West Sea Company

3. Nautical Instruments

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN

 



3.85  CHART DIVIDERS.  A very clean pair of navigational chart dividers in nickel silver, dating from the early 1800’s.  These dividers are probably English-made and are in excellent original condition.  They measure 5 3/8 inches long overall and effectively span a distance of up to 9 inches.  The action is very tight and secure.  A bargain.  39



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3.49 TRAVERSE BOARD.   Extremely rare, late 1700’s mariner’s navigational device known as a “traverse board.”  This scarce survivor from the age of sail is Dutch in origin.  Known there as a “pinnkompass,” it was the primary component in the method of navigation known as “dead reckoning,” used by virtually all maritime nations of the era.  In essence it was a primitive  computer!  The board is of one-piece wooden construction in two sections with a large “eye” at the top for hanging when not in use. The upper section serves as the direction component arranged in the form of a compass rose with 32 lines representing the 32 points of the compass, radiating from the center.  Each line is drilled with 7 holes indicating successive half hour intervals of the 4 hour deck watch beginning with zero (no hole) at the center.  Used in conjunction with a half hour watch glass (sand timer) the direction steered during the recorded period was noted using a pin or peg inserted into the innermost hole on the appropriate course line.  Successive readings were similarly recorded progressing outward with each turn of the glass.  The lower half of the instrument was the speed component, used in conjunction with a chip log, line and a log timer to determine the ship’s speed.  Horizontally it is marked in knots. “1 – 10” with quarter knot fractions on the right.  This measurement was taken every 2 hours (hence “2, 4, 6, 8” on the vertical axis) by throwing the chip log over the side, timing its passage with a 30 second glass and counting the number of knots payed out in the line during that interval.  Thus the ship’s speed in “knots” was recorded.  The sum of the resulting speed and direction “vectors” was computed by the navigator at the end of the watch to give the captain a rough idea of his ship’s travel and its resulting position.

This rare instrument is made of a regional hardwood, probably oak, laminated on the working side with vellum and painted in its original light green paint on the reverse.  This construction technique is very similar to that used in making wooden diptych sundials during the 1700’s.  After it was firmly adhered to the board the vellum was meticulously hand-painted and the appropriate holes drilled.  The unusual writing across the bottom “GMYLEN G” stands for Mijlen Gevaren or “average miles sailed (per hour),” where mijlen is the more modern spelling of the archaic Dutch word mylen (miles) as shown.  The hand-painted rose was originally identified with the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass.  But due to decades, possibly centuries, of use only “ZW” and “Z” (southwest and south) remain due to wear.  Telling of it age, the sizes of the holes vary from 1 to 3 mm in diameter indicating they were hand-made  using an auger or punch, not a uniform drill.

Overall condition is excellent for a wooden object of such vintage that was in constant use.  As noted above, it is well worn on the edges.  To these ends it does exhibit some old repaint around the periphery.  Under close scrutiny a few minor paint flecks of a slightly different hue can be seen on the vellum.  The paint on the reverse is well worn and the wood itself is alligatored with some expected worming.  An excellent sign of age and originality is the fact that the paint is not inside the worm holes, indicating the paint is older than the holes!  This rare relic of early navigation measures 11 ¼ inches high, 6 ¾ inches wide and is 5/16 to ½ inch thick.   A world class navigational instrument well over 200 years old and worthy of the finest museum. Price Request

Although at first glance primitive, this traverse board has some ingenious features, one of which is the alternating light and dark markings on the compass rose for ease of reading on the dimly lit deck of a ship in a dark night at sea.  Some 100 years later the British inventor Samuel Berry Singer received a patent for using this same concept to design a “night compass.”



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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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3.83  AZIMUTH INSTRUMENT.  Original, 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 was designed to fit over the top of a standard size 8 inch 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.  269

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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3.70  EARLY 1800’s SEXTANT.   Class “A” mariner’s navigational sextant from the first half of the 1800’s.  The large arc is hand-engraved “Steele & Son, Liverpool” in fancy cursive script. This fine instrument features a classic braced brass frame with elliptical center.  The brass arc is inlaid with silver, precisely-divided from -5 degrees to 115 degrees calibrated in 10 arc minutes.  The silver vernier scale, marked from 0 to 10 allows a reading down to a very accurate 10 arc seconds.  To facilitate this reading a pivoting adjustable index arm magnifier is provided.  The reading is set by a knurled thumb screw and a tangential thumbscrew fine adjustment knob.  This exceptional instrument is complete with its full set of 3 horizon filters and 4 index filters, all in good condition.  Importantly, both the index and horizon mirrors are in tact.  On its reverse are the original brass “feet” and its sculpted ebony handle of early form.  It measures 10 ¼ inches wide on the arc and the index arm is 9 ½ inches long.  It is comes with its original hand-dovetailed box of rich mahogany measuring 10 1/8 by 11 ¼ by 5 inches thick.  The box is complete with all 3 original optical telescopes, including eye piece sun filter and mirror box adjusting wrench.  The original brass skeleton key lock is in place and functional with its original key!  What is remarkable is that this instrument contains two original Steele labels in the lid charmingly illustrated with old navigational instruments and packed with copious information of the period.  2 brass pivoting hooks assure the hinged lid’s positive closure.  Overall condition is absolutely wonderful.  There is a slight age crack in the lid of the box which is the norm -- expected of pre-plywood boxes employing large panels of solid wood.  Otherwise it is essentially perfect and totally original!  A real bargain for such an historic and beautifully-constructed instrument over 160 years old!  Priced to sell!  949
 
