Tuesday, December 31, 2019




The following item was emailed to me by Graham E. 

Thanks, Graham. 

An interesting item to see out the old year. 


Hi Mr O, 

As New Year approaches many people will watch the ball drop in Time Square at midnight. This continues a timekeeping tradition begun in 1829.

In the 1800’s few people could afford to have their own watches and clocks, instead relying on the hourly chimes of the church clock to tell time. The church clocks were not very accurate but most people had no need for precise time 

Things were different for a ship’s captain. Ships needed extremely precise clocks to determine their position at sea, which they did by taking celestial readings and coordinating those readings with the time they were known to occur at another point on earth, such as at Greenwich. The breakthrough came in 1761 when John Harrison, a Yorkshire carpenter, developed a chronometer that was accurate and portable enough to do the job. But Harrison’s remarkable invention was still useless if it couldn’t be set correctly before departing on a long voyage. 

The idea of the time ball was proposed in 1829 by Robert Wauchope, a Royal Navy captain. Robert suggested that the time ball be set up at the harbor and dropped at a specific moment to indicate the time. Sailors could view it through a telescope and set their chronometers accordingly. 

The first time ball was erected in the harbor at Portsmouth, England. It worked so well that in 1833 another one was set up at the Greenwich Observatory on a hilltop —the same one that you see today. The first American time ball went into service in 1845 at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. 

There are over sixty time balls still standing at harbors around the world today. A few of them are still operating for the novelty or for tourists, like the one at Greenwich Observatory, with others operating on special occasions, such as the Times Square time ball in New York. 

The Greenwich Time Ball, London, England. 

Williamstown Lighthouse and Time Ball Tower, Melbourne, Victoria. 

Old Windmill and Time Ball, Brisbane, Queensland. 

Sydney Observatory and Time Ball, Sydney, New South Wales. 

Semaphore Time Ball Tower, Adelaide, South Australia. 

Customs House and Time Ball, Newcastle, New South Wales. 

Time Ball, Fremantle, Western Australia. 



As usual, Brett B has sent a list of the coming month’s holidays and special days. 

Thanks, Brett. 

Click on the daily ones to expand the links.

A good item to see in the new month, the new year and the new decade (let's not debate whether the new decade begins in 2021, rather thqan 2020) . . . 

  • National Bath Safety Month
  • National Blood Donor Month
  • National Braille Literacy Month
  • National Hobby Month
  • Hot Tea Month
  • National Oatmeal Month
  • National Soup Month
Week Celebrations:
2nd Week Letter Writing Week
January 2020 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days:
January 1
January 2
January 3
January 4
January 5
January 6

January 7
January 8
 National Take the Stairs Day - second Wednesday of month
January 9
January 10
January 11
January 12
January 13
January 14
January 15
January 16
January 17
January 18
Winnie the Pooh Day -The Birthday of Winnie's author A.A. Milne
January 19
January 20
Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday  , celebrated on the third Monday
January 21
January 22
January 23
Measure Your Feet Day- we only ask...."Why!?!"
January 24
January 25
25 Chinese New Years - date varies
National Seed Swap Day - Last Saturday in January
January 26
January 27
Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day - last Monday of month
January 28
January 29
January 30
January 31

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