West Sea Company

3. Nautical Instruments

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN



3.84  EARLY MARINER’s  QUADRANT with MUSEUM PROVENANCE.   Particularly well-preserved navigational instrument dating from the late 1700’s, ex. museum collection.  This large octant, otherwise known as a “Hadley quadrant,” has limbs of mahogany, ivory scales and brass furniture.  It is of the double reflecting type, introduced by John Hadley to the Royal Society in 1735, after which such instruments saw acceptance and production in very nearly this same form for the next 100 years!  This example has distinctive characteristics which date it to circa 1790.  They include the existence of a backsight, mahogany vs. ebony construction, interchangeable filters, ivory pencil and large flat index arm with simple stop and left reading 0-20 vernier scale.  (See our customer help feature “History of the Sextant”).  This instrument is of classic form with an engraved ivory scale reading from -2 to 99 degrees signed with the “SBR” monogram indicating it was made by the prestigious firm of Spencer, Browning & Rust using their recent version of Jesse Ramsden’s dividing engine invented in the early 1780’s.  The ivory index arm vernier scale is calibrated from 0 to 20 minutes, providing an accuracy of one arc minute.  The frame is of mahogany (vs. ebony) indicating it is of earlier manufacture.   It is complete with its very rarely-found pencil for noting readings and small inland trapezoidal ivory notepad inlaid on the reverse.   The reverse also bears all of the brass fittings for adjusting the mirror boxes and all three brass “feet.”  This handsome instrument measures 16 inches long by 13 inches wide on the long arc.  The original case is constructed of hand-dove-tailed pinewood in its very desirable early deep blue paint.  Interestingly a number of the mariner’s original observations are penciled in the lid, making it a great, first hand, real time, intimate window into shipboard history!  The museum accession numbers “T266” are finely painted in red on both the instrument and its box.  The box measures 17 ½ inches long by 15 ¼ inches wide and 3 ¾ inches thick.  Aside from their already acknowledged rarity, such instruments hardly ever come to the market with their original boxes, and virtually NEVER in such fine, pristine, original condition!This quadrant is well over 200 years old!Price Request

The venerable firm of Spencer, Browning and Rust was a prolific manufacturer of navigational instruments since the partnership was established in 1780.  The name appeared in the London Directories between 1780 and 1784 as being at 327 High Street, Wapping, London.   In 1798 the firm moved to 66 High Street and remained there into the 1840’s when the firm name became Spencer, Browning & Co. 



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3.37  IMPRESSIVE INCLINOMETER.  Very finest quality ship’s pilothouse gauge used to measure the ship’s heel (roll) when underway and its trim when in port.  This precision instrument has an enamel dial marked in individual degrees PORT and STBD. from 0 to 50.  The first 20 degrees are further calibrated in ½ degree increments.  The measurement is indicated by a black spade hand connected to internal gearing and a heavy brass weight.  The dial is marked “HEEL” and “DEGREES,” then is signed “KELVIN & HUGHES LTD. Made In Great Britain” at the bottom.  The dial is protected by thick beveled glass set into a heavy cast brass bezel.  The bezel is fitted to a thick sold brass case with 3 mounting feet and a knurled locking knob at the bottom for disenabling the mechanism when not in use.  This fine navigational instrument measures 9 inches in diameter an 2 3/8 inches deep.   It is mounted to a rich hardwood backboard 12 inches in diameter.  The backboard has one of our unique hanging brackets which provides secure suspension while allowing movement of the mechanism.  Lovely, fully restored cosmetic condition in a bright brass finish.  695



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3.35/5.58.   WWII GERMAN SEXTANT.   Very finest quality navigational sextant made by the prestigious C. Plath Company of Hamburg for the German Kriegsmarine at the height of World War II in 1943.  This innovative, state- of-the-art instrument is made with the precision for which Plath was famous.  The lightweight cast aluminum lattice frame was an advancement ahead of its time.  The instrument is coated in a baked enamel finish to protect it from the elements.  The index arm is equipped with a convenient “pinch stop” attached to an endless tangent screw micrometer.  It rides over the large arc calibrated in single degrees from -5 to 137.   It bears Plath’s serial number “19156.”   The knurled fine adjust knob provides the micrometer with an accuracy down to 6 arc seconds!  The arm is engraved with the Reich’s symbol of an eagle perched atop a swastika above the letter “M,” the Reich serial number “4245” and is signed “C. Plath Hamburg.”  The instrument is complete with both its mirrors of exceptional size,  its 4 index filers and 3 horizon filters.  The large sighting telescope is essentially a monocular with an adjustable focus.  The back of the instrument retains the Bakelite handle and 2 supporting feet.   The large arc measures 9 ¼ inches wide and the index arm is 9 ½ inches long overall.  This impressive instrument is housed in its original hardwood box of maple using splined construction.  The lid bears the metal label of C. PLATH and the original certification for use reading “Entspricht den Bestimmungen der Kriegsmarine” with the date of “19.2.43’ (February 19, 1943).  The box measures 12 ½ inches square by 6 ¾ inches high.  It is complete with all of its hardware and has a great variegated alligator finish.  Overall a very nice instrument in excellent condition showing actual use but no abuse.  The stories it could tell!  SOLD