John Steele & Son worked as mathematical instrument makers, opticians and stationers from 1828-1851. They were located at 9 Duke’s Place, Wapping, London from 1829 to 1838 and at 21 Duke’s Place Liverpool from 1839 to 1851. They were succeeded by John P. Steele & Co. and associated with the famous maker John Crichton (worked 1831-1865) to whom Robert Steele (the son) was apprenticed. (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Page 265).


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3.41  MARINER’s QUADRANT.   Very rare, museum-quality navigating instrument from the age of sail.  This 18th century quadrant, otherwise known as an “octant” is signed on the flat brass index arm in engraved script, “GILBERT & GILKERSON  ~ Tower Hill London.”  This early astronomical angle measuring device has limbs of mahogany with inset ivory scales and brass furniture.  The index arm is 16 inches long overall and terminates in an engraved vernier scale on ivory which sweeps over the large ivory scale divided from -1 degree to 99 degrees divided by 20 arc minutes.  The vernier, divided from 0 – 20 allows a reading down to one arc minute.  The single thumbscrew stop on the index arm (without the later form tangential fine adjustment) belies this instrument’s 18th century origins.  The fact that the large scale effectively describes an arc of 90 degrees is the reason such instruments were known as “quadrants.”  This example has a double peephole foresight and a single antiquated “back sight.  All three mirror boxes are present as is the full set of 3 interchangeable sun filters.  A blank ivory nameplate is inset into the cross brace and the rarely-found ivory pencil is still in place.  The brass index arm stop is present on the right limb.  On the reverse, this instrument retains all three brass “feet,” trapezoidal ivory note pad for recording readings with the pencil, and a complicated set of adjustments for the two horizon mirrors.  In short this rare surviving relic is totally complete and in an outstanding state of original preservation.  Complete in its old original keystone pinewood box.  Interestingly, several notations from actual readings are scribed on the interior in pencil and in chalk.  The instrument itself measures 13 inches wide on the arc.  The box measures 18 inches long by 15 inches wide and is 4 inches thick.  The box is surprisingly sound and in great condition.  SOLD 

The partnership of William Gilbert and James Gilkerson was begun in 1793 as mathematical instrument makers and opticians at 8 Postern Row, Tower Hill, London.  They were succeeded by Gilkerson & Co, in 1809.  The partnership was known to have made and sold sextants, rules, globes and ring dials.  William Gilbert was heir to a long line of mathematical and scientific instrument makers beginning with his grandfather, John Gilbert (I) in 1719 and his father, John Gilbert (II) in 1751.

(Gloria Clifton, “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument makers 1550 -1851,” 1995, Zwemmer, Philip Wilson Publishers, London).


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3.82  NAVIGATOR’s CHART RULES.   Authentic early 1900’s English ship’s navigational rolling rules used to lay out courses on navigational charts.  This heavy solid brass parallel ruler is marked “U.W.W. MAKERS BIRMINGHAM.”  It consists of two interconnected rollers with finely crossed striations used to grip the charting surface.  In so doing they provide a parallel motion which can be traced from a compass rose on the chart to the ship’s line, indicating the plotted course in degrees.  The body of the rule measures 18 inches long by 2 ½ inches wide with beveled straight edges on both sides.  Two knurled brass handles, one on either end, allow the navigator to readily move the ruler across the chart.   The rule is stamped with the owner’s name “J.J. RIACH.”   It comes in its original hinged wooden case of dove-tailed construction with brass hinges.  The case measures 19 by 3 ¼ by 2 inches.  Excellent condition throughout.  Makes a perfect presentation as a noteworthy nautical gift. SOLD



