Early in the morning rose, and a boy brought me a letter from Poet Fisher, who tells me that he is upon a panegyrique of the King, and desired to borrow a piece of me; and I sent him half a piece. To Westminster, and there dined with Mr. Sheply and W. Howe, afterwards meeting with Mr. Henson, who had formerly had the brave clock that went with bullets (which is now taken away from him by the King, it being his goods).1 I went with him to the Swan Tavern and sent for Mr. Butler, who was now all full of his high discourse in praise of Ireland, whither he and his whole family are going by Coll. Dillon’s persuasion, but so many lies I never heard in praise of anything as he told of Ireland. So home late at night and to bed.
- Some clocks are still made with a small ball, or bullet, on an inclined plane, which turns every minute. The King’s clocks probably dropped bullets. Gainsborough the painter had a brother who was a dissenting minister at Henley-on-Thames, and possessed a strong genius for mechanics. He invented a clock of a very peculiar construction, which, after his death, was deposited in the British Museum. It told the hour by a little bell, and was kept in motion by a leaden bullet, which dropped from a spiral reservoir at the top of the clock, into a little ivory bucket. This was so contrived as to discharge it at the bottom, and by means of a counter-weight was carried up to the top of the clock, where it received another bullet, which was discharged as the former. This seems to have been an attempt at the perpetual motion.—Gentleman’s Magazine, 1785, p. 931.—B.