The chime that tells the time
Since ages ships have been a medium of travel and transportation. In the old times, a sea voyage was considered to be very dangerous. Sometimes a ship didn’t touch the shore for months. It was very tough to live aboard a ship. Yet, in 1492, Christopher Columbus, an adventurous sailor decided to go on a long voyage. His aim was to discover a sea route to India. By chance he discovered America and became a popular figure in the history. Centuries later, in July 1994, an Italian sea diver found a bell in a sunken ship. Lots of research led to an exciting conclusion. The bell belonged to Santa Maria,the flagship of Columbus’ voyage of 1492. You must be wondering - what was a bell doing aboard a ship? The answer is-it was used to announce the time.Let me explain how the bell worked. On the ship, the day was divided into six periods or Watches.Each Watch lasted four hours. The first Watch started at midnight. The bell was rung every half an hour, sounding one stroke, then the second and so on until eight strokes were completed. These eight strokes covered a four-hour Watch. Then the pattern started again for the second Watch. And so on for the other four Watches.With the advent of modern science and lots of inventions ships have now become a safer mode of travel. These days the sea-routes of the world are replete with ships of all sizes- from small trawlers to big cruisers. Still, the custom of ringing a bell to announce the time continues aboard many ships.
Web references :
Blagovest Bells— 'Santa Maria bell'