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3.81  MARINER’s QUADRANT.  Very rare, highly desirable 18th century navigational device known as a quadrant, or alternatively “octant.”  This early example is patterned after John Hadley’s double reflecting quadrant first introduced in 1731.  It is an extraordinary instrument which has limbs of mahogany with brass furniture and a finely engraved boxwood scale inlaid into the large arc.  The scale is divided from 0 to 90 degrees, or one quarter of a circle, hence the designation “quad”rant.  The degrees are marked by 5’s.  Each degree is sub-divided into 20 arc minute segments, with diagonal lines cutting across 10 concentric circles.  With this arrangement the index arm and its ivory “line of faith” can provide a reading to an accuracy of 2 arc minutes, interpolated to 1 arc minute.  Below the diagonal scale is a second linear scale divided into single degrees and subdivided to 20 arc minutes.  These precise divisions are quite remarkable considering they were hand-done, before the advent of the mechanical dividing engine!  To attain such accuracy the instrument was necessarily large.  The index arm is slightly over 18 1/2 inches in length and the scale is 15 inches wide.  The quadrant is equipped with an index mirror and horizon mirror, a set of three pivoting filters, and a peep sight with pivoting shade.  It has a blank ivory nameplate in the cross brace.  On the reverse are three brass “feet” and the horizon mirror box adjusting assembly.  The index arm stop is a single brass thumb screw.  There is no fine adjustment feature on these early instruments.  Condition is remarkably excellent for a working device which saw sea service over 240 years ago!  A true museum piece! Price Request

The search for “The longitude” in early 18th century England was encouraged by the Board of Longitude which offered a massive prize of £30,000 for the solution.  It spurred much innovative interest in celestial navigation.  In May 1731 John Hadley, an English mathematician, presented a paper to his fellow members of the Royal Society in London describing the use of a double reflecting quadrant or "octant."  His quadrant was based on the principle of light reflection and angles of incidence that were described by Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton, and Edmund Halley in the previous century.  The principle is that when the angle of a celestial object and the horizon is seen through a double reflection, that angle is condensed in half between the two reflecting surfaces.  Thus Hadley's quadrant, reading to 90°, had an arc of only 45°, or one eighth of a circle, making it an "octant."  Basically the instrument consisted of a triangular wooden frame with a swinging index arm pivoted at the apex.  A mirror was fixed at that point which would move with the arm.  A second mirror, half of which was transparent so that the user could view the horizon, was fixed to one limb and a sight was attached to the opposite limb.  A precise scale, calibrated in degrees, was scribed on the arc of the bottom limb of the triangle, across which the index arm moved.  This continued to be the basic form of angle measuring navigational instruments for the next 250 years, and still remains, even with the advent of GPS!

Quite independently of Hadley, Thomas Godfrey, a Philadelphia glazier and acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, devised an improved altitude measuring device based on the same principle over a year earlier.  The instrument had been tested in the sloop TRUEMAN on voyages to Jamaica and Newfoundland from 1730-1731.  The Royal Society recognized the equal contributions of both men and awarded them a prize of £200 each.  Godfrey also received a prize from the Board of Longitude (of chronometer fame) for his work.  However it was Hadley who ultimately received the most credit for the invention.

The improvements in navigation of the Hadley quadrant or "octant” as it came to be known, over previous instruments was immense.  Not only was it more accurate, it provided simplicity of operation, and the ability to "capture" the object being sighted for rapid, multiple sightings.  The merits of the quadrant were immediately noticed by the British Admiralty and its commercial production was begun.  Even so, the instrument did not find popular acceptance and general use amongst traditionally minded mariners until after 1750.

The earliest Hadley quadrants, like backstaves, were constructed of walnut or other indigenous woods, with the scales being engraved on boxwood (although examples on brass do exist).   With the discovery and growing importation of exotic woods such as ebony, rosewood and African mahogany beginning in the 1750's, the use of mahogany was quickly implemented, gradually giving way to the exclusive use of ebony, then ultimately brass by the mid-1800's.

From the article “Evolution of the Sextant” by Rod Cardoza
http://westsea.com/captains-log/evolutionofthesextant.html



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3.80  PRESENTATION SEXTANT.  Truly exceptional first half of the 19th century British pocket sextant also known as a “box sextant.”  This fabulous example of the early scientific instrument maker’s art is all brass, housed in its original mahogany case.  This maker of this precision instrument is identified with the hand-engraved signature “T. Dunn, Edinburgh.”  It is inlaid with a scale of sterling silver calibrated in half degrees of arc from -5 to 140 marked by tens.  The fine silver vernier scale on the index arm provides an accuracy down to a single arc minute.  To facilitate the minute reading a pivoted magnifier is provided.  What is truly exceptional about this instrument, placing it far above most others of its type, is that it actually has a fine adjustment tangent screw, typically only seen in much larger sextants of the era.  Cleverly, it also has two pivoting sun filers within the body, actuated by levers on the periphery of the case.  A removable sight is also provided, which rests in the case when not in use.   The instrument is encased in a knurled brass cover which hermetically seals it when not in use, and acts as a handle when screwed onto the other side.  Adding more value and desirability it is beautifully engraved with the presentation “TO James Peddie FROM Geo.& Jas.s Gunn JUNE 1842.”  The quality of the engraving is the finest we have ever seen!  The instrument itself measures 3 inches in diameter and 1 ¾ inches thick.  The mahogany box of splined construction with original brass hook and eye closure and inlaid brass plaque measures 4 by 4 inches and 2 1/4 inches thick.  Remarkably pristine original condition after 174 years!  Certainly the finest box sextant we have ever had the pleasure of offering.  
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Gloria Clifton, author of “Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550 – 1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum, lists Thomas Dunn on page 90 as a Mathematical, Philosophical instrument maker and Optician, working first in 1843 at 50 Hanover Street in Edinburgh, Scotland then at 106 George Street through 1867.  Thomas began his business with his brother, John Dunn II in 1841, who at the time was working in Glasgow.  It is interesting to note that the presentation date of 1842 predates Thomas’s move to Edinburgh, apparently still in the employ of his brother.



