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    Re: mechanical chronometers
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2006 May 16, 08:44 -0500

    Dear Frank:

    On Mon, 15 May 2006, Frank Reed wrote:

    > That number of chronometers sounds a bit low to me for 1833. Not
    > impossible, but could it be that the writer was referring to an earlier
    > date?

    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

    He continues:

    "The very simple mathematical calculations involved in obtaining latitude
    from a meridional observation of the sun were too much for most sailors
    in 1550, and are still too much for many sailors in the present sentury".

    Here is a truly amazing detail from the same book, about Frobisher's
    first voyage. It is about the cost of his ships and equipment:
    He sailed two small ships:
    "Bark Gabriel, specially built for this voyage for 152 pounds sterling,
    Bark Michael, purchased and equipped for 120 pounds, and...
    Nautical instruments and books for 100 pounds"


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