Wednesday, 27 February 2013

1001 Uses of Balls……

It is with great cunning that we seamlessly slot the latest entry into our Blog.
February 28this soon to be upon us and although the next Leap Year is not due until 2016 we will persevere and use this date phenomenon as our starting point.
On a recent visit to Greenwich Observatory Stoneballs Company couldn’t help but be fascinated by the red Time Ball installed on the roof of Flamsteed House. (see where we have gone with this?)

This is the original Observatory building at Greenwich, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 on the instructions of King Charles II as a scientific institution for navigational research. The Royal Observatory also became the source of the Prime Meridien of the world, Longitude 0° 0' 0''. Every place on the Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from this point.Since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has served as the co-ordinate base for the calculation of Greenwich Mean Time. Before this, almost every town in the world kept its own local time.The Time ball station sets its clocks according to transit observations of the positions of the sun and stars and in this way keep world times and therefore dates accurate.

The bright red Time Ball on top of Flamsteed House is one of the world's earliest public time signals, informing ships on the Thames and many Londoners of the correct time. (The red ball, with a winch,was originally made of leather, which must have become like lead when soaked.) Each day, at 12.55, the time ball rises half way up its mast and at 13.00 exactly, the ball falls, and so provides a signal to anyone who happens to be looking.

Of course, if you were distracted and looking the wrong way, you had to wait until the next day before it happened again!

Always keep your eyes on the ball.