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3.77  SEXTANT & OCTANT PARTS.  We now offer for sale a large variety of original old parts for 19th and early 20th century sextants, including filters, mirror boxes, mirrors, telescopes, peep tubes, sights, mounting feet, telescope holders, vernier magnifiers, individual glass sun filters, screw-on eyepiece sun filers, etc. etc.  The large diversity of this unmarked material is not identifiable by specific make and model.  However we can provide “look alikes” and “nearly the same” replacements for your instrument lacking same.  Prices are very reasonable for these authentic antique components compared to the cost of a newly fabricated replacement.  VARIOUS


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3.78   EXCEPTIONALLY RARE MARINER’s QUADRANT.   The real deal!  An authentic 18th century English ship’s navigational instrument made by the most noted instrument maker of his day, George Adams (I).  This incredible relic from ye olde days of sail is made of thick brass beautifully signed in engraved cursive script, “G Adams Mathematical Instrument Maker to His MAJESTY Fleet Street London.”  It is the earliest form of navigational quadrant, calibrated on the arc from 0 to 90 in single degrees subdivided to quarter degrees (15 arc minutes) marked by 10’s.  The precise engraving is all the more remarkable considering it was hand-engraved!   It was NOT done with the yet-to-be-invented dividing engine.  Each increment is less than 1/32 inch (<1 mm) wide!  In use the navigator sighted the celestial object along the 0 degree limb.  A string rove through a small hole at the apex supported a small plumb bob which ran across the scale.  When the sighting was taken, the observer pinched the string on the arc then noted its position on the scale.  The original string, long since deteriorated, is now replaced with a working silk string and brass bob.  This instrument has a 7 inch radius and measures exactly 10 inches wide.  Outstanding original condition showing genuine age and a beautiful statuary bronze age patina acquired over hundreds of years.   Few, if any, examples of a true mariner’s quadrant remain outside of the world’s major museums.  This is the first we have been fortunate to offer in our 35+ years.   SOLD

George Adams (I) was born in 1709.  He worked as a mathematical, philosophical and optical instrument maker from 1734 to 1772.  His first shop was near Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, London.  From 1738 to 1757 he worked at Tycho Brahe’s Head, Fleet Street, then in 1767 at 60 Fleet Street.  He patented a telescope in 1750 and won the Royal appointment to George III, the Prince of Wales in 1760, about the time of this instrument.  He is known to have produced a wide range of scientific instruments.  (Gloria Clifton, “Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,”1995, Philip Wilson Publishers, London.)

Two of the most highly regarded and comprehensive works on early navigation are books written by co-authors Harriet Wynter and Anthony Turner, “Scientific Instruments,” 1975;  and by Peter Ifland, “Taking The Stars,” 1998.  On page 70 Ms. Wynter writes, “One of the first elevation-finding instruments was the sea quadrant, first used by mariners in the fifteenth century.  It was a simple arc of a circle made of wood or brass with two sighting pinnules along one straight edge, which were directed towards a celestial body.  A plumb bob attached to the apex swings across an arcuate scale graduated 0-90o to show the altitude reading.”  No photograph or likeness accompanies the text.

On page 5 of his book Mr. Ifland states, “The mariner’s quadrant came into widespread use around 1450.  Columbus used one on his first voyage to the New World.  The seagoing version was a quarter circle made of wood or brass.  Pinnules were provided along one edge for sighting Polaris.  A plumb bob suspended by a thread from the apex of the quadrant hung vertically across a scale spanning 90o. “   In Figure 6 he provides a black and white photograph of a similar brass instrument captioned, “A mariner’s quadrant, ca. 1600. Brass, 6.9-inch radius.  National Maritime Museum, London.”

