by Maria’s daughter Ruth Belville from 1892 onward, survived for 84 years, till 1940, in spite of mounting competition from telegraphic, telephonic and radio time signals.

    In the course of the narrative the author also tells the story of the standardization of time in the United Kingdom, and, using this horological example, an instructive tale how a traditional product or service can sometimes survive against all odds as the optimal product for its niche market even if it seems completely outside the mainstream of technological progress and innovation.

    The book in question is more an amalgam of vignettes illustrating the role of time, time distribution and time standards in British society from 1850 to 1950, than it is a book on horology in the narrow sense of the word. Nevertheless most readers with a general interest in the history of timekeeping will find it to be an entertaining and enlightening human interest story with a strong horological undercurrent..

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki. Sussex NJ November 30, 2008

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Rooney.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	134.8 KB 
ID:	24511  
    Last edited by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki; 12-10-2008 at 06:20 PM.
    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, -Chair NAWCC Library Com./ Editor & Publisher of BHM
    Mem.NAWCC Mus.Coll.Com. / VP, USA Sect. Antiq.Horolog.Soc.

Similar Threads

  1. Bummer...The German Time Bomb
    By Billy in forum 400-Day, Atmos and other Torsion Clocks
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 02-08-2007, 02:32 AM
  2. BOOKREVIEW: Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, by Jeremy L. Evans
    By Fortunat Mueller-Maerki in forum Horological Books
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-18-2006, 12:45 AM
  3. Clock chiming at the wrong time - help!
    By rgwb in forum Clock Repair
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 01-03-2006, 07:13 PM
  4. 1050-020 setting the proper time
    By ticktock in forum Clock Repair
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-08-2005, 08:57 AM
  5. A quick tour of the National Time Musuem/Chicago..pics
    By Cary in forum American Pocket Watches
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-24-2001, 07:18 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts