Daily Archives: May 15, 2020

Oh, it’s on

Offering 20,000 pounds back in 1714 was like offering millions of dollars today. Who wouldn’t want to win that longitude prize money? All you had to do was devise a precise method for finding your location on Earth.

The responses didn’t come pouring in overnight. You may have noticed that the big naval disaster on the Scilly Islands happened a whole 7 years before Parliament got around to forming the Longitude Commission. Some serious brainwork—and tinkering—needed to be put in. This was going to take awhile. As mentioned earlier, time/distance/astronomy are interlinked. The people who responded to the Longitude Commission’s offer worked in astronomy and time.

There were 2 main competitors in the race to find longitude: an astronomer and a clockmaker.