West Sea Company

3. Nautical Instruments

Prices in U.S. Dollars are in GREEN



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

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


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



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3.12  RARE MARINER’s BACKSTAFF.   An extraordinary example of very early navigation in the form of a backstaff, also known as a Davis quadrant.  This fine navigational instrument was made by noted London maker Charles Digby as stamped on the inlaid boxwood maker’s label, “Made by Charles Digby near the Hermitage Stairs LONDON *.”  It is made in the traditional way with 2 long limbs and 2 short limbs of ebony.  The tightly mortised joints terminate with pyramidal shapes held with brass pins.  There are the two scales made of boxwood.  The large arc is of classic form with a hook-shaped handle at the bottom.  The scale is of the earliest type reading from 0 to 25 degrees subdivided by 10 arc minutes.  The upper part of the scale is also marked from 90 to 65 degrees in 5 degree segments.  The diagonal divisions 2 minutes wide allow for a reading of .2 minutes or 12 arc seconds.  The scale is decoratively-embellished with stars and rose blossoms on each end.  The small arc reads from 65 to 0 degrees divided by single degrees.  The upper part of the scale reads 60 to 0 in 10 degree segments.  It too is decorated with roses.  On the bottom edge of the arc are divisions from 0 to 60 degrees in 5 degree increments starting at the top.  These coincide with the divisions on the scale.  This instrument originally had three vanes.  The sight vane would have slid up and down the large arc.  The shadow vane would have ridden on the small arc and cast its sun shadow on the slit in the horizon vane, which was permanently attached to the longest limb.  In use, the navigator would turn his back to the sun and look at the horizon.  Hence the term “back” staff.   He aligned the horizon in the slit while at the same time casting the sun’s shadow on the slit.  Then he would adjust the sight vane so its view was aligned with the two other vanes.  The sum of the positions of the two vanes on the arcs was the sun’s altitude, useful in determining the latitude at local apparent noon.  This instrument is in a wonderful state of original preservation with a deep, rich age patina.  There is one very minor age check near “0” on the large arc.  This is not damage, but a sign of age.  The instrument is very sound and tight.  25 ¼ inches long on the longest limb.  The large arc is slightly over 14 inches wide.  The small arc is 8 ¼ inches.  The instrument is 5/8 inches thick.  The fact that Digby’s address does not contain a street number, rather a referral to a prominent location, indicates it is very early.  Circa 1735.  Museum qualityPrice Request

The backstaff could be used to measure the altitude of the sun or the moon.  It was invented by the English navigator Captain John Davis who described it in his book “Seaman's Secrets” in 1594.  Up to that time such measurements had to be taken by a cross staff which required the observer to look directly at the sun with obvious ill effects.  An alternative method was the mariner’s astrolabe. But it only provided an accuracy to within a degree – or 60 nautical miles, explaining why so many shipwrecks occurred in the early days of sail.



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



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3.10  WORLD WAR II CLINOMETER.   Scarce “ball type” inclinometer of the type that was found on the aft bulkhead of a wheel house of a World War II U.S. Maritime Commission merchant such as a Liberty or Victory ship.  This precise navigational instrument is calibrated in single degrees of heel up to 70, port and starboard, marked by 10’s.  The black Bakelite backing is marked:


CLINOMETER
U.S. MARITIME COMMISSION
MK IV
1944
JOHN L. CHANEY INSTR. CO.
LAKE GENEVA, WISC., U.S.A.
PATENT DESIGN

It consists of a curved glass tube filled with liquid in which a small black ball is free to act as a plum bob as the ship literally rolls around it.  The liquid damps the movement of the ball so that it remains accurate at all times.  12 3/8 inches wide by 6 ¼ inches high.  The mechanism functions perfectly and is in an outstanding state of preservation.  389



