West Sea Company

3. Nautical Instruments

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN



3.79  VERY EARLY AMERICAN BINNACLE.  First quarter 1800's boat binnacle by the esteemed American makers Samuel Thaxter and his son as indicated around the pivot point of the drycard compass "S. THAXTER & SON. Boston."  This very rare navigational instrument has a heavy solid brass housing.  Within is contained the high grade drycard compass marked in points of the compass rose down to ½ points, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  Speaking to its quality it has an agate bearing in the brass pivot and the card is backed by mica.  Two other significant attributes are its decorated east point, and the fact that the innovative compass bowl is brass and not wood, as used up until about 1820.  We were told by the original owners this compass is dated "1818," but we have not opened the body to confirm.  The compass bowl and its gimbal are supported within the very substantial binnacle housing with glazed viewing port.  The top is fitted with a heavy duty suspension ring for portability.  The side bears an auxiliary lamp for night viewing.  It contains a small font with whale oil burners – again, a testament to its early origins.  The compass measures 5 ½ inches in diameter.  The cast brass binnacle base is 9 ½ inches in diameter and the binnacle stands 11 ½ inches tall exclusive of the ring.  Totally complete and in excellent original condition in all respects, showing its great age.  1179

Samuel Thaxter was born in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1769.  In 1792 he began his business as a ships' chandler and nautical instrument maker at 1 Long Wharf, Boston under the name Samuel Thaxter.  In 1796 he moved to 49 State Street.  The firm name became Samuel Thaxter & Son in 1822, the latest possible date of this compass.  (M.V. Brewington, "The Peabody Museum Collection of Navigating Instruments," 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.)

The earliest usage of the compass in the Western world took place during the Crusades from Europe to the Holy Land in the 11th century A.D., and it was during those Crusades east that the Christian cross became symbolic of the "East" point on the compass rose. The tradition of the "decorated East" point remained with mariners until the early 19th century.


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3.80  FIRST of HARPOON LOGs.  Rare, 2nd quarter of the 19th century ship's taffrail log aka "harpoon log" as coined by its inventor, Edward Massey in 1802.  This very early example dates near to the time Masseys' patent expired in 1836.  It is a rare specimen, made of solid brass with a  perfect porcelain dial having 3 registers indicating quarter miles, whole miles and 10's of miles travelled by the ship.  A rotating brass cover protects the dial.  Of note, the original sisal attachment with seizing is still present!  23 inches long overall, inclusive of the line attachment.  The instrument itself measures 18 inches long and 5 inches wide at the fins.  The body is in outstanding original condition in all respects showing good use in a sea environment with nice verdigris but no damage.  The indicators register properly and the fins rotate smoothly.  Bargain priced, as similar logs made 50 years later are selling for this price. 695

"Edward Massey of Newcastle, Staffordshire, in 1802 patented a recording log and sounding machine.  The lot, at least, was tested by the Captain of H.M.S. Donegal in 1805 and found to be an excellent device.  Edward apparently moved to London as a watchmaker at 3 Tysoe Street, Spitalfields about 1826.  An improvement, patent 7113, was made in 1836.  Thereafter all is in confusion as persons named Edward, Thomas senior and junior, E. James and John Edward Massey began to make and sell logs from various address in London, all claiming as late as 1875 to be successors of the original Edward."  (M.V. Brewington, "The Peabody Museum Collection of Navigating Instruments, 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem Massachusetts).

Undoubtedly this log, made identical to Massey's original, is unsigned, and is one of those manufactured to the patent's specifications. The fact that it is unsigned is significant in that it was likely made as a patent infringement!

The harpoon log, invented by Edward Massey in 1802, was a significant improvement over the age old dead reckoning method of determining a ship's speed and distance travelled using a chip log.  In its earliest form a piece of wood was literally thrown over the side and the relative distance from it to the ship was measured.  Hence the term "log."  As later refined, a sailor would throw a triangular-shaped "chip log" off the ship in order to determine the ship's speed.  The line attached to the log was allowed to run out off of a reel for a specific amount of time as measured by a sand glass.  When the sand ran out the line was reeled in.  Then, the length of the line payed out was measured and the time it took were calculated giving the estimated speed of the ship and distance it travelled.

