Today’s Google doodle marks the 325th birthday of British horologist John Harrison. In 1735, the self-taught clockmaker completed his design of the first marine chronometer.
According to Google, the British government had offered a reward of £20,000 to anyone who could create a navigational instrument that determined a ship’s longitude within 30 miles. Harrison spent seven years working on the ground-breaking invention that would aid British naval forces.
“Harrison’s extraordinary invention brought him much acclaim. Thanks to him, seamen could not only gauge latitude but longitude, making their excursions far safer,” says Google on its Google Doodle blog.
The doodle leads to a search for “John Harrison” and is being displayed on Google’s US and UK home pages, along with a small collection of other international pages, including Ireland, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Peru and Chile.
Harrison would go on to create more watches that were smaller and more accurate than his original designs: “Our colorful Doodle shows the inventor hard at work, surrounded by the tools of his trade. Today, time is on his side.”