The Deal Timeball was erected on the Deal waterfront in 1855, the ball atop a tower that had originally carried a semaphore mast. Prior to the tower being built a shutter telegraph had occupied the site.
The original intention had been to place the timeball on the South Foreland lighthouse, but the then astronomer Royal, George Biddell Airy, decided that it would be more visible at Deal.
The equipment was supplied by Maudslay, Sons and Field of Lambeth.
Triggered by an electric signal direct from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the ball fell at 1 pm precisely.
The ball would be raised half-way at 5 minutes to one, then fully raised at around 2 1/2 minutes to one. The time was recorded when the ball started to fall, not when it reached the bottom.
The Deal Timeball Tower Museum. http://www.dealtimeball.co.uk/
The Deal Time Ball & Communication. http://www.eastkenthistory.org.uk/article:deal-time-ball-communication
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