The mechanical taffrail log greatly improved the time/distance calculation because it more accurately recorded the distance traveled by the ship over a longer time, giving a reliable average.



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3.78   1700's QUADRANT.  Large 3rd quarter of the 18 century English navigational instrument known as a "Hadley's Quadrant," later referred to as an "octant."  This imposing device has limbs of rich, almost ebony-like rosewood, with brass furniture and ivory inlays.  The large arc is calibrated in degrees from -4 to 94 in 20 arc minute increments marked by 5's.  The early form "A" type vernier (zero centered) allows a reading to an accuracy of up to one arc minute, equating to about one nautical mile.  The flat brass index arm is the early unbraced form and measures 16 inches in length.  This instrument is complete with both peep sights, 3 mirror boxes and a full set of interchangeable sun filters, all in excellent condition.  Telling of its early age, this quadrant has a back sight feature.  The back sight was obsolete by the 1820's.  It is complete with its rarely-found ivory pencil for recording readings on the trapezoidal ivory note pad on the back.  Remarkably, it comes complete with its stepped pinewood keystone box.  The lid of the box contains the partial label "H. GATTEY, NEW YORK Mathematical, Optical, and Philofophical (sic) Instrument Maker. (from London)"  The box measures 17 inches long by 15 inches wide and 4 inches thick.  Interestingly, many original sighting notations are written on the interior of the box in chalk and in pencil.  Unusually fine condition for an instrument of this age.  Over 240 years old!   There is some wear and minor losses to the box, but overall it is very sound.  The instrument itself is especially nice, totally complete, unmodified original condition.  Circa 1770.   Price Request

Henry Gattey was listed as a Mathematical Instrument maker working at 5 Windsor St., Bishopsgate, London in 1790.   (Gloria Clifton, Dictionary of British Scientific instrument Makers 1550-1851,"1993, Philip Wilson Publishers, London).  Note that this instrument clearly dates before 1790.



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3.77  EARLY TREENWARE COMPASS.   First part of the 1800's navigational compass signed around the pivot "Spencer Browning & Co., Minories, London."  This handsome drycard compass is marked in single points of the compass with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  North is designated by a fancy fleur-de-lis and owing to its early origin, East is decorated with floral flourishes.  The central brass pivot is encircled by floral designs as well.  Telling of its age the compass body is turned out of a single piece of solid wood!  The interior is protected by a glazed cover of very early wavy glass held in with old putty.  Even rarer, this compass is complete with its original press-fit lid!  The card itself measures 4 inches in diameter.  The compass body is 5 1/8 inches in diameter and 3 1/8 inches high.  The nicely-turned lid is 6 inches in diameter and seats firmly (in a certain position) onto the body.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  The compass is still very lively and accurate.  Truly a rare find.  869

Treen is a generic term used to describe small handmade household items and tools that were made from trees.  Bowls, covered containers, snuff boxes, needle boxes and cooking and agricultural tools fall into this category of collecting. While overlooked in the marketplace for many years, 19th century pieces are now being recognized for their rarity and craftsmanship, and are demanding high prices.

The venerable firm of Spencer, Browning & Co. had its beginnings with the famous nautical instrument making firm of Spencer, Browning & Rust formed in 1784 at Wapping, London .  When Mr. Rust passed away in 1840 his name was removed and the firm moved to 111 Minories.

The earliest usage of the compass in the Western world took place during the Crusades from Europe to the Holy Land in the 11th century A.D., and it was during those Crusades east that the Christian cross became symbolic of the "East" point on the compass rose. The tradition of the "decorated East" point remained with mariners until the early 19th century.


