One of the most exciting collections of clocks ever amassed has gone on show at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London at a landmark exhibition open to the public until Sunday 5 January 2015.
The display, titled ‘Ships, Clocks and Stars’, has brought together a wide range of timepieces to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Longitude Act 1714.
The exhibition tells the fascinating story of the race to calculate longitude position at sea, solving the problem of navigation and saving sailors from the fate of shipwrecks and starvation.
The noted inventor and avid horologist Dr John C Taylor OBE is delighted to be contributing some of his extensive clock collection as part of this unique exhibition.
Among Dr Taylor’s collection is a visually stunning “Mudge Green” clock, which takes pride of place in his personal collection.
The clock was created by Thomas Mudge in 1779, and its use of a constant force escapement is an historical milestone in the development of clocks that is still in use today.
Speaking about the exhibition, Dr Taylor said, “It is truly an honour to be a part of this fantastic exhibition.
“Greenwich has such a rich history of both time and nautical exploration, and it is wonderful to see so many people taking an interest in the work of Harrison and the other pioneers in horology.”
The exhibition commemorates the work of one of Dr Taylor’s heroes John Harrison, whose work with sea clocks earned him the first ever Longitude Prize in 1714, with a prize of £20,000.
Thanks to Dr Taylor’s contribution, all of Harrison’s clocks still in existence are together in the same place for the first time ever.
Dr Taylor has contributed four timepieces to the exhibition, including his prized John Harrison Longcase Pendulum Clock and a beautiful pocket watch.
He has also contributed a Fromanteel Norfolk Longcase Clock, a timepiece created by the incredibly influential Fromanteel family.
Dr Taylor is perhaps best known for his work in bi-metal, having designed the thermostat controls that are used in small household appliances such as kettles. To date, almost two billion of these controls have been sold around the world.
However, it was his love of clocks that led him to create the Corpus Chronophage, on show at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University.
The Chronophage is a metre-high clock that features a striking model grasshopper that powers the timepiece and metaphorically ‘eats’ each minute as it passes.
The clock has become one of the city’s leading tourist attractions, with fans flocking from far and wide to catch a glimpse of the time-eating timepiece.
For further information about the exhibition visit the event homepage at http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/events/ships-clocks-stars.
Standard tickets for the ‘Ships, Clocks and Stars’ exhibition are available from £8.50.
Links for Reference
Dr John C Taylor OBE – http://johnctaylor.com
Royal Museums at Greenwich – http://www.rmg.org.uk
Ships, Clocks and Stars – http://www.rmg.org.uk/whats-on/events/ships-clocks-stars
About Dr John C Taylor OBE
Dr John C Taylor OBE was born in Buxton in Derbyshire in 1936. Having spent six years living in Canada during his childhood, he returned home at the end of the Second World War and attended King William School on the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge University.
After finishing his education he took a job at Otter Controls, run by his father, and started working in bi-metal. His work with these controls led to Dr Taylor designing the thermostat systems that are used in almost one billion kettles and small household appliances.
Dr Taylor has also conducted a lot of work in the subject of horology. His admiration of John Harrison, an early pioneer of clocks and time-keeping, led him to design and help build the Corpus Chronophage, a metre-high clock that lives in the Corpus Christi College building at Cambridge University.
In his spare time, Dr Taylor also holds a keen interest in aviation, having been a private pilot for over sixty years. Initially taught by his father as a child, he has so far amassed over 5,000 hours of flying time. He has a small collection of private planes that he keeps in a hangar at an airfield near his home in Arragon Mooar on the Isle of Man.
In June 2014, Dr Taylor started a trans-Atlantic flight in a HUSKY plane. He was forced to stop in the early stages of the trip due to adverse weather conditions.
In order to give something back to those who have helped him over the years, Dr Taylor is an active philanthropist, having donated to various worthy causes. In addition to investing one million pounds of his own money in the Chronophage, which he donated to the university, he also helped to fund the library in which the clock stands.
Dr Taylor is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DrJCTOBE.
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