PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
In 1845 Loseby submitted his chronometers 101 and 104 to The Royal Observatory, Greenwich for rating trails. Both chronometers performed well, as listed in the Greenwich records, although 104 was slightly less successful than 101. The trial was completed on 12th July 1845 and 104 was purchased by The Board of Admiralty on 7th August. Loseby continued to submit his chronometers to Greenwich for trials until 1852 and had hoped that he would be awarded a monetary prize for his work but, despite support from the Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airey, opposition from his commercial competitors, and in particular Edward John Dent, thwarted his ambitions.
Following purchase by the Admiralty, 104 returned to Loseby until sent to Devonport in January 1846. From then on it served aboard a number of naval vessels including HMS Horatio in 1855, HMS Waterloo in 1856 and again in 1857, HMS Formidable in 1861 and HMS Ocean in 1870. It was then used at Colaba Observatory, Mumbai from 1879 until 1883 when it was returned to Sheerness. It was aboard HMS Tamar between 1902 and 1905 and HMS Africa in 1906. In 1914 it was taken in exchange by E Dent & Co.
Loseby patented his compensation in 1852 but it proved too difficult and expensive to make commercially and few were made. In total, the Admiralty purchased thirteen of his chronometers at a total cost of £630. Disheartened by the lack of acknowledgment, he moved to Leicester where his father and a younger brother were established watchmakers and jewellers and where he remained until his death in 1891.
Loseby No.128, completed during the 1850s by Robert Gardner, was sold Sotheby's New York 'Time Museum' sale on 13th October 2004, lot 666.
Sotheby's would like to thank Jonathan Betts, MBE for his help in cataloguing this chronometer.
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