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3.76 LOG TIMER.  Scarce, highly sought after authentic mid-19th century ship's sand glass timer used in conjunction with a chip log to determine the ship's speed underway.  This charming example is of 14 seconds duration and has round ends of turned oak with 4 painted pine support columns.  Its simplicity shouts "American," since French and English examples from the era were more ornate and made of exotic woods.  The glass is of one piece, hand-blown construction with a cloth plug in one end.  It contains iron filings, the standard as used in the 1850's.  It measures exactly 3 inches in diameter and 4 ¾ inches tall.  Excellent original condition, fully functional and showing great age but no abuse.  SOLD


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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.  Was 395 NOW 295 



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3.75/5.88  U.S. NAVY INCLINOMETER.  Scarce World War II ship's pilot house clinometer from a U.S. Naval fighting ship.  This "pendulum" heel and list indicator is not nearly as common as the liquid-filled tube and ball type.  The Bakelite body is incised:

"CLINOMETER
U.S. NAVY BU. SHIPS
MK II – MOD. 0
1942
MADE  BY
FEE AND STEMWEDEL. INC.
CHICAGO. ILLINOIS"

It features a blackened solid brass pendulum bob with indicator tip sweeping over a scale divided by single degrees marked by 10's up to 70 degrees port and starboard.  12 inches wide by 7 inches high.  Excellent original condition showing good age but no damage.  The pendulum swings freely and is very accurate.  395


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3.74   BOXED COMPASS by the INVENTOR.   Extra nice 19th century American boxed compass by the inventor of the liquid-filled compass Edward S. Ritchie.  The rim of this high quality compass is marked "E. S. RITCHIE BOSTON," with serial number "29824."   This early liquid compass has a domed float in the center surrounded by an impregnated composition cloth card marked with the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass rose.  The periphery of the card is also marked in 5 degree increments by 10's, 0 – 35.  The North point is designated by a classic fleur-de-lis.  The body of the compass is solid brass, heavily weighted at the bottom to remain upright within its gimbal.  All serial numbers match.  The entire unit is mounted in its original sturdy mahogany box with all brass furniture.  The lid is secured by two brass hooks.  The compass measures 5 ¼ inches in diameter.  The box is 7 ¼ inches square and 6 inches high inclusive of the lid.  Excellent original condition.  The card is very lively and accurate.  The compass and gimbal ring are high luster brass.  The box, in its original finish, shows alligatored surfaces with some disruption to the finish of the lid, but no damage.  An impressive early American boxed compass of unexcelled quality.  429

Edward Samuel Ritchie was born in 1814.  In 1839 he established a hardware business in Boston, Massachusetts with a partner forming the firm of Palmer & Ritchie.  From 1842-1849 he ran a nautical chandlery in New Bedford.  In1850 Ritchie began his scientific instrument making career with Nathan Chamberlain as his partner.  By 1862 his company was known as Edward S. Ritchie & Co. and in 1867 the firm name became E.S. Ritchie & Sons, Boston.  Ritchie is credited with inventing the first practical liquid-filled compass in 1860.  He produced a compass for the famed Civil War iron clad USS MONITOR in 1861 and was awarded his first patent for the invention on September 9, 1862.   He went on to produce thousands of compasses for the U.S. Navy.

In 1886 Ritchie moved from Boston to nearby Brookline, Massachusetts.  Being marked "Boston" indicates this compass pre-dates the move to Brookline.  Of note, the first compass Marked "E.S. Ritchie & Sons" was serial numbered 100336, over 70,000 numbers later than the one offered here.

The elder Ritchie died in 1895, but his sons carried on the business, which still survives today as E. S. Ritchie & Sons, Inc. Pembroke, Massachusetts.

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3.68  MINIATURE COMPASS.  Authentic mid-19th century navigational compass made for the English speaking market.  This diminutive nautical compass has an engraved paper card overlaid on mica with a central brass/agate pivot.  The compass rose is marked in points of the compass down to ½ points, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  North is marked by a classic fleur-de-lis.  It rests in its heavily weighted brass bowl with wavy glass cover housed within the knurled bezel.   The inside of the bowl is marked with a vertical lubber's line.  The compass is complete with its original brass gimbal ring, swinging freely and accurately.  The card itself measures 3 inches in diameter.  The compass bezel is 3 ½ inches across and the gimbal is 4 ½ inches wide.  Excellent original condition throughout noting toning at the north and south points where the internal bar magnet is attached.  This compass, without a box, is ideal for mounting in a project in need of such a component like an empty binnacle or display.  Circa 1870.  149


