Henry Sully

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Henry Sully (1680-1729). Henry Sully clockmaker.jpg
Henry Sully (1680-1729).

Henry Sully (1680–1729) was an English clockmaker. He lived in France for many years. [1]

Clockmaker artisan who makes and repairs clocks

A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and/or repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair clocks. Modern clockmakers may be employed by jewellers, antique shops, and places devoted strictly to repairing clocks and watches. Clockmakers must be able to read blueprints and instructions for numerous types of clocks and time pieces that vary from antique clocks to modern time pieces in order to fix and make clocks or watches. The trade requires fine motor coordination as clockmakers must frequently work on devices with small gears and fine machinery.


Marine clock

Henry Sully's clock (Fig.1) with escapement (Fig.2) and shipboard gimbaled suspension mechanism (Fig.7). Henry Sully clock with escapement and suspension mechanism.jpg
Henry Sully's clock (Fig.1) with escapement (Fig.2) and shipboard gimbaled suspension mechanism (Fig.7).

He invented a marine clock to determine longitude accurately, a sophisticated pendulum clock. [1] He presented a first Montre de la Mer in 1716 to the French Académie des Sciences. [2] He was the first person to develop a chronometer in Paris. [3] In 1718, Henry Sully established a watch factory in Versailles. [1] He presented two new models in 1723. [2] In 1726, he published Une Horloge inventée et executée par M. Sulli. [2] His chronometers performed well in calm weather, but not on the high seas. [4]

Marine chronometer

A marine chronometer is a timepiece that is precise and accurate enough to be used as a portable time standard; it can therefore be used to determine longitude by means of accurately measuring the time of a known fixed location, for example Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the time at the current location. When first developed in the 18th century, it was a major technical achievement, as accurate knowledge of the time over a long sea voyage is necessary for navigation, lacking electronic or communications aids. The first true chronometer was the life work of one man, John Harrison, spanning 31 years of persistent experimentation and testing that revolutionized naval navigation and enabling the Age of Discovery and Colonialism to accelerate.

Longitude A geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earths surface

Longitude, is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the Earth's surface, or the surface of a celestial body. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees and denoted by the Greek letter lambda (λ). Meridians connect points with the same longitude. By convention, one of these, the Prime Meridian, which passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England, was allocated the position of 0° longitude. The longitude of other places is measured as the angle east or west from the Prime Meridian, ranging from 0° at the Prime Meridian to +180° eastward and −180° westward. Specifically, it is the angle between a plane through the Prime Meridian and a plane through both poles and the location in question.

Pendulum clock Clock regulated by a pendulum

A pendulum clock is a clock that uses a pendulum, a swinging weight, as its timekeeping element. The advantage of a pendulum for timekeeping is that it is a harmonic oscillator: it swings back and forth in a precise time interval dependent on its length, and resists swinging at other rates. From its invention in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens until the 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world's most precise timekeeper, accounting for its widespread use. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries pendulum clocks in homes, factories, offices and railroad stations served as primary time standards for scheduling daily life, work shifts, and public transportation, and their greater accuracy allowed the faster pace of life which was necessary for the Industrial Revolution. The home pendulum clock was replaced by cheaper synchronous electric clocks in the 1930s and '40s, and they are now kept mostly for their decorative and antique value.

Henry Sully worked with Julien Le Roy, a clockmaker to Louis XV. [5] In France, Henry Sully was followed in his developments by Pierre Le Roy and Ferdinand Berthoud. [3]

Julien Le Roy French master clockmaker

Julien Le Roy (1686-1759) was a major 18th-century Parisian clockmaker and watchmaker.

Louis XV of France King of France

Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the king took sole control of the kingdom.

Pierre Le Roy French clockmaker

Pierre Le Roy (1717–1785) was a French clockmaker. He was the inventor of the detent escapement, the temperature-compensated balance and the isochronous balance spring. His developments are considered as the foundation of the modern precision clock. Le Roy was born in Paris, eldest son of Julien Le Roy, a clockmaker to Louis XV who had worked with Henry Sully, in which place Pierre Le Roy succeeded his father. He had three brothers: Jean-Baptiste Le Roy (1720-1800), a physicist; Julien-David Le Roy (1724–1803), an architect; and Charles Le Roy (1726–1779), a physician and Encyclopédiste.

Soon after the 1726 publication of Une Horloge inventée et executée par M. Sulli, John Harrison started developing his own famous chronometer, creating a description and drawings for a proposed marine clock in 1730 and actually manufacturing the Harrison H1 in 1735. [1]

John Harrison English clockmaker, horologist and inventor of the marine chronometer

John Harrison was a self-educated English carpenter and clockmaker who invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought-after device for solving the problem of calculating longitude while at sea.

Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice

Henry Sully built the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice. Gnomon Saint Sulpice.jpg
Henry Sully built the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice.

The priest of Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, Languet de Gergy, wishing to establish the exact astronomical time in order to ring the bells at the most appropriate time of day, commissioned Henry Sully to build the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice. [6]

Jean-Baptiste Languet de Gergy French priest

Jean-Baptiste Languet de Gergy (1674–1750) was parish priest at Eglise Saint-Sulpice in Paris from 1714 to 1748. He was the initiator of the construction of the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice.

Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice

The Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice is an astronomical measurement device located in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, France. It is a gnomon, a device designed to cast a shadow on the ground in order to determine the position of the sun in the sky. In early modern times, other gnomons were also built in several Italian and French churches in order to better calculate astronomical events. Those churches are Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, San Petronio in Bologna, and the Church of the Certosa in Rome. These gnomons ultimately fell into disuse with the advent of powerful telescopes.

In 1737, another one of his books was published: Illustrations de Règle artificielle du temps, traité de la division naturelle et artificielle du temps.... [7]


Regle artificielle du temps, 1737 Sully, Henry - Regle artificielle du temps, 1737 - BEIC 3879156.jpg
Regle artificielle du temps, 1737


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