 

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3.74   WEST COAST SEXTANT.  Very nice, early 1900’s English mariner’s sextant made for the famous West Coast Nautical chandler George Butler of San Francisco.  This top quality instrument was manufactured by the very highly regarded firm “Heath & Co., New Eltham, London.” as marked on the inspection certificate.  It is signed “Hezzanith.” on the maker’s  index arm plaque.  Then on the large brass arc it is boldly engraved “HEATH & Co NEW ELTHAM LONDON, MADE FOR G.E. BUTLER CO., SAN FRANCSCO.”  State-of-the-art for its time, it has a large brass arc with inlaid silver scale calibrated in single degrees from -5 to 130 marked by 10’s.  The arc is also marked “Made In England B828.”  The 9 inch index arm is marked “HEZZANITH RAPID READER, Patent” and bears the label reading “HEZZANITH Endless Tangent Screw Clamp Semper Paratus –Patent–”   The base of the arm is equipped with a spring-loaded pinch stop and a large drum micrometer fine adjust knob.  Once an observation is taken the reading is indicated to the nearest degree by an arrow in the silver vernier window.  A finer reading to the nearest arc minute is shown on the circular drum.  Then an even finer reading to an accuracy of 10 arc seconds is indicated on the second vernier!  The classic “3-circle” frame is cast bronze in a blackened crinkle finish.  It supports both index and horizon mirrors and a full set of 4 pivoting index shades and 3 horizon shades.  A height-adjustable telescope holder with knurled knob is provided for positioning one of the two sighting tubes contained in the box.  The reverse of the instrument has a sculpted mahogany handle and 2 supporting brass “feet.”  These allow the sextant to rest securely in its sturdy solid oak box of machine dovetailed construction.  The box accommodates both telescopic and peep tubes, 2 adjusting wrenches, a screw-on peep sun filter and a bristle brush marked “TO CLEAN ARC RACK.”  There is also a small piece of chamois included with the optics.  The perfect label in the lid bears Heath’s iconic trade mark reading “HEZZANITH OBSERVATORY LONDON.”   It goes on to state “This sextant No. B828” is shown to have 00 error.  It is signed with the initials “CHJ” and is dated 15th November 1934.  The very sound box is equipped with brass hardware including 2 closure hooks, folding handle and box lock with original functional key.  The lid also bears the later trade label of the “Southwest Instrument Company.”  The box measures 10 ¼ by 11 by 5 ½ inches and is in virtually mint original condition.  A totally complete high quality English navigational instrument over 80 years old.  795

Provenance:  From the estate of Captain “O. C. Thompsen, Berkeley,” California as hand-engraved on a brass plaque fronting the box.



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3.71  NAVIGATOR’s DIVIDERS.  Early 1900’s pair of ship navigator’s single-handed dividers used to measure distances on a chart.  This high quality pair is constructed of solid brass with steel tips.  The precisely-fitted hinged joint at the apex assures smooth movement with a positive stop.  The body of these dividers is constructed so as to allow the navigator to manipulate them with one hand while using parallel rules in the other.  This distinctive aspect sets the navigator’s dividers apart from those used by mechanical draftsmen.  5 7/8 inches long.  The inside of one limb is signed “MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN (T145).”  Perfect original condition.  The real deal!   129

Provenance:  From the estate of Captain “O. C. Thompsen, Berkeley,” California in the 1920’s. 



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3.65   EARLY 1800’s OCTANT.  Splendid mariner’s double reflecting navigational instrument  formally known as a “quadrant” but more commonly referred to as an octant.  This state-of-the-art device (for its time) was produced by one of England’s most respected and innovative makers, “DOLLOND * LONDON” as engraved on the central ivory maker’s plate.  The ‘A’ frame instrument features limbs of ebony with brass furniture complemented by scales of ivory and a bone pencil.  The perfect large arc was precisely calibrated using a dividing engine in single degrees from -5 to 102, effectively making it a quadrant of 90 degrees.  Each increment is then subdivided into three 20 arc minute segments.  The braced brass index arm carries the ivory vernier over the scale.  The left reading vernier is calibrated in single arc minutes from 0 to 20, thus providing an accuracy of one arc minute.  The reading is fixed by a knurled thumbscrew stop and a knurled tangential fine adjust knob.   At the apex is the large mirror box.  Used in conjunction with the split horizon mirror it provides an image viewed through the simple peep sight on the right.  The early form peep has two pinholes, of which one has an unusual pivoting eyepiece sun filter.  Further this high quality instrument is provided with a full set of 3 index shades and 3 horizon filters, all in working condition, although one of the filters in each set has a small crack.  The reverse of the instrument retains three brass “feet” for level support when not in use, a small trapezoidal ivory note pad on which to record a reading and the bulbous bone pencil used to mark such a reading.  The horizon mirror is also equipped with a very innovative fine adjustment feature.  12 inches tall and 10 inches wide.  Overall the condition of this handsome instrument is just about as nice as they come, with no other noticeable flaws.  Circa 1830.   SOLD

Several features in the construction of this instrument point to its early construction.  The wooden ebony frame has no handle.   Wood ceased to be used in such instruments after about 1860.  The peep sight is of a form used in the 18th century.  The large arc is limited to a maximum reading of only 90 degrees – the traditional scale of the very earliest double reflecting “quadrants” of the 18th century.  And it has the classic pencil and notepad – a throwback to an earlier era.  What it does not have is a backsight, which generally lost favor with makers after about 1820.

