Timekeeping

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K3 (Marine timekeeper)

ZAA0111
Timekeeping

Object connections:

Collection Timekeeping
ExhibitionsShips, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude
User collections Captain Cook's Third Voyage by NMMCollections
The Board of Longitude by Richard_Dunn
Larcum Kendall by NMMCollections
Gallery locationPacific Encounters Gallery (Floor plans)

Object details:

Object ID ZAA0111
Description Marine timekeeper in octagonal wooden box A one day marine timekeeper with a 102mm diameter bronze dial plate, with three white enamel subsidiary dials, with the upper dial indicating hours in roman hour numerals. In the lower left is a dial indicating minutes with Arabic five minute figures and in the lower right is a dial for seconds, with Arabic ten-second figures. The dial plate is engraved, between these latter two dials: ‘↑Larcum Kendall / London’. Polished and blued steel poker hands with a fine polished and blued steel pointer second hand with a counter poised tail read the time. Brass, one-day full plate fusee movement with four turned pillars and with a highly engraved balance bridge, with six spoked, open table. The plain potence plate is engraved: ‘↑ Larcum Kendall London 1774’. The general level of finish of the brass-work is very high with all brass movement parts highly polished. The fusee, which has Harrison’s maintaining power, has a brass pipe around the winding square and acts with a standing barrel. The timekeeper has a four-wheel train plus a great wheel without remontoir. The timekeeper contains Kendall’s own design of escapement, with steel, double, co-axial crown wheels acting on a sapphire pallet. The hardened steel balance has a three turn blued steel spiral balance spring, of tapered form, with a long, somewhat straighter tail, acting against a pivoted compensation curb, controlled by a bimetallic spiral compensator (known as ‘chelsea-bun’ compensation), and a secondary ‘isochronal’ curb pin. The jewelling extends to the balance (diamond upper endstone in a polished steel setting), escape wheel, contrate wheel and third wheel, all with endstones, and the pallet as mentioned. The timekeeper is contained within a bronze drum-type case with convex glass in a narrow bezel over the dial. It has a large, circular swivelling winding shutter mounted on the bronze base. The timekeeper fits into an octagonal mahogany outer case, made by John Roger Arnold in 1802 (originally gimballed within a further box), which has an ivory tablet engraved in gothic script ‘Royal Observatory’. The timekeeper is in fine, original condition. The dial enamels are perfect and the movement is in excellent clean, working condition. The timekeeper was commissioned by the Board of Longitude as a further simplified version of K2, and was completed in 1775. It was issued to Captain James Cook on his third voyage of discovery in 1778 and in 1782 to Commodore John Elliot of the ‘Romney’ to Newfoundland, the timekeeper being transferred to Vice-Admiral Mark Milbank in ‘Salisbury’ in 1789. It was then issued to Captain George Vancouver for his voyage to explore the North West coast of America (1791-1795). It then served with Matthew Flinders in the ‘Investigator’ from 1802 to 1805 after which it appears to have been pensioned off.
Date made 1774

Artist/Maker Kendall, Larcum
Place made London
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials metal: brass; metal: enamel; ivory (CITES)
Measurements Overall: 160 x 160 x 75 mm
Parts
  • K3 (Marine timekeeper) (ZAA0111)
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