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From Timeball to Atomic Clock

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A Hong Kong Government Publication

The Royal Observatory, Hong Kong

First published December 1983

Designed by Government Information Services

Printed by the Government Printer

Crown Copyright Reserved Any reproduction is an infringement of Crown Copyright unless official permission has been obtained from the Director of Information Services, Hong Kong.

The early section of this book owes much to Royal Observatory, Hong Kong: A Brief General History, by the late Mr. L. Starbuck, Assistant Director, published in 1951.

Other extracts have been taken from relevant annual reports of successive Directors of the Royal Observatory. Further references, including those written by Observatory staff, appear in the bibliography.

Thanks are due to Mr. Ian Diamond, Archivist, Public Records Office of Hong Kong, and his staff, for assistance with old newspapers and official documents and letters.

When quoting from written sources, only minor changes have been made in spelling and syntax to make them accord with modern style. (For example, Hong Kong, instead of Hong-kong or Hongkong. The use of Hong Kong and Kowloon as the official spelling of the place names was officially adopted in 1926.)

If it was believed that a change would affect the sense of the original, detract from it, or possibly cause confusion, the original was left intact.

This policy has - broadly - been followed with punctuation, bearing in mind the comment by Geoffrey R. Sayer in a note to his An Eastern Entrepot (HMSO, 1964):

'Generally the documents have been given as found, but occasionally some minor editing has been done regarding punctuation, since many 19th Century officials seem to have had only a cursory acquaintance with the principles of that art.'

However, to avoid confusion, temperatures are given in degrees Celsius, even for periods long before the official adoption of the scale in Hong Kong. (For details of the change, see p. 104).

Similarly, wind speeds are expressed in knots. A knot— one nautical mile an hour — is not a metric unit, but is widely used in meteorology, aviation and seafaring. One nautical mile is 1.852 kilometres.

Dollars mentioned in the text are Hong Kong currency unless stated otherwise.

Colleagues in the Information Services Department, Mr. Geoffrey V. Somcrs and Mr. Phillip Bruce, added substantially to the flavour of the book by providing historical details, particularly in relation to early weather phenomena.

Finally, thanks are due to Mr. John Peacock, Director of the Royal Observatory, and his staff, for their invaluable assistance.

Request Code : ZLIBIO3112304
Hong Kong Government Publication

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