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chronometer service records "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC Life Member
Sergeant at Arms
Picture of Scott A. Whittey
posted
Can any one tell me how or where I can find out information on which ship or ships that a particular chronometer served?
Thank you
 
Posts: 293 | Location: California City, California USA | Registered: May 05, 2005
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Darn good question, Scott. I wonder if someone at the U.S. Naval Observatory might have some idea regarding such records. As you would know, WWII vintage records and older might be in Washington at the National Archives by now.

U.S. Navy instruments such as chronometers don't ordinarly come with an official tag showing which ship or ships it was used on. Such information would not have been of great use, given that the ship would have been issued a different one from off the shelf at the same time as the old one was being sent in for service. The one sent in for service would go to another ship after the work was done, given that the ship which had been previously using it would be back out to sea by the time the slow work of repair, testing, and adjustment was done at the observatory.

That being said, the ship's log might contain the serial number of such an important item. Thus, if you have an idea of which ship might have used it, you might be able to locate the log at the National archives and have a look.

That's my best guess. I hope someone can provide more. I would like to know more.

Best regards,
Greg
 
Posts: 1878 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
I can not shed much light on the practices of the US forces. I however can shed light on the practice of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy). The RAN had an annual chronmeter muster where each ship in the fleet was required to signal headquartere with the type and serial number of the ships chronometer. I discovered this in a large file in the National Archives in Melbourne. I can not be sure if it was a national or Victorian file.The 2 archives are located in the same building. If anyone is interested I will go back through my records to identiy which archive and the file reference.
The RAN used mainly AP (Admiralty Pattern) types with some US types and quite a few "like" types.
 
Posts: 58 | Location: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: February 28, 2005
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Hi Craig,

Such an archive would be extremely valuable. Providing the researcher with a window into the history of what was in actual use at a given date and time. I would think that anyone who owns a chronometer on the list would be extremely pleased to know which ship it came from.

Best regards,
Greg
 
Posts: 1878 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Picture of Matthew E. Sutton
posted
According to the late Marvin Whitney, who worked at the Naval Observatory during the ship chronometer Hay-day's of WWII, and is considered the authority on marine chronometers after authoring two books on the suject, relates that surviving Naval Observatory records are scarce or may have been destroyed. Ship's were to enclose and return the records back to the observatory with the chronometer when it went in for service. The service record card contained information on performance during heavy weather, firing of ship's armament, and tempurature. The suggestion to locate a Ship-chronometer match by ship's log is therefore difficult since they were exchanged in a chronometer "pool" for service or repair, and may have not been returned to the same vessel when completed. Some ship's that were decommissioned may have presented the chronometer to the Naval Academy, Smithsonian, or other historical organization and have documented association. I have also seen a few hamilton Model 21's with an inside label dipicting service on a particular vessel as well. I wish I could track the history of my Hamilton Model 21 Ser# 267, I would be very pleased indeed. You may know that the Naval Observatory eventually discontinued repair and service after moving that operation to Norfolk Naval Yard, Virginia. I speculate that this may have prompted the disposal of some records to lighten the load which is common military train of thought. I have heard of chronometers being overpacked with repair certification from Puget Sound, Washington, so these records were likely spread across the country if they ever left to N. O. Hopefully, one day, a former employee will clean out his/her closet and reintroduce some of these documents to the collector. I don't know if Larry Crutsinger frequents this board but he seems to have aquired many chronometer and military repair parts from the Navy at some point. Perhaps he has better insight on the disposition of the records?.
 
Posts: 495 | Location: Kailua, Hawaii in the USA | Registered: March 14, 2005
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
To add additional layers of possible paper, a good number of former U.S. Navy ships were sold or given to other nations, most often with all of the equipment left within them. Maybe, the post-WWII archives of other nations might provide some info regarding the chronometers on board former U.S. ships - such as the Australian Navy, mentioned above.

