John Harrison Biography
Birthday: April 3, 1693 (Aries)
Born In: Foulby, England
John Harrison, considered to be one of the greatest clockmakers from England, was the inventor of the marine chronometer, a device that helps to establish the longitude of a ship at sea and makes long distance sea travel safer. His invention marked a landmark in sea travel and revolutionized the way sailors had been sailing on the seas previously. The problem of accurately establishing the longitude was so acute that the British Parliament announced an award of ₤20,000 to whosoever would come up with a practical solution. The son of a carpenter with a deep fascination for clocks, Harrison set out to solve the problem. He worked hard for several years designing numerous models of clocks. Several of his clocks were tested with favorable results by the Royal Society though none of his initial models fitted the requirements necessary to win the prize. After working, re-working and improvising his clock models for almost three decades, he came up with an appropriate solution—a marine watch that could successfully measure the longitude during sea travel. The uneducated carpenter was successful in solving a major problem of sea faring even before scientists and astronomers could come up with a solution. By designing the accurate marine chronometer, Harrison had come up with a solution for one of the most puzzling technological problems of the 18th century.