Peter Dollond (1731-1821) was the son of John Dollond, a Huguenot silk weaver in Kensington, England.  Peter apprenticed to his father in the trade, but his father's amateur interest in optics inspired him to open an optician's shop in London in 1750.  Two years later his father joined him in the new venture.  With his father, and subsequently with his younger brother and nephew, Peter Dollond designed and manufactured a number of innovative optical and scientific instruments.  He is credited with inventing the achromatic lens, for which he received a Royal patent in1763, and he was known to have made a wide range of nautical instruments.  Likely this example was from the workshop of George Dollond who carried on his uncle’s work after the latter’s death in 1821, and who himself passed away in 1852.



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3.31

3.31  AMERICAN YACHT LOG.   Second half of the 1800’s taffrail log made by “JOHN BLISS & CO. TAFFRAIL – LOG – NEW YORK U.S.A.” as marked on the porcelain register.  This virtually pristine example features a porcelain dial housed within a cylindrical solid brass body with glazed zinc cover.  The side of the cover is cast in relief on both sides, “BLISS. NEW YORK, U.S.A.”  The register itself contains three dials internally linked by reducing gears to the spinner.  The uppermost indicator is calibrated in tenths of nautical miles.  The middle register records whole miles, 0 – 10, and the lower register indicates 10 of miles from 0 – 100.  Accordingly, this “nautical odometer” can record distances traveled through the water from one tenth of a mile to more than 110 miles.  This is accomplished by the taffrail spinner otherwise known as the “fish” which trails the log under water and rotates by means of its curved fins as the vessel makes way.  The fish is finely balanced using small cuts in the anterior fins, one of which is impressed “BLISS.”  A substantial pivoting brass yoke with eye is provided for attaching the log by the cotton line to the vessel.   The entire presentation is in a remarkable state of restored preservation, functional, with bright brass surfaces.  The log itself measures 10 ½ inches long and the spinner is 9 ½ inches long by 4 inches wide.  Included in this offering is the original cotton line which is several fathoms long.  595


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3.37


3.37   PILOT HOUSE INCLINOMETER.  Charming mid-century sailor-made ship’s bridge clinometer made of solid brass and mounted to a wooden backboard.  This genuine ship’s relic is hand-made, fashioned from a thick piece of solid sheet brass in the classic form of an isosceles triangle with the pendulum bob pivot at the apex.  The indicator arm is in the form of an arrow pointing to the arc scale which is calibrated in 5 degree increments from 0 to 40 port and starboard.  The instrument itself measures 8 inches high by 9 7/8ths inches wide.  The backboard measures 11 ½ by 9 ¾ inches high.  It is completely functional and all surfaces are original and show good age.  195



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3.62  WEST COAST BINNACLE.  Turn-of-the-last-century lifeboat binnacle compass with the card signed “A. LIETZ CO., SAN FRANCISCO” flanking the fleur-de-lis marking North.  This wet card compass has a very heavy cast brass bowl with the ring marked “E.S. RITCHIE & SONS – BOSTON.”  The early-style composition card, supported by its large hemispherical float, is calibrated in single degrees around the periphery, marked in 10’s.  It is further marked in the traditional points of the compass, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  The serial number on the float and the compass ring match.  It is mounted in functional gimbals.  Speaking to its early origin, the brass binnacle housing is hand-made using riveted construction.  It has a glazed viewing port, a side lamp with burner, a hinged door, and a stout suspension loop at the top for carrying.  The flanged base measure 9 inches in diameter.  The binnacle stands 9 inches tall by 10 ½ inches wide at the widest.  Excellent overall condition.  The compass is lively and accurate, with no bubble.  The side lamp is complete with its original oil sump, burner and wick.  495


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3.60  VERY EARLY SEXTANT.  Museum-quality mariner’s sextant from the days of sail.  This remarkable instrument bears the beautifully hand- engraved signature Hoppes Improved Sextant LONDON No. 271on the large arc.   Its inlaid silver scale is exquisitely calibrated from  -5 to 145 degrees divided by 20 arc minutes, marked in 5’s, effectively making it a “quintant” or one fifth of a circle vs. one sixth, as with average sextants.  The old style “lattice frame” is telling of it age -- from the era when instrument makers were concerned with the stability and precision of their instruments -- which up until that time were made of wood.  This early, innovative solid brass example has a silver vernier scale, left reading from 0 to 15 calibrated down to 20 arc seconds.  To enable a reading a powerful pivoting magnifier is attached to the braced 10 ¾ inch index arm.  The arm is equipped with a knurled thumbscrew stop and a tangent fine adjusting screw.  The state-of-the art trussed frame is equipped with both index and horizon mirrors and a full set of index and horizon filters, all in perfect original condition.  The height adjustable sight tube holder, perhaps one of Hoppe’s claims of “improvement,” accommodates two accessory tubes in the box:   one peep and one telescopic.  On the reverse of the instrument are 3 brass “feet” for positioning in the box, and a sculpted early-form ebony handle.  Another “improved” feature is the horizon mirror box with unusual adjustment device.  This exceptionally early navigational instrument is housed in its original hand dove-tailed, keystone mahogany box in excellent condition for its age. The original brass hook and eye closure is present,  the lock is absent.  Inside the lid is the partial, much later (1890’s) label of "Max Kuner, Seattle."  The box measures 12 inches high by 12 ½ inches wide and is 5 inches thick.  A truly exceptional navigational instrument, well over 200 yesrs old, still used by mariners at least 90 years after it was made!  1695