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3.67  AMERICAN BOXED COMPASS.  Diminutive early 1900's navigational boxed made by the venerable nautical instrument maker and ship chandler "Wilcox Crittendon" as symbolized by the conjoined letters "WC" at the north point.  Further, a complete label in the bottom of the box reads "Wilcox Cittendon Co, Middleton, Conn, U.S.A." dated "1940."  This near miniature compass has a composition card amazingly identified with all of the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass marked down to half points.  A total of 64!  As noted, North is denoted by the maker's mark.  The card revolves on a high quality jeweled pivot.  The body of the compass is lustrous solid bronze, suspended in a bronze gimbal ring mounted in its machine dove-tailed hardwood (maple?) box in original oxblood paint finish.  The compass card measures a mere 2 inches in diameter and the compass body is 3 inches across.  The box measures 4 ¾ inches square by 3 ¼ inches high.  The lid slides freely and is in perfect condition.  This compass is just about as nice as they come, exhibiting all of the bells and whistles.  295


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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 260 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 described by an observed celestial object 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 an acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin, devised an improved altitude measuring device based on the same principle over a year earlier.  The instrument was tested in the Sloop TRUEMAN on a voyage 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 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 it was quickly put into commercial production.  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 African mahogany around 1750, the use of mahogany was quickly implemented, gradually giving way to the exclusive use of ebony and ultimately brass.

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


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3.66  DAVIS QUADRANT.  Very rare, highly sought after authentic late 17th century or very early 18th century mariner's navigational device known as a Davis Quadrant or alternatively "Backstaff."  The backstaff name was given to the instrument which measured the altitude of the sun as projected by its shadow on a scale held by the observer with his back to the sun.  The idea for measuring the sun's altitude using back observations originated with Thomas Harriot.  Many such instruments evolved from the earlier crosstaff, but only the Davis quadrant (1594) remained dominant in the evolution of navigational instruments.  As such, the Davis quadrant is synonymous with the backstaff.   This ancient maritime instrument is made of two hardwoods, one being rare boxwood (prized for its homogeneous grain) for the scales and the other a fruitwood such as pear or apple for the sturdy limbs.  It bears two engraved arc scales.  The large arc is calibrated with the early form diagonal scale reading in degrees left to right 0 - 25 calibrated in 20 arc minute segments, marked by 5's and further divided  to 2 arc minutes on the diagonal scale.  The small arc reads from 0 degrees at the top down to 62 degrees divided by single degrees and marked by 5's.  The back edge of the arc is also calibrated in degrees from 0 - 60 marked by 5's.  The observed altitude comprised the sum of the readings of the two scales.  This instrument is unusually well-decorated with inlaid brass diamonds at the joints and a myriad of stars, fleur-de-lis and herringbone designs.  These all harken back to the time when such an instrument was considered a work of art in addition to being utilitarian.  This example retains its rarely-found horizon vane.  The scales and the vane show evidence of worming that was prevalent in 18th century Europe. This is actually a good sign of its age.  The limbs of this instrument are free of such worming, indicating the construction of two different woods.  There is a large blank ivory maker's plate inlaid near the brace.  25 inches long on the longest limb.  14 ¼ inches wide on the large arc by ¾ inches thick.  The horizon vane is exactly 5 inches wide and 2 inches high.  Definitely a museum piece! Price Request

Captain John Davis invented his version of the backstaff in 1594.  However, Davis was neither the first nor the last to design such an instrument.  Davis was a navigator who was familiar with the instruments of his day such as the mariner's astrolabe, quadrant and backstaff.   Noting the drawbacks of the various instruments to date, he proposed a new instrument which could reduce the inherent shortcomings and increase the ease and accuracy by which a navigator could obtain a solar sighting.  This is such an example.