The Kreigsmarine, begun in 1935 and running until the end of World War II in April of 1945, was one of the three branches of the infamous Nazi war machine. The Kriegsmarine’s most effective combatants were its modern U-boats, which began to be constructed at the beginning of World War II.  Wolfpacks, which were comprised of coordinated groups of submarines, attacked British convoys during the first half of the Battle of the Atlantic.   But by May 1943 the tactic was abandoned when U-boat losses increased due to effective Allied countermeasures.  Along with the U-boats, surface commerce raiders were used to attack Allied shipping in the early years of the War.  The most famous of those were the heavy cruisers Admiral Graf Spee, Admiral Scheer and the battleship Bismark.  The employment of convoy escorts, particularly in the Atlantic, minimized the effectiveness of  commerce raiders in the second half of the War.

Plath sextants have been, and still are, considered the Rolls Royce of such instruments.



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3.30  MINIATURE SEXTANT.   Truly extraordinary, if not completely unique, 2nd quarter 1800’s midshipman’s sextant (aka lifeboat sextant) made by the highly revered early English maker William Cary as beautifully hand-engraved on the large silver arc “Cary, London 968.”   This amazing instrument is actually a semi circumferentor having a scale divided to a full 180 degrees of arc, sub-divided to 20 arc minutes!   This was a spectacular feat of precision engineering at the time, attesting to Cary’s genius.  It was not attempted by any of his contemporaries even on larger more easily calibrated instruments.  This pristine all brass instrument is in its original blackened finish. The tangent fine adjust knob works in consort with the knurled index arm stop. The large scale is overridden by the index arm vernier scale calibrated to provide a reading down to an accuracy of an amazing 20 arc seconds!  This was virtually unheard of for an instrument of its size at the time.  It is a cutting age accomplishment literally akin to the moon exploration more than 125 years later!   The index arm is equipped with an adjustable magnifier to view the reading.  This compact navigational instrument has both index and horizon mirrors and a height adjustable sight holder which accommodates 3 telescopes housed in its box.   Incredibly, 2 index filters and 2 horizon filers are also provided.  On the reverse it has a sculpted solid ebony handle and 3 positioning “feet.”   This diminutive instrument measures  a mere 5 ¼ inches wide on the broad arc and 4 ½ inches long on the index arm.  It is housed in its original rich African mahogany box with very fine hand-dove tailed construction measuring 5 ½ inches square by 3 ¼ inches thick.  It is complete with all three sighting tubes and 2 eye piece filters.  Incredibly the box lock is complete with its original skeleton key!  Within the lid are two original labels.  The first is by “HENRY PORTER Successor to the Late W. CARY.”  The second is a hand-inked label dated 1888 indicating the correction of the index error in June 1888.  This extraordinary presentation is worthy of the finest world class museum.  In fact it must ultimately go to a museum as the trail of its past dictates.  We are all caretakers of our prized possessions, but not owners in perpetuity.  3900

William Cary was a patriarch of the family of instrument makers in England which brought that country to world prominence in the early 1800’s.  Born in 1759, Cary apprenticed to the premier 18th century instrument maker, Jesse Ramsden.  Cary began his own practice in 1789 at 277 The Strand, London.  In 1821 he moved to 181 The Strand where the business flourished thereafter.  In partnership with his brother John, William produced some of the finest and most highly sought after antique globes sold today.  The signature J & W Cary is a mark of excellence in the current marketplace.  William Cary died in 1825.  But his apprentice Henry Porter carried on the firm in his master’s name.  Owing to the quality and execution of the finest details of this superior instrument, it is our opinion that this sextant is indeed by the hand of the master, William Cary, as signed “Cary, London.”  Inasmuch as Porter’s trade label in the lid states “Apprentice and Successor to the Late W. Cary,” surely this instrument dates very close to or prior to Cary’s demise.

Such miniature sextants were popular as functional but very expensive novelties during the second quarter of the 19th C.  Many were awarded as prizes for superior performance by their recipients in navigational academies of the time.  Other well known makers such as Troughton & Simms produced a nominal amount of such quality instruments at the time.  (See item 3.92) 



