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    Early use of chronometers in the Royal Navy
    From: Don Seltzer
    Date: 2014 Apr 8, 10:40 -0400
    Until recently, it was my impression that the adoption of chronometers for navigation in the early 1800's was driven by the Royal Navy through the Admiralty and its various boards.  I was aware of the incentive by which the Admiralty issued the first chronometer to a ship, and if the captain bought a second instrument with his own funds, the Admiralty would supply a third.

    But now I have come across a PhD thesis about the history of the Hydrographics Office that provides some numbers.  

    The numbers in the thesis are not entirely consistent, but it seems clear that the number of chronometers officially issued to ships of the Royal Navy was only in the dozen during this period.  In 1821, the total accounting for the Hydrographic Office was just 130.  The third chronometer incentive was not instituted until the 1820's. Checking Dava Sobel's book, Longitude, there were 5000 chronometers in use in 1815.  The great majority of chronometers were privately purchased, by captains and by the East Indies Company.  Possibly, it was the HEIC that was most responsible for the growth in chronometer use

    Does anyone know of another source of information on RN chronometer use, such as an archive of records of issuance and return to the H.O., or similar information on the HEIC?

    Don Seltzer
       
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