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3.63 EARLY LOG BY NOTED MAKER.  Mid-1800's patent taffrail log by Thomas Walker as marked on its porcelain dial "WALKER'S  SHIP LOG PATENTED 18th SEPt 1866."  This handsome, very ingenious navigational instrument is heavy solid brass.  The dial contains 3 read-outs which record nautical miles the ship has traveled.  The first indicates quarter miles, the second single miles up to 10, and the third 10's of miles up to 100.  Such a log was an essential component of the dead reckoning navigational method when coupled with time traveled.  The perfect porcelain dial is protected by a rotating brass sleeve.  Above, between the attachment point and the register, is a hole for oiling.  There are 4 tapered blades affixed to the body, each stamped with Walker's trade mark "TW" flanking an anchor.  The complex internal gearing system is in excellent, working condition.  The spinner turns freely and registers properly.  19 ¾ inches long overall.   The body measures 1 ¾ inches in diameter.  It is 5 ¾ inches wide on the blades.  Excellent functional and cosmetic condition throughout with highly polished lacquered surfaces.  Museum quality.  895

Thomas Walker was born in London in 1805.  His mother was the sister of the famous maritime inventor Edward Massey.  Thomas was apprenticed as a clockmaker.  In 1836 he moved to Birmingham and opened a clock shop.  Around 1850 he began making logs and sounders under the Massey patent.  In 1861 Thomas took his son, Thomas F., into the business to form Thomas Walker & Son.  The A2 harpoon log was in improvement on the original Massey design which earned a patent in its own right.  Walker logs were the most dependable and widely used amongst mariners in the second half of the 1800's.  The elder Walker died in 1873 and his son continued the business under the name T. Walker.  Thomas F. died in 1921 but the Walker business carried on into the latter half of the 1900's, perhaps best known for its production of the Cherub and Excelsior taffrail logs.

 An identical instrument, catalog item number M533, plate XLI 249, is in the museum's collection.  It is described as "Mechanical log. English. c. 1866.  Made of brass, marked "Walker's A2 Harpoon ship Log Patented 18thSept. 1866."  Three dials register 100 miles by 10s, ten miles by miles and one mile by quarters.  Length overall 18 ¼ ".  Four-blade propeller.    (M.V. Brewington, "The Peabody Museum Collection of Navigating Instruments," 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts). 



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3.56  INCLINOMETER.  Delightful, near miniature ship’s pilot house clinometer made by the famous British instrument making firm Sestrel as boldly marked on the dial, below which is  “MADE IN ENGLAND.”  The flawless white enamel dial bears a scale indicating the heel port and starboard up to 45 degrees calibrated in single degrees marked by 10’s.  Each end of the scale is embellished with a nautical fleu-de-lis.  A free swinging pendulum indicates the reading.  When not in use the pendulum can be locked on center by means of a knurled thumbscrew at the bottom of the case.  The case is bright solid brass with a heavy cast bezel housing the beveled glass crystal.  The base of the case flares to a flange containing three holes for mounting to the bulkhead.  The flange measures 5 1/8 inches in diameter.  The dial is 3 5/8 inches in diameter and the case is 2 ½ inches deep.  Condition is outstanding, cosmetically perfect and functional in all respects.  A fine nautical instrument.  239


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3.57  EARLY SEXTANT.  Particularly nice mariner’s sextant of English manufacture dating from the second quarter of the 19th century.   The large arc is engraved “Youle 83 Leadenhall St. London.”  This all brass navigational instrument is of early form with an inlaid silver scale calibrated from -5 to 150 degrees subdivided in 15 arc minute increments, marked by 10’s.  The silver vernier inset into the braced index arm allows a reading with an accuracy of    arc seconds.  To aid in taking the reading a pivoting magnified is provided.   The classic “T” frame is cast brass in its original blackened finish (to prevent glare during sun shots).  This instrument retains both index and horizon mirrors and a full set of 4 index filters and 3 horizon filters, all in excellent condition.   The back is equipped with its sculpted mahogany handle and 2 brass “feet” for alignment in the box.  The sight tube holder has an adjustable height feature and accommodates all 5 sight tubes.  These consist of the long telescope with cross hairs, short telescope, night telescope, peep sight and interchangeable tube for varying the power of the long telescope.  The screw-on eyepiece sun filer is present as is the rarely-found adjusting screw driver.  Its presence indicates the care lavished on it by its owner Captain.  All components are housed in the especially lovely keystone mahogany case with fine dovetailed construction.  Amazingly, there are no cracks in the lid and it bears the trade label of the famous American instrument makers and ships’ chandlers “T. S. & J.D. Negus, New York.”  The case has all brass hardware including 2 hook and eye closures, the original lock and the brass escutcheon!  The instrument itself measures 11 inches wide on the large arc and the index arm is 10 inches long.  The box measures 13 inches wide by 11 inches long and is 4 ½ inches thick.  This offering is totally complete and in exceptionally fine, untouched, original condition.  Truly museum quality.  1095

William Youle was listed at 83 Leadenhall Street, London in 1845 as a spectacle maker as well as a  mathematical and philosophical instrument maker.  (Gloria Clifton, “”British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,” 1995, The National Maritime Museum, Philip Wilson Publishers, London.)



