Punch, 59 (1870), 9.
Big Ben in Danger
Time, Instruments, Accidents, Politics, Instrument-makers
Notes the destruction by fire of the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, a tragedy caused by the contact between heated flues and loose coconut fibre—the latter being stored under the bell and clock to deaden the fall of the clock weights. Punch thinks this is 'the remotest danger to provide against we have ever heard of' owing to the impossibility of clock weights unhooking themselves, and warns that a greater danger to Edmund B Denison's clock is posed by flames from the pipe of workman standing near the coconut and the 'possible incendiary consequences of Mr. Denison's un-official, and Mr. Ayrton's official, connection with the clock'. Concludes with a list of the 'heats' that the Palace of Westminster has generated among 'its architects, clockmakers, amateur and professional ventilation doctors' and others.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005-07
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