The time ball at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London daily marks 1:00 PM when it drops from the top of its mast. Installed in 1833, the ball was one of the earliest public time signals, offering an improved service for mariners who could directly rate their chronometers while on-board ships in the adjacent reaches of the River Thames. It is now one of the many accessioned objects in the collections of the Royal Museums Greenwich. It is integral to the fabric of Flamsteed House, a scheduled ancient monument, and is powered by 20th century engineering and timed by 21st century electronics. As such, it is one of the more complex objects to look after within a museum environment. At the May 6, 2019, meeting of the Horological Society of New York, curator Anna Rolls will discuss the history of the time ball, the evolution of its mechanical operation, and the challenges it has faced in its transition from an observatory instrument to a working museum attraction.
Greenwich Time Ball
About Anna Rolls

Anna Rolls has been working as the Curator of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers Museum and Archive since September 2018. She looks after a collection composed of over 1000 watches, as well as clocks, chronometers, and other horological ephemera, which is based in the Science Museum London. Prior to this, Anna was employed for nine years as a conservator of metalwork and scientific instruments at the Royal Museums Greenwich, where she worked alongside the horological department and commenced her training with the British Horological Institute’s Distance Learning Course. Anna graduated in 2008 from the University of Sussex with an MA in Conservation Studies and has a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation of Fine Metalwork from West Dean. Anna is an active and visible member of the Antiquarian Horological Society.
Monday, May 6, 2019, 6:00-9:00 PM at The General Society Library, 20 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036*
Doors open at 6:00 PM; lecture begins promptly at 7:00 PM.*Free tickets are required to attend.
All HSNY meetings are free and open to the public, and all lectures are video recorded.
HODINKEE is a sponsor of the Horological Society of New York.