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3.55  EARLY AMERICAN BOXED COMPASS WITH PROVENANCE.  Classic 2nd quarter 1800’s American boxed compass by perhaps America’s most famous makers and ship’s chandlers “THAXTER & SON. BOSTON” as boldly engraved on the center of the paper card backed with mica!  The finely engraved compass rose is marked in points and half points with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  The knurled brass cover retains its original old wavy glass held in with plaster of Paris.  The compass is mounted in its solid brass weighted bowl slung in gimbals, mounted in its original mahogany box with copper fasteners.  Remarkably, the box still retains its original sliding lid!  The side is stenciled “DORY COMPASS.”  The compass measures 3 1/8 inches in diameter while the box is 4 7/8 inches square and 3 ¾ inches high.  Truly amazing original condition after nearly 200 years!  A rare find offered at a ridiculously low price in these Coved times.  This is a museum piece which could easily fetch $600 or more.  One of the nicest examples of its type we have handled in over 40 years.  Rare to find a ship's name. A keeper of the first order! 499

A faint pencilled inscription on the underside of the lid reads, "Sloop Rambler, Apr 1890, (Unlegible)." The sloop RAMBLER, essentialy a ketch, was homeported out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. She was 37.6 feet long and displaced 8.26 tons. ("List of Merchant Vessels of the United States," 1891 edition, Treasury Department Bureau of Navigation, page 216).

Samuel Thaxter was born in 1769, and was apprenticed to William Williams.  Thaxter initially started his business at Butler’s Row in 1796, moving to 49 State Street in 1806.  The firm name changed to Samuel Thaxter & Son in 1826 located at 125 State Street, Boston.  (M.V. Brewington, “The Peabody Museum collection of Navigating Instruments,” 1963, Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts).


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3.49  VERY RARE SEXTANT.  Truly the Rolls Royce of navigational instruments!  This double frame (also known as a “pillar frame”) sextant was made by “Henry Hughes & Son Ltd 59 Fenchurch St London” as engraved on the large arc.  This type of sextant was invented by the renowned English instrument maker Edward Troughton in 1788.  So functional and so precise was its construction that the form lasted well over a century!  This amazing example is all brass meticulously fashioned with over 250 tiny parts, each individually hand-made in the old school tradition.  All of the parts bear the hidden production number “40” and marks to align the one-of-a-kind hand-made fittings.  Above the signature is the inscription “Platina & Gold 4927” indicating the large scale is engraved on platinum and the vernier scale is solid gold!  The arc is calibrated in single degrees divided by 10 arc minutes from -5 – 160 effectively making this a “quintant.”  The magnificent solid gold vernier scale is marked from 0 – 10 divided to single arc seconds.*  To accomplish such a reading a sophisticated pivoting vernier magnifier with glass light diffuser is provided above the scale.  This is the most complicated device of its type we have ever seen, and we have seen literally hundreds.  The high luster solid brass frame is a piece of jewelry.  It mounts the index arm with thumbscrew stop and endless tangent fine adjustment.  The apex has the index mirror reflecting into the split horizon mirror.  This instrument is complete with its full complement of 4 folding index filters and 3 horizon filters.  The height adjustable sighting tube holder operates smoothly by means of a large knurled thumbscrew on the reverse.  The reverse also has a sculpted lignum vitae handle and 3 brass “feet” for mounting in it box.  The handle is fitted with a brass receptacle which would have allowed the sextant to be mounted on a stanchion for taking hydrographic sightings.  The sextant is complete in its original hand-dovetailed mahogany box of exceptional size.  It contains 4 sighting tubes, a screw-on eyepiece filer and a unique revolving eyepiece filer with 6 interchangeable settings.  There is also a mirror box adjusting wrench.  In the lid is the Certificate of Examination from the National Physical laboratory indicating “Class A” with matching “No. 4920” dated “1903.”  The box has all brass furniture with two hefty closure hooks, a substantial folding brass handle and a brass label stamped “S NO. 4920.” The sextant measures 11 ½ inches on the large are and the index arc is 10 ¼ inches long.  The box is 12 by 13 inches and 5 ½ inches thick.  This is perhaps the finest instrument of its type we have had the pleasure of offering in our 40 years –  navigational instruments being our specialty. Price Request


