Box Chronometer, sidereal time, No. 4981, metal / glass / wood, manufactured by James Poole, London, England, for F Allerding & Son, Sydney, 1867-1874, used at Sydney Observatory, Observatory Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
This chronometer probably arrived in Australia some time between 1867 and 1870. It was made by the company of John Poole of London.
The case of this particular instrument has a label pasted into the lid stating John Poole had won prize medals at the 1855 Paris and 1862 London International Exhibitions. It also states he won a gold medal at the 1867 Paris International Exhibition; this was the same year that John Poole committed suicide and his company was taken over by his brother James.
James continued to produce chronometers engraved with his brother's name for a number of years; these follow on from the last chronometer made by John, number 3970. The number on this chronometer, 4981, suggests it was made between 1867 and 1874 when the number 5655 appears.
As Allerding was invited by H. C. Russell to participate in the observation of the 1874 Transit of Venus it is also possible that this sidereal time chronometer was used during this period. According to Tony Mercer's book 'Chronometer Makers of the World' Allerding later imported mainly Kullberg chronometers.
The early date of this instrument, coupled with the rarity of chronometers made by James Poole under his brother's name, increases the significance of this chronometer. Its relationship to Sydney's early instrument makers and astronomers also enhances its significance.
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, March 2008
Mercer, Tony, 'Chronometer Makers of the World', N.A.G. Press and Tony Mercer, 1991
Davies, Alun, 'The Rise and decline of Chronometer Manufacturing', Antiquarian Horology, Number 3, Volume 12, 1980
The chronometer was made by John Poole of 57 Fenchurch St, London, England between 1875 and 1885.