Best regards,
Greg
 
Posts: 1878 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Picture of Matthew E. Sutton
posted
Yes, there is a military equipment disposal program that is still in use today called the military foreign sales program . This is a process where surplus , obsolete equipment, or equipment used in political agreements for military assistance is transfered to our allies...or potential allies. As stated, Marine chronometers I sure were transfered to other counties as standard equipment aboard Naval vessels or as a stand alone individual item. Just to round out the possabilities, chronometers and military clocks (Chelsea Clock Company of Boston) were often disposed of at the Demilitarization, Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMO) for auction or sale to private bidders. They may have records of the particular military commands that actually disposed of the items. I suspect that occassionally these highly sought after instuments were perhaps "borrowed" for sentimental reasons. Wink I am providing a link to the DRMO site which is a part of the U.S. Governments Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

http://www.drms.dla.mil/

I was able to trace a USMC Chelsea Wardroom clock from the Chelsea hand written records which documented it's sale from Chelsea to the USMC on 30 June 1942. By the way, this was the first day of the new fiscal year at the time. I have yet to determine where it went from then on. I researched USMC fiscal records at HQMC for justification that would lead to a final destination and use but lost patience. I think they were to outfit the new (at the time)AAVP amphibious Vehicle used extensively in the island campaigns of WWII. Each vehicle had it's own clock to coordinate beach assualt landings.

Ok, I know I strayed from the original thread, but perhaps there is a tidbit of useful information. I will post a new thread with a picture of the Chelsea when I get back in town if anyone is interested.
 
Posts: 495 | Location: Kailua, Hawaii in the USA | Registered: March 14, 2005
posted
Greg
The file is a national file and it is titled:

Muster of binoculars, telescopes, watches and heliographs at Naval Store Depot, Port Melbourne

MP151/1 670/201/997

Looking at the title and my notes, it covers watches and not chronometers.

I looked in the file in order to determine the function of the AP3169 watch. This watch is really a 60s timer. Both of my examples are ex RNZN, one being a modified Pierce 134 chronograph. It is a striking gold cased watch. My other example is a stainless steel version.

While most entries did not describe the watch other than just AP3169, one described it as "watch, stop for revolution counters".

Any information anyone may have on the watch would be most appreciated.

For the record I noted the following timepiece types (there were more, such as "like" types) as being included in the muster.

AP3
AP4
AP6
AP119
AP210
AP300
AP301
AP305 Deck clock
AP397
AP499
AP3169
VC2530
AM type stop watches

AP stands for Admiralty Pattern, an old naval stores numbering / referencing system.

I have more information on the AP series of timepieces if anyone is interested.
 
Posts: 58 | Location: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: February 28, 2005
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Thanks Craig,

Thanks for the info. I, for one, would like to learn more about these items and the various codes. This sort of info is not published in any of my data. It was a good idea to start a new post on them.

The gold cased watch is uncommon. I wonder if it was bought by the Navy off-the-shelf during WWII?

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 1878 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Well here is a 9-year response to this thread. I have just uncovered at the US Naval Observatory three volumes of Navy chronometer records covering the period approx. 1860-1910. These volumes contain histories of about 800 marine chronometers from 66 manufacturers. This information has never been made public. (See attached sample page). For many chronometers daily error/rate records are given. I'm thinking of publishing the index to these records, incomplete as they are. Only three of nine volumes up to 1910 exist, but this covers most civil war chronometers. These are oversize volumes, not easily scanned. But it might be worthwhile to transcribe and self-publish the thousand or so pages, since there seems to be no other source for this information. Comments?

Sample chronometer log page
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Washington, DC in the USA | Registered: October 01, 2014
posted
That would be a great idea to get the index put online. I've got six chronometers that might have been serviced during this period and I'd be most excited to see if indeed there is a record of them on the books, thereby adding another piece of information to their history.