* One minute of arc along the equator equals one nautical mile (or 1.151 statute miles).  An arc second, or one sixtieth of a minute, equals 98 feet.  It is unlikely that a navigator could manually take such a precise sighting.  But it is altogether possible that a sighting with margin of error of ¼ mile could be made.

One of the greatest concerns of the nautical instrument makers throughout history has been accuracy.  Because of the severe conditions and weather extremes encountered at sea, a poorly constructed instrument was apt to shrink, expand, warp, or crack rendering a false, potentially fatal reading.  Numerous materials and innovations were tried in an attempt to ensure rigidity and stability of octants and sextants.  To address the problem, perhaps the most famous of these innovations was the pillar frame sextant patented by Edward Troughton in 1788.  The frame was constructed of two parallel strips of sheet brass joined together by machined pillars secured with screws, much like the trusses incorporated in the newly-constructed iron bridges of the time.  This "double frame" sextant was produced by a few top makers using slight modifications for more than one hundred years thereafter.  A variation of the double frame was the "bridge frame" sextant made by Ramsden and a few other makers late in the 18th century. Examples of both forms of these early sextants are quite scarce and highly sought after by collectors.

Provenance.

An item's history is always bears on its relevant value.  In that regard this instrument has a very interesting past.

The Russo-Japanese War, 1904 – 1905, was fought between Imperial Russia and the Empire of Japan over their colonial ambitions in Manchuria and Korea.   Russia had long sought a warm water port on the Pacific Ocean.   Since the end of the first Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Japan feared Russian encroachment on its plans to create a sphere of influence in Korea and Manchuria.  Seeing Russia as a rival, Japan offered to recognize Russian dominance in Manchuria in exchange for recognition of its dominance in Korea.  But Russia refused, choosing to go to war after negotiations broke down in 1904.  The Japanese Navy preemptively started the war with a surprise attack on the Russian Fleet in Port Arthur, China.

The war ended in 1905 with Japan’s total victory affirmed by the Treaty of Portsmouth mediated by President Theodore Roosevelt.   The decisive Japanese outcome resulted in a reassessment of Japan's position on the world stage.  It was the first major defeat of a European power by an Asian country.  It is obvious from the dating of this instrument that it was purchased for use in that war.  The original certificate of examination and correction, in Japanese, by the Tamaya company is included.

In 1901, during Japan’s Meiji period (1868 – 1912) the venerable Tamaya Megane-ten optical business was incorporated and renamed Tamaya Shoten.  Tamaya was the first Japanese company to import surveying equipment from abroad and sell it in Japan.  It was also the first company to produce surveying equipment.  By the end of the Meiji era, Tamaya had developed its own transit and level.  During the Taisho era (1912 – 1926), Tamaya began producing surveying equipment made in Japan, relying less on finished products imported from abroad.  It was making levels and theodolites, and by 1922 it made the first Japanese sextant.

Then of equal significance is the fact that this instrument was used in World War II by the Japanese Imperial Navy fighting the United States.  The front of the box bears testament to this fact “From TOKYO, JAPAN +” indicating it was shipped back to the United States as a war prize by veteran Floyd Colvin.


