Arnold & Dent Box Chronometer

Description
This instrument is a specialized timekeeper designed for finding longitude at sea. Its form is that of the standardized 19th-century marine chronometer. It was transferred to the Smithsonian from the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. John Roger Arnold, son of chronometer maker John Arnold, and Edward John Dent (1790-1853) were in business together from 1830-1840 at 84 Strand, London. Charles Frodsham took over Arnold’s business after Arnold’s death in 1843. E. J. Dent, who had started making chronometers in 1814, continued in business until his death, when others continued the firm under various names and at various addresses. The business continues today.
Mechanism details:
Escapement: Earnshaw, spring detent
Duration: 48-hour
Power source: Spring drive with chain and fusee
Balance spring: helical, blued steel
Winding key, stamped "1131"
Bowl details:
Brass bowl, fitted with a sprung cylindrical inner bowl as a dust cover (original work); "1131" stamped on bottom inside of bowl
Dimensions: 4.17" dia. across bezel x 2.7"
Brass fittings, brass gimbal
Bezel screwed and milled
Crystal convex, plain
Dial details:
Engraved and silvered brass
Indicates hours, minutes, seconds, winding level up and down
Inscription: "ARNOLD & DENT, / 84. Strand, London No 1131”
Hands: Gold, spade, with blued steel seconds hand
Case details:
Mahogany
Three-part, glazed center section
Brass side handles and escutcheon
Bone roundel at front
Inscriptions: "1131" engraved on roundel on case. "U.S.C.S." engraved on case lid
References:
1. Gould, Rupert T. The Marine Chronometer. London: Holland Press, 1960.
2. Mercer, Tony. Chronometer Makers of the World. Essex: NAG Press, 1991.
3. Mercer, Vaudrey. John Arnold & Son. London: Antiquarian Horological Society, 1972.
4. Mercer, Vaudrey. Edward John Dent and His Successors. London: Antiquarian Horological Society, 1977.
5. Whitney, Marvin E. The Ship's Chronometer. Cincinnati: American Watchmakers Institute Press, 1985.
date made
1839
manufacturer
Arnold & Dent
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
glass (overall material)
mahogany (container material)
steel (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 6 1/8 in x 6 1/2 in x 6 in; 15.5575 cm x 16.51 cm x 15.24 cm
overall - from catalog card: 6 1/8 in x 6 in x 6 3/4 in; 15.5575 cm x 15.24 cm x 17.145 cm
ID Number
ME*314612
catalog number
314612
accession number
206050
Credit Line
U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Measuring & Mapping
Time and Navigation
Exhibition
Time and Navigation, National Air and Space Museum
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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