The chronograph was used in conjuction with a transit telescope to make a correction to a clock. The drum was covered with a sheet of paper, and a pen-holding mechanism, now lost, moved along the length of the drum as the drum rotated. The pen made a continuous line on the paper. The pen mechanism was connected to a clock which put out an electrical pulse every second, and those pulses made jogs in the line. An observer at a transit telescope watched for the passage of a star through the meridian, and when the star crossed the cross-hairs of the telescope, the observer closed a switch which produced a different sort of jog in the line. It was then possible to determine within a small fraction of a second what the clock read when the star crossed the meridian. The drum was turned by a spring motor, and the governor to control the speed is in the upper right of the picture. This was part of the equipment in the Grinnell College observatory in the late 1800s.
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