Time balls were visual signals to provide mariners with an accurate time by which to set their chronometers. Over 150 were established worldwide in the late nineteenth century and they were obsolete by the 1920s. Convinced that it would attract more shipping to Falmouth there was a long and anxious debate about the establishment of a time ball at Falmouth. This article follows its progress to the eventual triumphant moment when it was positioned on top of the tower at Pendennis in 1897 until it was overtaken by the telegraph signal in 1920.

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