Wooden, brass-bound, mahogany chronometer box

A mahogany brass-bound chronometer box from the 1845 Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The front of the box has an ivory plaque inscribed with a Government Broad Arrow and ‘8 DAYS FRENCH 4214’. The base has been crudely repaired with a new piece of pine nailed up from the bottom. The lid has a recess for an inlaid lozenge-shaped brass plate, now missing, and has butt hinges, opening to 90°, originally to reveal a glass panel, only the groove round the inside of the box now remaining. Four screw holes in the lid indicate it was screwed down at some stage.

The French 4214 chronometer was signed out for use on board HMS Erebus (1826) by Henry le Vesconte on behalf of Sir John Franklin, dated 10 May 1845. [NMM, ADL/D/18, certificate 506]

According to the curatorial note (not yet verified), Inuit found the chronometer box at Ook-goo-lik, near the shores of King William Island, and Hall took possession of it at Shepherd Bay, Boothian Peninsula, on 17 May 1869. In Joseph E. Nourse’s account of Hall’s second Arctic expedition, based on Hall’s notebooks, he states ‘a second smaller mahogany box.’ [p.400], the first being the writing desk. Hall then lists in a letter to Henry Grinnell, 20 June 1869, ‘4. Chronometer-box, with its number, name of maker, and the Queen’s broad arrow engraved upon it.’ [Nourse, ‘Narrative of the second Arctic expedition made by Charles F. Hall’, p.418]

The mahogany chronometer case was presented to the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, by Miss Sophia Cracroft in 1892, ‘Case 3, No. 45. Chronometer box’. The box was illustrated in 'Harper's Weekly', 23 October 1869.

Object Details

ID: AAA2233
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Chronometer box
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, Hall, 1864-1869
Date made: Before 1845
People: Hall, Charles Francis
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 116 x 190 x 190 mm

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.