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3.11  AMERICAN SEXTANT SET.  Ultimately rare, perhaps one-of-a kind, cased 19th century double sextant set made by the prestigious American scientific instrument company “Keuffel and Esser, New York” as engraved on the index arms and as indicated on their respective labels.  This matched set features not one but TWO sextants contained within their single dovetailed mahogany box.  Each sextant is made of cast bronze with classic lattice frame design in their original factory oxidized finish.  The index arms are signed “Keuffel & Esser Co., New York” and are serial numbered “6101” and 6112” respectively. The large arcs are inlaid with silver scales reading from -5 degrees through 165 degrees, effectively making them “quintants.”  The scales are subdivided in 20 arc minutes, with the vernier scale allowing an accurate reading down to 30 arc seconds.  To aid in the reading each vernier is equipped with a light diffuser on the index arm and a pivoting magnifier.  The index arm features a knurled thumbscrew stop and the double tangent screw fine adjust feature as introduced by the French circa 1880.  Both instruments are complete with their full set of 4 index filters, 3 horizon filters and index and horizon mirrors.  Both have their adjustable height sight tube holders designed to accommodate one of three (total six) sighting accessories.  These include a peep tube, short telescope and long telescope with cross hairs.  The backs of these sextants retain their original sculpted mahogany handles and long brass “feet.”  These fine instruments are housed in their original machine dove-tailed box with brass furniture, functional skeleton lock and key, folding brass handle, unusual locking box closures and inlaid “shield” escutcheon in the lid.  They are absolutely complete with all attachments including spare mirrors, two screwdrivers, two adjusting wrenches and 4 telescope tube eyepiece filters.  Speaking to the quality of this set, the attachment compartments are even lined in protective green felt!  The lid of the box bears the faux ivory maker’s label reading “KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. NEW YORK , St. Louis. Chicago. San Francisco.”  But what’s more, each of the sextants has matching serial numbered “KEUFFEL & ESSER Co.” labels proclaiming its manufactory, locations with company logo and drawing of “Factories, Hoboken, N.J.”   Each sextant has a 7 ½ inch index arm and measures 9 inches wide on the arc.  The box measures 16 ½ inches long, 9 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches thick.  The entire presentation is in unbelievably fine state of preservation being in near mint, factory original condition in every respect!   Truly a rare find!  Was 4900  NOW 3500



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3.29 TELLTALE COMPASS. Scarce, particularly handsome Captain’s cabin “upside down compass” by the very respected early American makers “S. Thaxter & Son, Boston” as elaborately embellished around the center pivot. This large pristine example is all brass. The hand-engraved dry card compass is backed by mica. The center has an agate cap encircled by a brass cone which prevents the card from becoming dislodged from the pivot. The pivot extends through the thick glass bottom. The traditional compass rose is sub-divided by half points with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified. North is designated by a very elaborate fleur-de-lis. The periphery of the card is calibrated in single degrees marked by 10’s in 90 degree quadrants. The compass body is solid brass and the heavy glazed bezel has a classic flare. The body is suspended in a heavy brass gimbal ring supported by an equally heavy braced U-shaped bracket. The face of the compass measures 7 ¼ inches in diameter and the body is 4 inches thick. The bracket is 10 inches wide and when installed the compass hangs 7 inches from the overhead. The compass card itself is lively and accurate. Overall condition is absolutely outstanding for and item like this approximately 160 years old! A museum piece. Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

To monitor the heading of the ship while in his cabin, the ship’s captain was provided with a telltale compass. One per ship! A unique feature of these Captain’s cabin compasses is the backward card, designed to be read from below. As such, the North and South positions are as all compasses, but East and West are reversed.

Samuel Thaxter was a premier early American nautical instrument maker. Born in 1769 in Colonial Massachusetts he began his business in 1792 on State Street in Boston. In 1822 Thaxter took his son Joseph into the business under the name Samuel Thaxter & Son. The elder Thaxter died in 1842 and sometime during the Civil War his son relinquished the business to an apprentice, H. R. Starrat, who carried on the firm’s name into the early 1900’s. This compass likely dates to the Civil War.

A nearly identical English version of this compass, made by the 18th century English nautical instrument maker, John Gilbert, is shown on page 186, Plate XXIX of M. V. Brewington’s “The Peabody Museum Collection of Navigating Instruments,” 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem Massachusetts. Another such compass by the Thaxters (pictured) is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.



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3.24   EARLY OCTANT BOX.  Mid-19th century or earlier keystone box which houses an octant or sextant.  The construction is entirely of early rich mahogany with distinctively early hand-cut dove-tailed joints. The interior contains a set of brackets for holding the instrument’s handle and a set of two eyepieces, filter and adjusting tool.  The lid bears the partial label of the famous firm “John Bruce & Son, South Castle Street, Liverpool.”  It is complete with its original box lock and 2 hook and eye closures.  There are two typical age cracks in the lid, however the entire presentation is very sound and most worthy.  The important interior dimensions are 10 inches wide at the base and 10 ¼ inches top to bottom.  The wooden brackets for holding the instrument’s handle are not screwed in, so they can easily be repositioned.  It is quite rare to find an early box of this quality wanting of an instrument.WAS 249  NOW! 99



