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    Re: Nautical astronomy was different
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2004 Oct 24, 02:52 EDT
    Ken M wrote:
    "Presumably this is a different chronometer than the one being used to track Greenwich time, being used just as a common watch was before chronometers were available."

    It wasn't a chronometer in any formal sense at all. It WAS a watch. Someone apparently carelessly edited Bowditch's original words (which said watch, not chronometer). In the early 19th century, the word chronometer to describe an instrument capable of carrying Greenwich time for months on end with little error had not yet become common. They were often called watches which naturally would lead to confusion with the ordinary watch that an officer on a vessel might carry in his pocket. That pocketwatch is what Bowditch was talking about in the passage that Bruce S quoted. Later watch was replaced by 'chronometer', probably in error, but possibly because the meaning of the word was still in flux.

    Frank R
    [ ] Mystic, Connecticut
    [X] Chicago, Illinois
       
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