In the 18th century, the only way to navigate accurately at sea was to follow a coastline all the way, which would not get you from Europe t...更多>
Minister for the Navy: [to Parliament] Honorable Members who mourn with us the recent tragic loss off the Scilly Isles of four of Her Majesty's ships, and 2,000 wretched souls therein, under the command of Admiral Sir Cloudisley Shovell, will be pleased to know that Her Majesty's government is to offer a reward -- a prize of twenty thousand pounds -- to any man offering a practicable and useful solution to the problem of finding longitude at sea. A Board of Longitude will be set up, whose sole business will be to investigate any serious suggestions, and finally, it is profoundly to be hoped, to award this prize. John Harrison: It's not just beautiful, it's divine: that's where the beauty lies, you see. Each note on the scale is calculated by mathematical formula, based on the circumference of a circle, you see. Sir Charles Pelham: Uh, almost... John Harrison: The step between each note is composed of larger and lesser intervals, each derived from pi. It is divine because for the first time we are listening to music as the Lord intended. Sir Charles Pelham: How can you tell if a clock is running 5 seconds faster, or slower? John Harrison: My own pendulum clock is adjusted to one second a month. Sir Charles Pelham: O-ho-ho, no clock can be that accurate. John Harrison: Mine can. John Harrison: Impossible, sir. Clock needs a pendulum. Can't take a pendulum to sea. Sir Charles Pelham: Not like you to say "impossible," John. John Harrison: No, sir. Elizabeth Harrison: You've found a way to build this sea-clock, haven't you? John Harrison: With God's help it might be possible. --I mean, why did He encourage me to build a perfect timepiece in the first place? So the blacksmith might start work 5 seconds earlier or later? Or was it to give us the ability to explore His creation in safety, to move without fear in the space He's given us to inhabit? [A rival timekeeping strategy] Sir Kenhelm Digby: Now, it is vital to my process, Sir Edmund, that each dog be wounded with the *same knife*, as these three animals have been, under my instructions, some three days ago. Now, the animals are then to be conveyed aboard one of His Majesty's ships, uh, under the supervision of a designated officer, whose task it is to *prevent the wound from healing*. Now the knife, however, would remain here, in London, and at *precisely noon*, each day, is to be plunged into the Powder of Sympathy, which would immediately aggravate the wound, so that each dog, now matter how many thousands of miles away he may be on his particular vessel, would begin to howl... thus! Sir Edmund Halley: Don't touch that, boy! William Harrison: I didn't, sir, honest, I was just looking. Sir Edmund Halley:
Do you know what that is?
William Harrison: To tell the movements of the stars. Sir Edmund Halley: How do you know that? William Harrison: It's my job at home. Sir Edmund Halley: You have one of these at home!? William Harrison: No, sir, we use Mr. Johnson next door's chimney. Sir Edmund Halley: And, pray, what is it that you learn from Mr. Johnson next door's chimney? William Harrison: The time. Sir Edmund Halley: How can you tell the time with a chimney? William Harrison: If you stand in the right place, you can see Sirius. Sir Edmund Halley: Sirius? William Harrison: It moves behind Mr. Johnso's chimney 3 minutes and 56 seconds earlier every day. We need the time for our timepiece, to tell if it's true. Sir Edmund Halley: And is it? William Harrison: It's bloody perfect, sir. [Getting his first view of Harrison's first Sea Clock onboard ship] Admiral: What the bloody hell is that? George Graham: One second a month, sir! You're either a liar or a fool. --Who're your makers? John Harrison: Myself, and my brother James. George Graham: Really? Who were you apprenticed to? John Harrison: My father, as was he. I am a carpenter by profession. George Graham: A carpenter?! John Harrison: My timekeepers are made of wood. I've brought some drawings with me. George Graham: I'm sorry, I mistook you. This is a joke, sir, am I right? Mr. Halley seeks to derive some pleasure from this contrivance? Is he here, perhaps, hiding in a corner to watch my performance? John Harrison: It is I who am sorry, sir! The fault is mine. It was my impression I was here to see a clockmaker; I find myself in a toy shop by mistake! William! [turns to leave] George Graham: Mr. Harrison! Summer and winter... how is it done? How is it done, the compensation? John Harrison: I use a pendulum of different metals that work against each other. George Graham: Impossible. Doesn't work. I've tried it. John Harrison: It is possible. It does work. I've built it. Rupert Gould: Sir Frank, I'm not asking to mechanically alter the Harrison machines; I just want to bring them back to their proper condition. If they're left as they are much longer, I fear they may become unrecoverable. I know my qualifications appear unlikely; I can only plead that they're no more so than Harrison's own. Muriel Gould: I want you to give up the clock. Rupert Gould: I will... when it's finished. Muriel Gould: Yes, I knew you'd say that. Silly of me, really. John Harrison:
I'm afraid you must excuse me, but I should go back on deck. The air in here is...