Michael Johnson
 
Posts: 102 | Location: Houston, Texas in the USA | Registered: September 26, 2009
IHC Life Member
Sergeant at Arms
Picture of Scott A. Whittey
posted
Aloha Richard
I for one am very excited with your find, I would surmise that these records are somewhat akin to being the holy grail of chronometer records. Bully! for you Richard Bully! Bully!
Mahalo
Scott
 
Posts: 293 | Location: California City, California USA | Registered: May 05, 2005
posted
I have collected marine chronometers for the last 35 years. Before Marvin Whitney's death he researched and provided information to me regarding a few items in my collection. I would be most interested in anything you could provide on this subject or willing to help through participation in this endeavor in any way possible. Please include me in any correspondence on this matter.


Bill
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Roanoke, Virginia in the USA | Registered: August 28, 2015
IHC Member 478
posted
Hallo friends,
I can contribute to the subject of US Naval documents on Navy chronometers:
From a friend here in Germany I got two annual reports of the US Naval Observatory on chronometers and deck watches.
Here are the reports of 1921 and 1925.
I was on the way to track my German chronometer of Louis Kurtz #134 of my hometown Münster, see picture. I got this piece from an American friend of mine.
These two reports show the Kurtz chronometers #111,131,136,140,142,143,144,145,146.
So I miss my #134 though its in the range, maybe its mentioned in other years.
The history is supposed that Kurtz could not ship these items to the Imperial German Navy due to the end on WWI, so he searched for a new customer and found it in the US Navy.

==> So my question to you and our community is:
- Has anyone more annual reports to share?
- Has anyone more information on the purchase of German chronometers by the US Navy after WWI?
- Has anyone any information on my Kurtz 134?

. Gruesse/Regards/Salute Konrad Knirim.
. konrad.knirim(at)t-online.de
PS: Have a look at my books on Military Timepieces:
. http://www.knirim.de


us report1921
usreport1925

 
Posts: 85 | Location: Duesseldorf Germany | Registered: March 08, 2005
IHC Member 1337
posted
Hello Konrad,
I have used these Summary Reports many times. A simple Google search using the title of the Observatory document will produce the document. I looked at 1921-1928 and did not see your #134. I got tired of looking at minutia and did not go to the earlier dates.
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
IHC Member 478
posted
Thanks Paul
for your information and effort. But give me a chance, of course I did Google and did find a lot on time signals, arctic research aso., but I did not find the chronometer test tables. Please forward the web pages(s).
Konrad
 
Posts: 85 | Location: Duesseldorf Germany | Registered: March 08, 2005
IHC Member 1337
posted
Hello Konrad,
Here is what I typed into Google
"Summary of the Annual Report of the Naval Observatory for the Fiscal Year 1921"
Here is the link to what came up.
https://books.google.com/books...0year%201921&f=false
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
IHC Member 1337
posted
BTW, one can go forward or backwards from the reference point given above. Unfortunately for us, whoever digitally transcribed the Reports made the decision, at times, not to transcribe the exact Tables we so want to see. Over to the left of the page I referenced is a search function.
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
IHC Member 478
posted
Sorry Paul, I did find this page before, but I do not find
any content. Or do I have to register with Google? And you say the tables are not digitized??? But I want to see these.
Doesnt the US Naval Observatory digitize their publications? Konrad
 
Posts: 85 | Location: Duesseldorf Germany | Registered: March 08, 2005
IHC Member 1337
posted
Hello Konrad,
Well, this is strange as I looked at the same pages as were partialed in your earlier link. The Tables were there for 1921 however they were missing for some other years. You do not have to be a member of anything that I am aware of. I will look at this again tonight to see if I can find the reason you cannot get to the Tables.
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
IHC Member 1337
posted
Hello Konrad,
I just clicked on the link I provided and went forward 53 pages and found referance to Kurtz #133, 135, and 136. I does take a while to load.
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
IHC Member 1337
posted
Hello again,
I just went back to the link and used the "Search" function with "Kurtz" in the search field. I came across additional referances to Kurtz on pages 24, 52, and 44.
Paul
 
Posts: 317 | Location: Florida in the USA | Registered: December 07, 2009
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