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3.11  AMERICAN SEXTANT SET.  Ultimately rare, perhaps one-of-a kind, cased 19th century double sextant set made by the prestigious American scientific instrument company “Keuffel and Esser, New York” as engraved on the index arms and as indicated on their respective labels.  This matched set features not one but TWO sextants contained within their single dovetailed mahogany box.  Each sextant is made of cast bronze with classic lattice frame design in their original factory oxidized finish.  The index arms are signed “Keuffel & Esser Co., New York” and are serial numbered “6101” and 6112” respectively. The large arcs are inlaid with silver scales reading from -5 degrees through 165 degrees, effectively making them “quintants.”  The scales are subdivided in 20 arc minutes, with the vernier scale allowing an accurate reading down to 30 arc seconds.  To aid in the reading each vernier is equipped with a light diffuser on the index arm and a pivoting magnifier.  The index arm features a knurled thumbscrew stop and the double tangent screw fine adjust feature as introduced by the French circa 1880.  Both instruments are complete with their full set of 4 index filters, 3 horizon filters and index and horizon mirrors.  Both have their adjustable height sight tube holders designed to accommodate one of three (total six) sighting accessories.  These include a peep tube, short telescope and long telescope with cross hairs.  The backs of these sextants retain their original sculpted mahogany handles and long brass “feet.”  These fine instruments are housed in their original machine dove-tailed box with brass furniture, functional skeleton lock and key, folding brass handle, unusual locking box closures and inlaid “shield” escutcheon in the lid.  They are absolutely complete with all attachments including spare mirrors, two screwdrivers, two adjusting wrenches and 4 telescope tube eyepiece filters.  Speaking to the quality of this set, the attachment compartments are even lined in protective green felt!  The lid of the box bears the faux ivory maker’s label reading “KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. NEW YORK , St. Louis. Chicago. San Francisco.”  But what’s more, each of the sextants has matching serial numbered “KEUFFEL & ESSER Co.” labels proclaiming its manufactory, locations with company logo and drawing of “Factories, Hoboken, N.J.”   Each sextant has a 7 ½ inch index arm and measures 9 inches wide on the arc.  The box measures 16 ½ inches long, 9 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches thick.  The entire presentation is in unbelievably fine state of preservation being in near mint, factory original condition in every respect!   Truly a rare find!  Was 4900  NOW 3500



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3.23  INCLINOMETER SCALE.  Authentic mid-1900’s ship’s clinometer scale which was mounted on the pilot house bulkhead of a commercial freighter.  The scale reads from 0 to 50 degrees port and starboard, with either side of the centerline marked in single degrees up to 20 and thereafter in 5 degree increments marked by 10’s.  The scale is made of an early plastic and is painted gold.  It is 11 ½ inches wide and 7/8 inches thick.  Original condition.  A great project for the do it yourselfer. Shipped via USPS First Class mail.  12



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3.21  LARGE AMERICAN STEERING COMPASS.   Third quarter 19th century ship’s steering compass made by one of America’s leading compass manufacturers, “*D. BAKER, MELROSE, MASS*” as inscribed around the center pivot.  This unusually large master ship’s magnetic compass has a beautiful compass rose riding above bar magnets supported in the middle by a brass pivot with agate cap.  Indicative of its early manufacture the rose is divided by points of the compass with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  Then it is further divided down to ½ points.  North is indicated with an elaborate pinwheel decoration.  The walls of the compass are marked with lubber’s lines at 90 degrees.  The heavy brass compass body with glazed cover is slung in gimbals pivoting on stout brackets on each side.  The gimbal ring is serial numbered “900.”  The entire unit is contained in its original solid oak box with unusual oak bulkhead hanging bracket.  The compass measures 8 ¼ inches in diameter and the box is 10 ½ inches square.  With hanging bracket it stands 11 ½ inches tall.  Approximately 140 years old!  Outstanding original condition in all respects.   The lovely compass card is virtually perfect and it is lively and accurate.  One of the best we’ve ever seen and a better example not to be found!  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

Research indicates that David Baker began his manufactory on the outskirts of Boston in 1873.  The majority of his compasses were 4 ½, 6 ½ and 7 1/8 inches in diameter.  We know of no larger examples.  Known serial numbers range from 2808 to 3168.  Many surviving examples exhibit damage and/or toning on the interior.   Baker received a patent for his so-called “Axial Balance, Always Steady” compass in 1896.  The extant example bearing these marking has an illegible 4 digit serial number possibly staring with a “3.”  Accordingly the example offered here is certainly one of his earliest.



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3.22  VERY EARLY ENGLISH SEXTANT.  Class “A” mariner’s navigational sextant engraved in lovely script “Imray & Son, 89 & 102 Minories London.”  This old instrument has a solid brass large arc inlaid with a silver scale reading from -5 to 155 degrees, effectively making it a "quintant."  The degree scale is subdivided to 15 arc minutes.  It is overlaid by the pivoting index arm with silver vernier scale left-divided from 0 – 15 minutes, subdivided to 15 arc seconds.  This allowed the observer to take a reading down to a 15 second accuracy or ¼ mile!  The reading is made with the knurled thumbscrew stop and the knurled tangential thumbscrew fine adjustment knob.  To aid in taking the reading a pivoting magnifier is set above the scale.   This quality instrument is the standard form of the era with braced brass frame and index arm, both index and horizon mirrors, 3 multi-colored index filters, 3 multi-colored horizon filters and a height adjustable sighting tube holder, all in perfect shape.  The rear of the sextant has 2 brass “feet” and an early form sculpted ebony handle.  It is contained in its old style “keystone” box (not square) made of figural African mahogany with very thin hand-dove-tailed joints.  The box is totally complete with all 3 sighting tubes:  a long telescope, a short telescope, and a peep tube, screw-on eye piece and mirror box adjusting tool.  The lid bears the label of Imray’s neighbor “A. Johansen 149 Minories.” The box itself has some typical age-related drying cracks which do not affect its soundness.  The lid is minus its brass shield inlay.  It is complete with its box lock and 2 hook and eye closures.  The sextant itself measures 10 inches wide on the large arc and 9 1/8 inches long on the index arm.  The box measures 12 inches wide by 10 ½ inches long and 4 5/8 inches thick.  Circa1850.  Overall this is an exceptional surviving relic from the days of sail 170 years old!  Try finding one this good on eBay!  WAS 1195  NOW! 795  