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3.45  OCTANT.   Genuine 19th century octant frame constructed entirely of rare solid ebony.  This frame is complete with all of its wooden parts and a brass insert at the apex for the pivoting index arm.  The reverse side has a receptacle for a trapezoidal inlay of ivory for the navigator to record his observations.  This type of feature is commensurate with earlier instruments.  The frame measures 11 inches tall and 9 ½ inches wide on the large arc.  Circa 1850 or earlier.   A perfect project for the do it your selfer on a minimal budget.   29



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3.42    NAVIGATOR’s RULES.   A very nice example of late 19th century rolling parallel rules made by the well-known English maker “J.A. Nicholl & Co.” as impressed in the top of the rule.  This substantial, highly accurate navigational instrument is made of brass with a boxwood body.  It consists of a heavy brass axel connected to knurled rollers on each end.  These move freely allowing the rules to run over the face of a chart parallel to the course line.  To assist the navigator in plotting, knurled brass knobs are provided on each end of the rules.  This precision device is housed in its high quality mahogany box with machine dovetailing and interior felt supports.  Two brass hook and eye closures insure the contents are secure.  The rules measure 18 inches long by 2 ½ inches wide.  Unlike trapezoidal parallel rulers, the extent of this ruler’s travel is endless.  The box measures 19 inches long by 3 ¼ inches wide and 1 7/8 inches thick.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  249

J. A. Nicholl worked from 1848-1901+.  In 1865 his address was 42 Stanhope Street, London and from 1885 onward it was 153 High Holborn, London WC.  He was known to have made and sold protractors.  (Gloria Clifton, “Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851,”



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3.38   RARE SURVEYING SEXTANT.  Most important, very high quality marine navigational sextant which also served as an astronomical and hydrographic survey instrument.  This magnificent all brass precision instrument is signed on the large arc “Cary, London 2842 Gold & Platina.”  The large arc is calibrated in single degrees from -5 to 150 degrees divided by 10 arc minutes, effectively making it a quintant.  The scale is beautifully engraved on solid gold overridden by a platinum vernier scale.  The division of the vernier from 0 -10 allows for a reading to an accuracy of 10 arc seconds.  Interestingly the sheet brass frame is very similar to the one invented by Edward Troughton in the 1780’s, in that it is secured to a second frame by screws for rigidity and accuracy. This amazing instrument has many unusual cutting edge features.  The index arm stop and the fine adjust tangent screw are spring loaded, allowing a much smoother reading.  To take the reading there is a small adjustable magnifier built into the index arm, as well as a small frosted glass window mounted just above the magnifier to provide maximum lighting for the reading.  Above the magnifier, mounted to the index arm, is a bubble level which can be locked into place or allowed to swing free indicating the plane of the earth, also known as an artificial horizon.  This sextant is equipped with its full set of 4 colored glass index filers and 3 horizon filters for viewing in different atmospheric conditions.  Both the index and horizon mirrors are in place and functional.  Attesting to Cary’s attention to minute detail, both are equipped with pin-adjusted screws which are covered by threaded knurled caps!  This sextant has an adjustable height eyepiece operated  by a knurled knob on the reverse.  The eyepiece supports a long telescopic sighting tube which fits nicely into the holder with a bayonet twist.  The back side of the sextant frame has 3 brass “feet” and a rosewood handle reinforced with brass.  But there its commonality with other fine sextants is surpassed.  It is mounted, through its handle to an exceptionally heavy and well-machined tripodal stand.  The stand is signed “G. LEE & SON, THE HARD, PORTSMOUTH.”  It is equipped with 3 knurled leveling screws on a folding base mounted with a support much like a library telescope.  At the top is a revolving platform with a tangent locking screw and fine adjust stop.  These are for precisely orientating the instrument to the heavens.  The tilt of the sextant fore and aft is accomplished by 2 pivoting levers attached to the stand.  Each is attached to a brass-encased lead counterweight.   The action is flawless!  The sextant itself measures 10 ¾ inches wide on the large arc and 10 ½ inches on the index arm.  It stands 18 inches high and 10 ¼ inches wide on the base.  Circa 1820.  Absolutely outstanding condition.   As rare as it gets.  Museum quality.  Price Request

The Cary name was highly revered in the late 18th and early 19th century scientific community in England.  William Cary began business as an optician and nautical instrument maker on the Strand, London in 1789.  He partnered with John Cary (I) in 1791.  John Cary (II) was William’s nephew who partnered with George Cary to form the famous globe making firm. William died in 1825.

George Lee was a maker in the early 19th century who enjoyed a Royal appointment as maker to the Crown.



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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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3.30  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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3.18  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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3.16/19.87 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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3.03 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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3.99 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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3.92  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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