According to Gloria Clifton, author of “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550 – 1851,” 1995, Philip Wilson Publishers, The National Maritime Museum, London, Ebenezer Hoppe was a mathematical and optical instrument maker working at Edward Street, Limehouse Fields, London in 1801, having been apprenticed to Michael Dancer in 1793.   He was noted as the inventor of an improved sextant.



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 3.76  SAILING SHIP INCLINOMETER.  Very handsome solid teak and brass shipboard clinometer faithfully copied after the original adorning the officers’ dining room aboard the famous sailing ship the STAR of INDIA.  This high quality instrument is made from solid teak and brass with two “rope twist” limbs and an arc covered by a brass scale divided in 10’s from 0 - 40 degrees port and starboard.  The heavy cast brass pendulum has a decorative fleur-de-lis at the top and a unique cut-out arrow which points to the individual degree of heel or list.  When rotated, the brass pivot knob at the apex serves the dual purpose of locking the pendulum when not in use.  The screws holding the brass scale on either side also function as the attachments to the bulkhead.   This fine inclinometer measures 10 ½ inches wide by 8 ½ inches tall on the frame.  The brass pendulum measures 11 inches long.  Complete with an etched brass presentation plaque reading:

.FROM THE ORIGINAL.
3-MASTED BARK
“STAR of INDIA”
_ . _
FORMERLY
“EUTERPE” 1863

In pristine condition, this inclinometer is itself over ¼ century old, having been manufactured in 1983 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the ship.  79

The 3-masted bark STAR of INDIA is the oldest ship in the world which still sails! She was built at the Ramsey Shipyard, Isle of Man, England in 1863.   With an iron hull, she was state-of-the-art at the time, when most vessels were still being built of wood.  She was launched as a full-rigged ship, christened EUTURPE, after the Greek muse of music and poetry.
 
EUTURPE began her career on a turbulent note. During her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip she was caught by a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal.  With her topmasts cut away she barely made port. Shortly thereafter her captain died on board and was buried at sea.
 
 After these ill-fated beginnings, EUTERPE made four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was purchased by the Shaw Savill Line, London and embarked on a quarter century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand, Australia, California and Chile. In this capacity she circumnavigated the globe 21 times with many voyages lasting up to a year!

In 1897 EUTERPE was sold to Hawaiian interests, then again to the Pacific Coloional Ship Company of San Francisco in 1899.  In that service she made 4 voyages between the Pacific Northwest, Australia and Hawaii carrying lumber, coal and sugar.

In 1901, EUTERPE was sold to the Alaska Packers’ Association of San Francisco and  re-rigged as a bark.  In 1902 the newly overhauled vessel began the final episode of her active career carrying fishermen, cannery workers, coal and canning supplies from Oakland, California to Nushagak, Alaska.  Each fall she returned with a catch of canned salmon.   In 1906, she was renamed the STAR of INDIA in keeping with the names of her sister ships in the Packers’ fleet.   Finally in 1923 she was laid up after 22 Alaskan voyages, having outlived her usefulness in the age of steam.

In 1926 the STAR of INDIA was sold to the San Diego Zoological Society with the idea of featuring her as the centerpiece of a museum and aquarium.  To this day, she continues to fulfill that role as the prime attraction of the San Diego Maritime Museum.

SHIP SPECIFICATIONS:
Hull Length 212 feet
Sparred Length 280 feet
Beam 25 feet
Draft 21 ½ feet
Gross Tonnage 1318 tons



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3.20  BRASS OCTANT.   Scarce, first half of the 1800’s English navigational octant made by the noted maker (John) “Crichton, London” as engraved on the large arc.  This precision marine navigational instrument is made entirely of brass with an inlaid silver scale exquisitely-calibrated from -5 degrees to 120 degrees of arc in 20 arc minute increments.  The maximum travel of the index arm is limited to just 103 degrees, effectively making this instrument a quadrant of 90 degrees – or in more contemporary terms of the time – an “octant.”  Of handsome form, it has a 9 ¾ inch index arm with a silver vernier scale calibrated from 0 to 20 in single arc minutes, providing a very accurate, state-of-the-art, reading for such a compact instrument.  To observe the reading a pivoting magnifier is attached to the index arm.  The arm is provided with a knurled thumbscrew stop and another fine adjust tangent knob.  This instrument is complete with both its mirrors, full set of 4 index filters and 3 horizon filters.  On the back are three brass “feet” for support in its box.  And it has a classic sculpted rosewood handle.  The entire presentation fits neatly into the mahogany “keystone box,” typical of early 1800’s manufacture, made using hand-dovetailed construction.  It measures 11 inches tall by 11 ¼ inches wide and 5 ¼ inches thick.  The original brass skeleton key lock is present.  The entire assembly is in outstanding original condition.  It comes complete with all optical and peep sight attachments, along with the mirror box adjusting tool and eyepiece filter.  The lid bears the original label of a Paris chandler as well as the remnants of another vintage label.  Interestingly, some original old observations taken with this octant are penned on the label.  If only it could talk!  This is a beautiful example of a totally complete early 1800’s English octant of rare form and condition. SOLD