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3.09  FINE ENGLISH SEXTANT.   High quality navigator’s sextant made by the prestigious instrument making firm of “Heath & Co., New Eltham, London” as noted on the certification label in the lid and again embossed on the maker’s plaque just below the vernier, “HEZZANITH.”  This sextant is made entirely of high grade brass with a large inlaid silver arc and vernier.  The arc is calibrated from -7 to 150 degrees effectively making it a “quintant.”  The scale is precisely divided in single degrees down to 10 arc minutes marked by 5’s.  The vernier is left-divided from 0 to 10 arc minutes divided down to 10 arc seconds.  Interestingly this instrument represents a transitional form of earlier vernier reading sextants dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries which evolved to this form by the 1930’s.  This innovative form has Heath’s “Endless Tangent Screw Automatic Clamp - Patent” as touted on the maker’s plaque.  It allowed the navigator to pinch the stop and then use the patented Bakelite tangent screw to fine tune his observation.  This was the final precursor to the micrometer readout used in all such instruments of the modern era.  To aid in taking the reading a pivoting magnifier is provided.  This sextant has the classic “3 Circle” frame.  It is totally complete with both mirror boxes, 4 index filters and 3 horizon filters.  The back has a large mahogany handle for holding and 2 large “feet” for positioning in the box.  The entire instrument is in its original black crinkle finish paint which is in perfect condition.  It is complete in its original solid mahogany box with “Hezzanith Instrument Works” Certificate of Examination signed and dated 9th Feb. 1944.  The box is complete with both the telescope and peep tube eye pieces and screw-on eye piece sun filter.  There are two brass hook closures and a folding brass handle for carrying.  The original lock and striker plate are in place.   The machine dove-tailed box is in its original lovely finish.  As typical, the solid wood (pre-plywood) lid and bottom of the box both have noticeable age cracks.  These noted, the entire presentation is in virtually perfect condition.  The instrument measures 9 1/8 inches tall and 9 ¼ inches wide on the large arc.  The box is 11 by 10 3/8 inches and is 5 ½ inches thick.  As clean as they come!  WAS 895  NOW! 495



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3.06 STADIMETER.  Highest quality World War II hand-held range finder.  This compact yet very accurate American instrument was made by the Schick Company of Stamford, Connecticut circa 1943.  It consists of a solid brass lattice frame in its original blackened finish.  This instrument, which looks much like a navigator’s sextant, also works on a double reflection principle – the lesson we learned in geometry about finding the length of the third side of a triangle when two are known.  This is “triangulation.”  Having the height of the object sighted (such as the ship’s mast top above the waterline) preset on the scale, the observer merges the reflected image to align with the actual line of sight.  Those two distances (sides of the triangle) are equal and can be read as the distance in yards from the observer in thousands of yards as calibrated on the revolving drum.  A built-in magnifier aids in taking the reading.  The large arc is calibrated in feet from 50 - 200 and the resulting reading is the distance in yards is from 200 – 10,000 with diminishing accuracy.  The back has a sculpted mahogany handle for holding and three large brass “feet” for positioning in its machine dove-tailed hardwood box.  The box has all brass furniture, a telescope, adjusting wrench and 2 spare mirrors. There is a “shoe” and rotating metal lever for securing the stadimeter in its box.  On the exterior, a folding metal handle is provided for carrying and two rotating brass closures for securing the box closed.  This instrument is in very fine cosmetic and functional condition, noting the maker’s labels have been removed.  It measures 9 inches tall and 9 inches wide.  The box, which is in equally excellent condition, is 11 ½ inches square by 5 inches thick. SOLD 



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3.05  BOXED COMPASS.   Diminutive 19th century American dory compass with the perfect compass rose signed “– C.D. DURKEE & CO – New York” around the center brass pivot.  This early style drycard compass is marked in points, down to half points, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified.  North is marked by a classic fleur-de-lis.  The weighted solid brass bowl retains its old wavy glass cover and is slung in gimbals.  It is mounted in its original hardwood box with sliding cover.  The compass itself is 3 ¼ inches in diameter and the box  measures 5 inches square by 3 ¾ inches high.  Outstanding original condition in all respects.  The compass is very lively and accurate.  As good as they come.  349 SOLD

In 1879 Brooklyn-born Charles Doremus Durkee (1862-1930) founded his ship's chandlery business in lower Manhattan as C.D. Durkee & Co., making and selling nautical instruments and equipment.   The company incorporated in 1894, then located at 2 South Street, Staten Island.  After Durkee's death his brothers carried on the company well into the middle of the century.  This compass dates to very early in Durkee’s tenure, circa 1880.



