The Time Ball
Edinburgh Council is
currently restoring the Nelson Monument. It is currently
hidden by scaffolding, but should re-appear soon. As part of
this restoration, the time ball and its mechanism has been
The time ball was
removed from the monument about six weeks ago and was replaced
today, June 30, 2009. The time-ball used to be painted
white, but is now painted black, so it should be clearly
visible against the sky.
The ball is raised
half way up its pole at the top of the Nelson Monument at 12.55am,
then raised to the top of the pole at 12.58pm, then is allowed to
fall, about 8ft, to the bottom of the pole at 1pm. The end
of the fall is dampened by a plunger in a column of water.
This happens daily, except when the weather is too windy or foggy.
The original purpose
of the time ball was to give a visible signal that the time was
1pm to the shipping in Leith Harbour and the Firth of Forth.
The restoration work
on the time ball has been carried out by Ritchie Clockmakers, the
company that designed and constructed the time ball in 1852, and
the Edinburgh brass founders, Charles Laing & Sons.
Below are some photos taken when the time ball was brought back
to the Nelson Monument on June 30, 2009. Please click on
these thumbnail images to enlarge them.