A Short History of Big Ben, the World’s Most Famous Clock Tower
The most famous clock on the planet is getting some late love. Big Ben—the 315-foot tower on the Palace of Westminster—will be closed down in mid 2017 to go through $42 million worth of repairs.
The world renowned clock has read a clock and its chimes have rung through the roads of London for over 150 years. It’s showed up in motion pictures, been imprinted on shirts and has become an enduring image of Great Britain. Yet, while everybody can recognize Big Ben, scarcely any think about its amazing history. Barely any realize that coins are utilized to keep the clock precise. Also, much less realize that Latin engravings are cut into the clock.
The construction has three particular parts: the Elizabeth Tower, the Great Bell and the Great Clock. Big Ben—which was the first name for the clock’s bell—has been by and large acknowledged as the name of every one of the three parts.
A horrible fire obliterated the majority of the Palace of Westminster in 1834. The Elizabeth Tower—as it was subsequently named in 2012—was planned in its place by English Architect Sir Charles Barry. With the pinnacle remaining about the Houses of Parliament, the four clocks should have been both excellent and accurate.
Astronomer Royal Sir George Airy grew elevated requirements for the clock. The main stroke of every hour must be precise to inside one second and the clock’s execution must be transmitted double a day to the Greenwich Observatory.
In 1852, Edward John Dent was picked to construct the clock as per a plan by Edmund Beckett Denison. The first plan called for utilizing a bum escapement and remontoire—which improved precision through an optional force source and bolting face. Scratch passed on in 1853 and his stepson, Frederick Dent, completed the clock in 1854.
However, Denison made numerous refinements to the clock before it was introduced in April of 1859. Denison created the twofold legged gravity escapement. This progressive system guaranteed the clock’s exactness by ensuring its pendulum was unaffected by outer components, for example, wind tension on the clock’s hands. Denison’s creation is currently known as the “Grimthorpe Escapement,” with Denison having been made Baron Grimthorpe in 1886.
The pendulum is 13 feet in length, weighs 660 pounds and is suspended on a portion of spring steel–1/64 of an inch in thickness. It beats at regular intervals. The clockwork component gauges 5 tons.
After over 150 years in assistance, the clock should be changed. How could this be finished? With old coins. That’s right, coins.
A little heap of pre-decimalization pennies (31mm in width, 9.4g) are set on top of the pendulum to change the circumstance of the clock. Adding a coin has the impact of marginally lifting the situation of the pendulum’s focus of mass. This has an aftereffect of lessening the compelling length of the pendulum pole, which then expands the pace of the pendulum swings. One penny changes the clock’s speed by about 0.4 seconds a day.
The Great Clock’s dial was worked by Augustus Welby Pugin—who teamed up with Barry on the Palace of Westminster’s plan. Each cast iron dial is around 23 feet in width. They each contain 312 separate bits of pot opal glass, like a stained glass window. A fascinating subtlety is contained in the Great Clock’s dial. On numerous Roman numeral clock dials, the four o’clock is shown as “IIII” as a method of better adjusting the dial. On the Great Clock, it’s showed as “IV.”
The hour hand is nine feet in length and the moment hand is 14 feet in length. At the point when the clock was first introduced in the pinnacle in April of 1859, it wouldn’t work. The cast-iron moment hands were extremely weighty. They were supplanted by lighter copper hands, and it effectively started keeping time on May 31, 1859.
Big Ben Goes Dark
As London has been an objective for some adversaries during wartime, Big Ben has needed to stay under the radar. For a very long time during World War I, the chimes were hushed and the clock faces were not enlightened around evening time to abstain from controlling assaulting German Zeppelins. The clock faces went dim again in September 1939 as German planes began their quick assault during World War II.
Even Big Ben Gets the Time Wrong
A number of conditions have influenced the clock’s exactness of the years. In 1949, the clock eased back by four and a half minutes after a herd of starlings roosted on the moment hand. On New Year’s Eve in 1962, the clock eased back because of substantial day off ice on the long hands. Accordingly, Big Ben ringed the new year quickly late.
The solitary significant breakdown happened on August in 1975. The compressed air brake speed controller of the tolling component parted from exhaustion after over 100 years of utilization. This caused the completely wound four-ton weight to turn the winding drum out of the development, causing extraordinary damage.
The Great Clock was closed down for a sum of 26 days more than nine months. It was reactivated on May 9, 1977. This was the longest break in activity since its construction.
Time Catches Up to Big Ben
Big Ben has held an incredible record of keeping immaculate time. However, even the Great Clock needs a specialist’s contact. Big Ben is booked for $42 million worth of fixes in mid 2017. The clock won’t ring for a while it’s being repaired, only the third time in Big Ben’s 157-year history that the clock will be silenced.
Experts have recognized issues with the clock hands, instrument and pendulum. The British government says the issues should be tended to promptly to guarantee that the clock can keep on working properly.
It’s been more than a long time since the last broad fixes were made to Big Ben. Furthermore, despite the fact that the clock might be out of administration for quite a while, it will keep on remaining as an astounding illustration of imaginative and lovely clockmaking.