Big clock fixed with a few small pennies In this Thursday, April 30, 2009 file photo, the Big Ben bell is seen inside St. Stephens tower at the Houses of Parliament, in central London. Officials on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 said that the famous clock at Britain's Parliament, used by people across Britain to check the time, has recently been slow by as much as six seconds. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Big clock fixed with a few small pennies
Lexile

Don't set your watch by Big Ben.
 
Officials say the famous clock at Britain's Parliament - used by Londoners for decades to check the time - has recently been slow by as much as six seconds.
 
The 156-year-old clock chimes every 15 minutes and emits deep bongs to mark the hour. Staff at BBC radio, which broadcast the bongs live at 6 p.m., noticed its inaccuracy.
 
Ian Westworth, one of Parliament's three clocksmiths, told the BBC the clock had become "a little temperamental" with age.
 
"Imagine running your car for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the last 156 years," he said.
 
Parliamentary officials said that mechanics had corrected the clock to within "normal parameters" - within 2 seconds of the right time. They will continue to adjust it by placing pennies on the pendulum - or removing them - to fine-tune its speed.
 
Parliament's neo-Gothic clock tower is one of London's most recognizable landmarks, and its bell is one of London's characteristic sounds. The famous bongs echoed through the city without fail through World War II bombing raids, though they have been silenced a few times for repairs, and by accident or the weather.
 
Although the clock tower is popularly known as Big Ben, the name actually refers to the 13-and-one-half-ton Great Bell inside. The tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do mechanics use pennies to adjust the time?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (25)
  • haleyy-ols
    9/09/2015 - 12:43 p.m.

    I enjoyed reading the article Big Ben gets fixed with pennies I just wish it would say what a pendulum is. When I could of just read what it is I had to look it up

    Sincerely, Haley Y.

  • lawtonk-mil
    9/18/2015 - 04:24 p.m.

    This article is about how they fixed Big Ben to be at the right time. It will continue to adjut as they put pennies in the pendulum. Although the clock tower is named Big Ben, the name actually refers to the 13-one-half-ton Great Bell Inside. Big Ben has been has been slow for as much as six seconds. It is 165 years old and chimes every 15 minutes.

  • mimir-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:14 p.m.

    Since a pendulum controls the clock, mechanics used pennies to give the pendulum more weight, so that the bell will be more accurate.

  • courtneyh-1-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:17 p.m.

    The mechanics use pennies to adjust the time because of the parameters.

  • johnj-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:17 p.m.

    They use pennies to adjust time because pennies weigh very little and can help adjust the pendulum by small amounts without completely stopping the pendulum.

  • mattv-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    Pennies are very small, so they can insert them into slots in order to 'fine-tune' the clock.

  • ethanb-1-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    Mechanics use pennies to adjust time because pennies are small and can be inserted in slots for fine tuning

  • elizabetht-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:20 p.m.

    The adjust it with pennies by setting them on the inner pendulum.

  • hollyk-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    Mechanics use pennies to adjust the time because they want to find tune in its speed.

  • garretta-fel
    9/21/2015 - 02:25 p.m.

    Mechanics use pennies because pennies weigh very little,and the more or less you place can help adjust things.

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