James Imray was a nautical instrument maker and chart publisher in London beginning in1846.  His last address was 102 Minories, London in 1851.  The house number of “89” engraved on this instrument suggests it dates earlier than his final address.  (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument makers 1550-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum, Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd.)



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3.18  AZIMUTH INSTRUMENT.  Genuine, highest quality ship’s navigational instrument made by the esteemed American makers, “NEGUS NEW YORK” as stamped on the bed plate and again on the maker’s tag on the box.  This precision instrument is all brass with a blackened finish.  It has an optical quality glass prism which rotates via two knurled brass knobs.  Designed to be set atop the ship’s main steering compass in a binnacle, it has a magnifier set in a tube below the prism to enhance the current compass reading while at the same time providing an image of the sun or celestial body.  Two pivoting sun shades are provided for looking at the former.  A removable “line-of-sight” pole is provided, as is a bubble level for assuring totally accurate level readings.  This instrument fits the top of a standard size 8 inch Navy magnetic compass.  It measures 9 ¼ inches long by 3 3/8 inches wide and 8 ¾ inches high with the removable vertical post.  Absolutely mint, untouched, original factory condition in its original dove-tailed wooden box with brass hardware measuring 10 1/4 by 7 ½ inches by 5 ½ inches thick. 199

Primarily used to determine LAN (Local Apparent Noon) the azimuth instrument is an effective tool for determining the ship’s latitude by measuring the sun’s altitude at the exact time of meridian passage.

The Negus firm first appeared in the New York City directories at 84 Wall Street in 1850.  Thomas Stewart was trained as a chronometer maker in England and began working with his brother, John David in 1848, first under the name of Thos. S. Negus & Co.   During the Civil War the firm moved to 100 Wall Street and the name changed to T.S. & J.D. Negus.  The business of chronometer and navigational instrument making continued to grow, causing them to move to 69 Pearl Street in 1875.   From the Civil War onward, Negus enjoyed the patronage of the U.S. Navy as the suppliers of chronometers and other navigational equipment.   By the early 1900’s T.S. & J.D. Negus had established themselves as the leading nautical instrument makers and chandler in the United States.  In 1962 the firm was purchased by Max Low & Co.  Low found success in providing the government with navigational instruments, clocks and deck watches during World War II.  Max Low’s son, Charles, continued the business in New York through the 1980’s when the firm was finally dissolved.



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3.17  EARLY BOXED COMPASS.  Rare, first quarter of the 19th century American boxed compass with the card signed around the center pivot “R. L. SHAW 22 WATER St NEW YORK.”  This highest quality dry card compass has an engraved paper card overlaying mica.  The central brass pivot has an agate bearing.  Indicative of its early origins the card is only marked in points, not degrees.  The cardinal and intercardinal points are identified down to the remaining individual points.  32 in all.  North is denoted by an elaborate Fleur-de-lis.  It is housed in its weighted brass bowl with old wavy glass cover slung in gimbals.  The gimbal ring has two extended pivots which fit into brass V brackets mounted in the box.  As such, the compass is easily removed for cleaning and inspection.  The solid oak box is of exceptional quality, being of stout hand-dovetailed construction with it original chamfered sliding lid.   When the lid is inserted it effectively locks the compass in place.  The compass itself measures 5 inches in diameter.  The box is 7 ¼ inches square and 5 ½ inches high.  The compass is very lively and accurate, gimbaling properly within its box.  Overall condition is excellent.  There is some minor age toning on the card in the southern quadrant which in no way affects its quality or appeal.  This is yet another exceptional museum-quality marine antique offered by this longstanding company, about 200 years old!  SOLD

Robert Shaw was a respected nautical instrument maker and ship chandler in New York City in the early 1800’s.  We have sold examples of navigational octants with his signature.