John Crichton began his business as an optical, philosophical, mathematical and nautical instrument maker at 32 Fore Street, Limehouse, London in 1831. He moved to 112 Leadenhall Street in 1834 where he remained in business until 1865. Crichton was apprenticed to the well known early sextant maker Benjamin Messer.  Among the items Crichton was known to produce were barometers, compasses, sextants, telescopes, artificial horizons, microscopes and thermometers. (Gloria Clifton, “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,” 1991, The National Maritime Museum, London).  We have offered other fine quality instruments with the “Crichton” signature which sold immediately.



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3.27  GERMAN INCLINOMETER.   Scarce, very high quality all brass ship’s pilothouse inclinometer of German manufacture.  This precision instrument features a white enamel dial prominently marked “CLINOMETER , Oil Damping.” while at the bottom it bears the maker’s name “Hanseatic Instruments Hamburg, Made In Germany.”  It is marked in degrees of ship’s heel from 0 (even keel) to 46 degrees port or starboard in 2 degree increments.  The dial is covered by a perfect convex glass crystal which protects the delicate indicator needle.  This genuine ship’s instrument is in virtually pristine original condition, providing a smooth, accurate reading at any instant in time.  It measures 6 1/8 inches in diameter.  A very nice, functional instrument with a sea service history. Bargain priced!  179



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3.34 AMERICAN WOOD BOWL COMPASS. Genuine, early 2nd quarter of the 19th century American compass made by the noted compass maker "Robert Merrill, New York." as signed around the central pivot. The nicely engraved dry card is divided to 1/2 points of the compass, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified and North marked by an elaborate fleur-de-lis. The central brass pivot has an agate cap. Indicative of its early origin this compass has a decorated East point, a traditional holdover in early compass making since the Crusaders traveled East during the Middle Ages. Even more remarkable, the compass housing is of turned wood! The compass card measures 6 inches in diameter and is housed in its original green-painted bowl with glazed cover slung in gimbals within the hand-dovetailed pine box measuring 10 inches square and 7 inches high. It appears that the box originally had a hinged lid. Overall condition is excellent. The compass is functional and it gimbals properly. A very nice example of a scarce American wooden bowl compass by the most famous American compass maker of the 19th century. Given the wooden bowl construction and the decorated East point on the card, this compass most certainly dates from the beginning of Merrill's career, circa 1835. 995Special Packaging

Robert Merrill was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts on April 19, 1804. He was first listed as a "mathematical instrument" maker in the New York City directory of 1835-1836 with a partner, William Davis. Shortly thereafter, in 1838 Merrill struck out on his own as a compass maker at the address 141 Maiden Lane. In 1865 Merrill took his sons into the business. He died in 1876. (Charles Smart, "The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700," 1962, Regal Art Press, New York.)



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3.50  SHIP’s BINNACLE.  World War I vintage ship’s pilothouse binnacle bearing the embossed brass maker’s plate reading, “KELVIN & WILFRED O. WHITE / NAUTICAL INSTRUMENTS / 90 STATE STREET BOSTON / 38 WATER STREET NEW YORK.”  This handsome, all brass binnacle contains a heavy duty compass with a translucent card supported by a circular float on a jeweled pivot in the center.  The card is marked in single degrees around the periphery and points of the compass down to ¼ point, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  North is marked by a classic fleur-de-lis.  The brass rim of the compass is impressed “Nautica” and is serial numbered “9949,” matching the number on the float and on the gimbal ring.  The bottom of the compass is glazed.  A light on the inside of the binnacle illuminates the compass from within providing a very pleasing effect.  To these ends a modern electric cord with in-line switch is provided for actual 110 use.  This binnacle is complete with its domed hood and sliding doors on the front.  The flanged base is mounted to a thick solid piece of lovely Honduran mahogany which provides a massive presentation.  It stands 14 ½ inches tall and the base is 13 inches in diameter.  The compass measures 7 ¾ inches in diameter.  Outstanding cosmetic condition with a high polish in a lacquered finish.  The compass, originally liquid-filled, now dry, is very lively and accurate.  This is a great guy!   895 Special PackagingBack to Top


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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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