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Time ball

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Time ball
Time ball
Fot. Gdansk Tourism Organisation

An unusual instrument. Exceptional precision: time with an accuracy of one second per... 200,000 years! A time ball. The first ball functioning till today was installed in 1833 in the observatory in Greenwich. The city of Kiel in 1875 was the first on the Baltic Sea to have, the second, a year later, was Gdańsk. From 1894 it has been located at the top of a modern lighthouse in the Nowy Port district of Gdańsk. The rise and drop each afternoon allowed ship captains to precisely adjust their chronometers, necessary for determining longitude at sea. The signalling system was similar to that in Greenwich. Every day at 11.55 the ball was pulled to the top of the tower mast. At twelve o’clock an electric impulse interrupted the circuit holding it with an electromagnet and the 75 kilo openwork steel ball slid down the mast. In 2008 the famous time ball was restored and today daily shows the time at 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00. Outside Gdańsk the only city with such a ball on the Baltic Sea is the maritime museum in Karlskrona.

Lighthouse in Nowy Port

Lighthouse in Nowy Port
Lighthouse in Nowy Port
Fot. Gdansk Tourism Organisation

One of the most beautiful lighthouses on the Baltic Sea. The modern Gdańsk lighthouse was built on the so-called Pilots Mount, where at least from 1849 their station was located. It was designed based on the lighthouse in Cleveland (Ohio), considered the most beautiful in America. The new lighthouse was put into operation in mid 1894. The elegant tower is 27 metres high. The light source then was an electric lamp with a current of 20 to 28 A. The initial coverage of 13 nautical miles was later increased to 20 mm. The lighthouse was a pioneer on a world scale: for the first time the lamp shining at night  was powered by batteries, which were charged during the day by a steam-powered generator. In case of an emergency, a gas light was turned on. Today, the lighthouse is owned by Commander Jacek Michalak, who arranged a very interesting museum inside it. Here you can see old lamps, historical optical equipment, an exhibition of lighthouses, you can see how the ball time works and from the peak - an extensive panorama of Gdańsk Bay and the port as well as the Westerplatte peninsula, which is very important for his- tory of the city. Arising from the green mound at the entrance to the port the stone monument was erected in honour of the defenders of the Polish coast in 1939.