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the Greenwich time ball

the Greenwich time ball

...from Wikipedia: "A time ball is a large painted wooden or metal ball that drops at a predetermined time, principally to enable sailors to check their marine chronometers. Accurate timekeeping is one way of enabling mariners to determine their longitude at sea."

Full disclosure: I didn't realize what this was until I saw a pen in the gift shop that had a floating ball 'drop' embedded inside. It reminded me of the ball drop at Time Square and I wondered if there was a connection. When I got back, I looked it up...and sure enough there is.