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Time Ball


Calton Hill Time Ball

The Time Ball on Calton Hill

Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland supervised the installation of the time ball on the Nelson Monument in 1853.

The first time ball was set up at Portsmouth, England in 1829 by the signalling system’s inventor Captain Robert Wauchope.

In addition to proposing that at time ball be set up on a flagstaff on the Calton Hill, the Scots naval captain submitted his invention to the U.S. and French embassies.

The system was adopted by the Honourable East India Company. A time ball was set up at Greenwich Observatory in 1833 and soon the signalling system was set up in cities, towns and seaports all over the world.


Admiral Wauchope

Admiral Wauchope of Niddrie, Midlothian - Photo credit: National Library of Scotland