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    Re: mechanical chronometers
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2006 May 16, 10:33 -0500

    Alex you wrote:
    "Reference: S.E. Morison, The  European discovery of America. The  Northern
    voyages, AD  500-1600.
    Oxford UP, 1971, page 141:

    'In discussing navigational  methods, one is apt to ignore
    the gap between the invention of the device and  persuading owners
    to supply it or sailors to use it.
    For instance, the  chronometer... was invented in 1750;
    but the royal French navy in 1833, with  250 ships, had only 44
    chronometers'. "

    While it's certainly possible  that it's true, this is a secondary source,
    and it would be nice to see some  confirmation from a source written in that
    period. Did the author cite a source  for the information? The British Royal Navy
    had a similar number of chronometers  by 1790 at the latest. Is it possible
    that the French were forty years behind  the British? Of course, France had
    been through one emperor and two revolutions  by this date, one destructive and
    chaotic (1789) the other constitutional  (1830), and its colonial ambitions
    were focused a bit closer to home --on  Algeria with only a little water to
    cross. So perhaps it's true that they had so  few chronometers in 1833. It would be
    interesting to confirm  it.


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