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3.16/19.87 YACHT TAFFRAIL LOG. An amazing find! Late 19th century American patent log for small vessels made by the venerable nautical firm of Negus, New York. What is particularly remarkable about this set is its mint, UNUSED condition in the original box with instructions! The lovely instrument has a porcelain dial within its glazed brass housing. The dial is signed“ NEGUS PATENT LOG” and is calibrated on the periphery from 0 – 50 miles in one mile increments, marked by 5’s. The subsidiary dial at the bottom indicates tenths of miles. The log itself is equipped with a large brass bail handle and terminates in a free wheeling governor to which the log line and lead are attached. The “fish” (rotator) is solid brass and is marked “NEGUS M.” It is attached to approximately 10 fathoms of original cotton line. All of this is contained within the original cardboard box with interior “Directions” in the lid and outer decorative label reading “NEGUS PATENT LOG.” It is complete with its rarely-found separate instruction sheet entitled “HOW TO USE.” The box measures 10 inches long by 3 5/8 inches wide and 3 ¾ inches high. Condition of the contents is superb – factory new. The box shows signs of normal wear expected of an object over 100 years old. 595



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3.14/5.46  U.S. NAVY CLINOMETER.  Authentic World War II fighting ship’s pilot house inclinometer made for the Navy by the John L. Chaney Instrument Company.  The face of the Bakelite body is engraved:

CLINOMETER
U.S. NAVY BU-SHIPS
MK IV
1943
JOHN L. CHANEY INSTR. CO.
LAKE GENEVA WISC., U.S.A.


This precision device is calibrated in single degrees of heel port and starboard up to 70 marked by 10’s.  The reading is made by a small black ball within a curved glass tube containing fluid.  The fluid acts to dampen (slow) the ball as the ship rolls.  This is exactly the same principle used in an aircraft’s turn and bank indicator.  The instrument measures 12 ½ inches wide by 6 ¼ inches high.  It is in excellent original condition, even showing the desirable “real world” remnants of old red and green paint applied by a zealous sailor!  The action of the ball is perfect.  395 



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3.13   DOUBLE FRAME SEXTANT.   A very rare 19th century Class "A" English sextant by the esteemed makers, “Heath & Co. Ltd. Crayford, London” as prominently hand-engraved on the bottom of the scale.  This exceptional all brass navigational instrument is absolutely of the highest quality ever made.  It features a large arc with inlaid silver scale divided in degrees from -5 to an amazing 160, subdivided to 10 arc minutes, effectively making it a quintant.  The accompanying silver vernier scale on the index arm is divided from 0 – 10 enabling a reading down to 10 arc seconds!  Incredibly, in the days long before GPS, this allowed the navigator to determine his position within 10 miles of accuracy.  It is facilitated by the knurled index arm stop and the tangential fine adjust knob.  This was an important innovation at the time.  Of special note, this double frame sextant, also known as a “bridge” or “pillar frame: was invented Edward Troughton in the 1780’s.  Troughton’s idea was to make a sturdy, lightweight instrument which provided ultimate accuracy.  In this, he was very successful.  But its complexity and cost of manufacture prevented all but the wealthiest ship owners and captains to purchase such an instrument.  As such, very few were ever produced.  This rare example has a brass “T” frame in its orignal darkened finish with numerous circular screws securing the pillars front and back.  Both the index and horizon mirrors are in place as are the full compliment of 4 index filter and 3 horizon filters.  The index arm is equipped with a pivoting magnifier of exquisite quality – a signature feature of Heath’s splendid output.  This instrument has a height adjustable telescope holder.  On the back, the sculpted mahogany handle has an inset brass sleeve indicating this instrument could have been mounted on a support stand for hydrographic survey use.  It is complete in its very beautiful solid mahogany box of hand-dove-tailed construction.  It contains both optical telescopes and one peep tube, along with the two screw-on eyepiece sun filters and rarely-found folding tortoise shell magnifier together with box lock key.  The outside of the box bears the ivory plaque engraved “NAVAL SEXTANT 7 INCH PILLAR No. 18.”  This indicates Royal Navy use.  Below the plaque is an inset folding brass handle for carrying.  Inside the lid is the last certificate of inspection from the National Physical Laboratory, Kew Observatory dated 1911.  Fabulous original condition in all respects and totally complete.  It measures 9 ¼ inches long on the index arm and 10 ¾ inches wide on the arc.  The box is 10 by 10 ¾ inches and 5 3/8 inches thick.  Without question, this instrument is worthy of any world class collection. Circa 1880.   2785



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3.03 EARLY AMERICAN NAUTICAL COMPASS. Quite unusual maritime compass of especially small size produced by the short-lived American scientific and nautical instrument making firm of “FRYE & SHAW * NEW YORK*” as hand-engraved around the pivot of the compass card. This functional ship’s compass has a paper over mica drycard compass rose marked in single points of the compass with the cardinal and sub-cardinal pointes identified. North is designated by a classic fleur-de-lis. The brass pivot is of conical form reminiscent of compasses dating back to the 17th century! Also in keeping with tradition, the East point is embellished with yet another fleur-de-lis. The card is housed in its weighted brass bowl slung in gimbals mounted in its heavy brass cylindrical housing complete with the original press-fit knurled brass lid. The compass is very lively, accurate, and gimbals properly. The presentation measures 3 5/8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick with the lid. Condition is absolutely outstanding and original, in all respects. Totally original. This is a sweetheart of an offering, worthy of any museum. Not particularly cheap, but worth every penny. Find another! 888

Adington D. Frye and Robert Ludlow Shaw formed a partnership which was listed in the New York City Directories as mathematical instrument makers at 222 Water Street in 1837 and 1838. The New York State Directory lists the firm in operation from 1840-1845. (Charles E. Smart, “The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700,” 1962, Regal Art Press, Troy, NY).

