In the early 18th Century the biggest single problem facing navigators was how to calculate longitude and so determine their true position in the vastness of the oceans. Countless lives were lost as ships were wrecked in uncharted waters and so the British parliament offered a prize of £20,000 for a solution equivalent to £2,770,000 in modern currency.
There were two schools of thought for the solving of this problem, the astronomers who believed you could calculate the true longitudinal position using the stars and the horologists who understood that an extremely accurate clock would allow the true east-west position or longitude to be calculated.
Over a period of many years John Harrison a self taught English clockmaker invented the marine chronometer, the most accurate timekeeper ever created which importantly would keep accurate time aboard a pitching ship and in extremes of heat, cold and humidity.The Comitti Navigator is a tribute to the skill, ingenuity and tenacity of one man who changed the course of history.
This amazing Navigator Clock can be seen at 38 Avenue Road, Toronto.
To read about John Harison's long ordeal with the invention:
LONGITUDE The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel.
For LATITUDE: You can see a QUADRANT, invented by John Davis, at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Sigmund Samuel Gallery.