A group of scientists working and teaching in Japan in the 1880s were the first to apply modern scientific technologies to the question of measuring and recording earthquakes. John Milne, Sir James Afred Ewing and Thomas Gray began their study of earthquakes following a serious tremor which struck the area of Yokohama in 1880, and founded the Seismological Society of Japan. The breakthrough in quake measurement, which is generally agreed to have been the work of Milne, was a horizontal pendulum seismograph, which enabled the measurement of different types of earthquake waves, as well as their velocity.
Editors. "Seismograph invented by John Milne". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=6352, accessed 20 December 2014.]