The decorated east point on the compass rose found its beginnings in the early Crusades as warriors battled their way East in search of the Cross. Early compasses were embellished with a cross on the east point reminding Crusaders of their goal. As time went on the cross gave way to a more secular embellishment, but the tradition of a “decorated” east point continued for centuries, finally falling out of favor with compass makers in the early 1800’s.



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3.02 GIMBALED POCKET COMPASS. Surely very rare 19th century mariner’s pocket compass consisting of a nickeled brass bowl housing a classic directional compass. This pocket miniature has a mother-of-pearl compass card with the cardinal and sub-cardinal points identified and marked down to single points. The card is marked in the distinctive black and white hemispheres delineated by Porter’s patent. But what is particularly unique is the fact that this is indeed a maritime compass. Pulling the inner ring from the housing allows the compass to actually gimbal as the ship would roll. Further, pressing the compass back into its housing cages (stops) the compass from moving. This is accomplished by pins, cleverly protruding from the bottom of the compass bowl, which engage the housing. The housing has a pivoting suspension loop at the top, much like a traveler’s barometer or pocket watch of the period. Circa 1880. 2 1/8 inches in diameter and 3 1/8 inches high overall including the loop. Perfect original condition. The first of its kind we have seen in our 38 years in the nautical antiques business, made especially significant with Porter’s patent card. SOLD



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3.99 ANTIQUE HAND-HELD COMPASS. Very nice mid-19th century drycard compass made for the English speaking market. This diminutive all brass compass has an engraved paper card marked down to the single points of the compass with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified. North is denoted by a very fancy fleur-de-lis. The periphery is calibrated in single degree quadrants marked by 10’s, 0 through 90. At its center the card has a high quality brass pivot with inset agate bearing. It is housed under original old way glass within its all brass case with press-fit cover. The lid is engraved in script “DLS.” This compass is exactly 3 inches in diameter and 1 1/8 inches thick. Excellent old condition. The old magnetic compass bar is tired. But eventually it settles out to show North. A great old display piece. 229


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3.97 NAVIGATOR’s PARALLEL RULES.   A large and important set of ship’s navigators chart rulers from the early part of the 1900’s.   This impressive set made of Bakelite with brass fittings measures 24 inches long by 3 1/4 inches wide, making it one of the biggest ever made!  It is signed “H. HUGHES & SON LTD” on the left end and “MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN” on the right.  Of special interest, due to its size, it has 3, not the typical 2 brass connecting arms.  Following the invention of Capt. Fields, it is marked as a protractor with 90 and 270 at the center, radiating to 360 on the left and 180 on the right end.   The lower limb is marked with “NESW, S and SENW” respectively.   The action is tight and precise.  Very handsome original condition.  The rich brown tone of the Bakelite nicely enhances the yellow gold of the brass.  A rare signed example which charted the way for many a successful voyage! 295



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3.94 IMPORTANT SEXTANT.   Second quarter 1800’s navigational instrument made by one of England’s most respected firms of the era, “Troughton & Simms, London” as hand-engraved on the large arc.   This complex “pillar frame” sextant is of the highest quality ever made.  The amazing inlaid sterling silver scale is calibrated from -5 to 155 degrees subdivided by 10 arc minute increments, effectively making it a “quintant.”  Above the maker’s name on the arc is the engraved word indicating “Silver.”  The matching vernier scale in the index arm allows for a reading down to an accuracy of 6 arc seconds!   The reading is set by the index arm stop and tangential fine adjust knobs.  A pivoting magnifier with built-in light diffuser aids in taking the reading.  This instrument is actually 2 sextants in one, having a “double frame” consisting of two sheets of thick brass held together by numerous posts or “pillars,” hence the name.  The index arm is braced for additional support.  This instrument is complete with both index and horizon mirrors and its full set of 4 index and 3 horizon filters.  The height-adjustable sight holder is controlled by a large knurled knob on the reverse.  Also on reverse is the lovely sculpted rosewood handle for holding and 3 brass “feet” for support in the box.  The box itself is noteworthy, being the early keystone type made of rich mahogany with hand-dovetailed construction.  It is complete with brass hinges, functional skeleton lock with key and hook and eye closures.  Remarkably, it is complete with all accessories, including long and short telescopes, cross hair scope, both eyepiece filters and mirror box adjusting tool.  The instrument measures 10 inches high by 11 ½ inches wide.  The box is 11 inches high, 14 inches wide and 5 ¼ inches thick.  Excellent original condition throughout.  The instrument itself is unmodified, fully functional and exhibits traces of the original orange lacquer finish.  The box is in remarkably fine original condition, extremely sound, with no cracks or losses so common in wooden objects of this vintage.   Approximately 170 years old.  No finer sextant was ever made!   We are pleased to  be able to offer it here.  Price Request

Edward Troughton introduced his innovative pillar frame design in 1788.  Functioning much like the trusses of a bridge, it provided rigidity for greater accuracy and lighter weight for ease of use.  The design was immediately embraced by mariners and Troughton’s contemporaries at the time when such instruments were transitioning from wood to brass.  Brass had evolved as the material of choice because of its stability in a marine environment.  Troughton’s design was copied by a number of nautical instrument makers in the early 1800’s.  However its complexity and high cost finally led to its extinction by the middle of the century.