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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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3.11 AMERICAN SEXTANT SET. Ultimately rare, perhaps one-of-a kind, cased 19th century double sextant set made by the prestigious American scientific instrument company “Keuffel and Esser, New York” as engraved on the index arms and as indicated on their respective labels. This matched set features not one but TWO sextants contained within their single dovetailed mahogany box. Each sextant is made of cast bronze with classic lattice frame design in their original factory oxidized finish. The index arms are signed “Keuffel & Esser Co., New York” and are serial numbered “6101” and 6112” respectively. The large arcs are inlaid with silver scales reading from -5 degrees through 165 degrees, effectively making them “quintants.” The scales are subdivided in 20 arc minutes, with the vernier scale allowing an accurate reading down to 30 arc seconds. To aid in the reading each vernier is equipped with a light diffuser on the index arm and a pivoting magnifier. The index arm features a knurled thumbscrew stop and the double tangent screw fine adjust feature as introduced by the French circa 1880. Both instruments are complete with their full set of 4 index filters, 3 horizon filters and index and horizon mirrors. Both have their adjustable height sight tube holders designed to accommodate one of three (total six) sighting accessories. These include a peep tube, short telescope and long telescope with cross hairs. The backs of these sextants retain their original sculpted mahogany handles and long brass “feet.” These fine instruments are housed in their original machine dove-tailed box with brass furniture, functional skeleton lock and key, folding brass handle, unusual locking box closures and inlaid “shield” escutcheon in the lid. They are absolutely complete with all attachments including spare mirrors, two screwdrivers, two adjusting wrenches and 4 telescope tube eyepiece filters. Speaking to the quality of this set, the attachment compartments are even lined in protective green felt! The lid of the box bears the faux ivory maker’s label reading “KEUFFEL & ESSER CO. NEW YORK , St. Louis. Chicago. San Francisco.” But what’s more, each of the sextants has matching serial numbered “KEUFFEL & ESSER Co.” labels proclaiming its manufactory, locations with company logo and drawing of “Factories, Hoboken, N.J.” Each sextant has a 7 ½ inch index arm and measures 9 inches wide on the arc. The box measures 16 ½ inches long, 9 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches thick. The entire presentation is in unbelievably fine state of preservation being in near mint, factory original condition in every respect! Circa 1900. Truly a rare find! 4900


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3.02 GIMBALED POCKET COMPASS. Surely very rare 19th century mariner’s pocket compass consisting of a nickeled brass bowl housing a classic directional compass. This pocket miniature has a mother-of-pearl compass card with the cardinal and sub-cardinal points identified and marked down to single points. The card is marked in the distinctive black and white hemispheres delineated by Porter’s patent. But what is particularly unique is the fact that this is indeed a maritime compass. Pulling the inner ring from the housing allows the compass to actually gimbal as the ship would roll. Further, pressing the compass back into its housing cages (stops) the compass from moving. This is accomplished by pins, cleverly protruding from the bottom of the compass bowl, which engage the housing. The housing has a pivoting suspension loop at the top, much like a traveler’s barometer or pocket watch of the period. Circa 1880. 2 1/8 inches in diameter and 3 1/8 inches high overall including the loop. Perfect original condition. The first of its kind we have seen in our 38 years in the nautical antiques business, made especially significant with Porter’s patent card. 695



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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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3.83  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 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.  SOLD

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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3.88  GERMAN SEXTANT.   Very unusual and very innovative, turn-of-the-last century mariner’s sextant made by the noted instrument maker “Carl Bamberg, Berlin, D.R.G.M. No. 631761/3” as engraved on the index arm.  Obviously Bamberg did not produce over 600,000 sextants!   But the /3 may be a clue that this instrument was produced in 1903, or was the third of its kind ever made.  It certainly is unique, having many features not seen on instruments made in other countries at that time.  Its simple brass block lattice frame supports a very narrow silver scale calibrated in degrees from 0-150 (effectively making it a quintant), subdivided to 20 arc minutes and marked by 10’s.  The reading is made by means of a pivoting vernier magnifier with light diffuser over the left reading 0-20 vernier scale with an accuracy of one arc minute.  The index arm stop is an unconventional knurled knob located parallel to the scale.  The fine adjust tangent screw is spring-loaded.  The index and horizon mirrors are unique.  The horizon mirror does not have a split image as in most sextants.  That aspect is embodied in the very different prismatic sighting scope which magnifies.  The scope has a calibrated reticule which provides a view of the mirror as well as the horizon.  Rather than having the typical filter array of index and horizon mirrors, this sextant has only two pivoting filters mounted directly on the objective!  This simple but elegant system is a vast departure from almost every other sextant produced during that era.  The back of the instrument has 3 extremely large “feet” to accommodate the equally large sculpted hardwood handle.  The instrument measures 10 ½ inches wide on the large arc and the overall height 9 ¾ inches.  With its huge feet it is an amazing 6 ¾ inches thick overall.  Condition is virtually perfect.  We have not encountered a stranger, yet more impeccable example in our 35+ years.  A real rarity!   895



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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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3.41  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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3.81  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.  
Price Request 


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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3.60  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”
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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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3.34 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 very early beginnings of Merrill's career, circa 1835.  995 Special 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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