Provenence:   Inlaid into the lid of the box is a brass plate engraved “LIEUT. J. R. LE HUNT WARD RN.”  Some in depth research certainly could reveal much more interesting history.  The British Naval Registry documents the service of the officers in HM Navy.



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3.92  RARE HISTORIC MINIATURE SEXTANT.   Truly extraordinary, mid-1800s presentation sextant made by one of England’s most elite makers!  This delightful little instrument is signed on the large arc in perfect hand-engraved script, Troughton & Simms, London.”  Of all brass construction with a V-shaped frame, the sextant has an inlaid silver arc reading from -5 to 160 degrees, effectively making it a quintant.  Incredibly, these divisions along with the vernier scale on the index arm, allow this sextant to match the accuracy of it larger cousins, down to 20 arc seconds!  A pivoting magnifier is provided for taking the reading.  The index arm has a miniaturized version of a thumb screw stop and tangential fine adjust.  The sextant is complete with its 2 horizon filters and 2 index filters in perfect condition.  The index mirror and horizon mirror are in beautiful condition.  The whole presentation is totally complete in its shaped rich mahogany box.  The octagonal ebony handle screws into the frame with a secure fit.  There are two optics, a peep and a telescope which fit into the height-adjustable sight holder.  Rounding out the accessories, there are both sight tube filters, mirror adjustment tool, and the functional skeleton key for the brass lock.  Of monumental importance for its value and appeal is the beautifully-hand-engraved  presentation on sterling silver inlaid into the top of the box.  It reads, Presented at the Public Examination on the 13th of June 1851 to Gentleman Cadet, Henry Goodwyn by the Honble Court of Directors of the East India Company, as a mark of the Courts approbation of his attainments in Mathematics while at the Military Seminary.”  The overall presentation is nothing short of phenomenal for an instrument 166 years old!  Totally complete and virtually in the same condition when it was made.   All surfaces are in their original bright brass lacquer finish.  This is a nautical gem of the highest order, if ever there was one!  Most certainly worthy of the finest world class collection and/or museum.  5350

The East India Company, also known as the Honourable East India Company or the British East India Company was formed to pursue trade with the "East Indies" (present-day Southeast Asia), but ended up trading mainly with Qing China and controling the Indian subcontinent.

Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the Company accounted for half of the world's trade  in basic commodities such as cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpeter (for gun powder), tea, and opium. The Company was also instrumental in the founding of the British Empire in India.

The Company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies. Wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the Company's shares, but the government owned no shares and had only indirect control.

During its first century of its operation, the Company's focus was on trade, not the building an empire in India. But early in the 18th century when the Mughal Empire began to decline, Company interests turned from trade to territory as the East India Company competed with its counterpart, the French East India Company.
By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the Company had a private army of about 260,000, twice the size of the British Army! The Company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions.  Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858. But following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the resulting Government of India Act 1858 led the British Crown to assume direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.

Despite frequent governmental intervention, the Company's on-going financial problems finally led to its dissolution in 1874.



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3.48  INCLINOMETER.   Most unusual early 1900’s ship’s pilothouse inclinometer marked, “STRUMENTI NAUTICAL E. CHANZ, TRIESESTE,” engraved on the pendulum bob.  This Italian-made ship’s instrument is unique in our experience, having a glazed brass body mounted to a sculpted hardwood backboard.   As configured it is exceptional in that it is both functional and beautiful.  It has a jet black background engraved with degrees of list in single degree increments from 0 to 51 port and starboard, marked by 10’s.  The heavy, solid brass pendulum bob has a center line engraved on the tip of the pointer to precisely indicate the heel or list within a half degree of accuracy!   The pivot at the apex is steel secured within a blackened brass fitting.   It provides a very smooth, uninterrupted action.   The instrument is housed in its sheet brass enclosure with triangular glass window, all of which is mounted to the one piece hardwood backboard in natural finish.  In use this inclinometer was hung on the athwartships bulkhead in the pilot house in a prominent place.  Insuring its secure attachment are three thick brass tabs.   The one at the top is fixed, whereas the two at the bottom are slotted, cleverly allowing the instrument to be “trued up” if necessary.  11 inches tall by 12 ¾ inches wide overall.  2 ¼ inches thick.  Excellent, fully restored condition.  695 Special PackagingBack to Top

The quaint seaport town of Trieste is located on the extreme northeastern border of Italy, at the head of the Gulf of Trieste on the Adriatic Sea.  Throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of the Latin, Slavic and Germanic cultures.  Trieste was one of the oldest cities in the Habsburg Empire and in the 19th century it was the most important port of that member of the “Great Powers.”  As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest and Prague).  It underwent an economic revival during the 1930s and played a key role in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs after World War II.  Today Trieste is one of Italy’s richest regions, serving as a center for shipping, shipbuilding and finance.



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