West Sea Company

Hall of Fame

OUTSTANDING NAUTICAL ANTIQUES AND ART SOLD FROM THIS WEBSITE


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BUILDER'S HALF HULL. Most impressive original 4th quarter 19th century British dockyard builder's model of a 4 masted barque identified as the "ORANASIA" on the maker's label. This stately half block model is constructed in the traditional manner using 8 pine laminations or "lifts" in natural finish above the waterline with additional lifts in black from the waterline to the decks. It features raised poop and foc'sle decks, with the poop having a round tumblehome. The main deck and foc'sle are skirted by fine wooden deck combing. Aft, the lovely cast silver helm wheel is attached to the steering gear box, which is supported on gracefully turned ivory columns. A deck skylight with seating and a deck house with hatch are also represented. The forwardmost portion of the poop deck is graced by a wooden rail supported on turned ivory balusters. The outboard rails are of silver plated brass, capped by a mahogany rail. This large 4-masted ship exhibits 4 representative stubbed masts and 2 big deck houses on the main deck. The foc'sle is finished in a similar manner to the poop, with ivory, wood, and brass railings. It also sports a carved boxwood capstan and an ivory stanchion. The prow is adorned with a finely carved boxwood figurehead of a maiden with her right arm across her bosom. Behind her extends an ornate gold trailboard with traditional Acanthus scrolls. The barque is identified on the maker's plaque under thick beveled glass: "'ORANASIA' Register Dimensions 305.0 x 44.0 x 24.9. RUSSELL & CO. SHIPBUILDER, Port - Glasgow & Greenock." The long, graceful hull is mounted to its original lovely backboard finished in teak below the waterline and birdseye maple above, for a stunning effect. The molded edges of the backboard are finished in black and are complete with 2 stout brass hangers. 89 1/2 inches long by 15 inches high and 6 inches deep. Surprisingly fine original condition for an uncased model of this type well over 100 years old! There are of course a few minor dents and dings along its hull, consistent with its age and long history. A simply magnificent BIG model!

The 4-masted steel barque ORANASIA was built by Russel & Co. shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland and launched on the Clyde River in June 1892. She was 305 feet long with a breadth of 44 feet and a mean draft of 27 feet. She was registered at 2706 gross tons. ORANASIA was owned and operated by J & W Goffey Company, primarily in the immigrant trade to America until 1907 when she was sold to German interests A. G. Alster of Hamburg with a name change to ALSTERFEE. Interestingly her named changed 3 more times in her 33 years of service, those being LUCY VINNEN in 1912, MAYOTTE in 1921 and HEDWIGH HEMSOTH in 1923. She was finally scrapped in England in 1925.

 

 

FIGUREHEAD
BOW
PLAQUE
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BOXED COMPASS. Extremely rare, mid-19th century American wet card boxed compass by the inventor, "Ritchie, Boston" as hand-painted on the float. This revolutionary compass is the very early "doughnut" type with ring card and crossing tubular float supported on a center pivot. One end of the float is marked with a large "S" denoting South and the other is marked by a pointed fleur-de-lis representing North. The remainder of the compass ring is marked down to 1/2 points, with the cardinal and intercardinal points identified. Lubber lines are painted on the side walls of the compass body at 90 degree intervals. The compass is of unusually heavy construction with a cast brass bowl and a thick brass bezel that is threaded on rather than secured by screws like most compasses! It measures just under 5 inches in diameter and is slung in a heavy brass gimbal housed within its original hand-dovetailed oak box, complete with sliding lid. The box measures 7 1/4 inches square and 6 1/2 inches high. Exceptionally well preserved condition and fully functional. Of the scores of early Ritchie compasses we have handled in 30 years, all were serial numbered and bore patent dates. The earliest we encountered was "1866" and bore the firm name "E.S. Ritchie and Sons" (formed 1867). The fact that this compass is marked only with only the name "Ritchie" indicates that it is certainly one of his earliest and pre-dates his patent. A museum-quality relic with particular significance in American maritime history!

 
CARD


SCRIMSHAW TOOTH. First half of the 19th century scrimshaw on a whale's tooth depicting a lovely lady in formal dress on one side and a gentleman in formal attire on the reverse. The workmanship on this tooth, particularly of the lady, is so fine as to defy belief! The engraving is done in two forms -- with extremely fine parallel lines and with stippling akin to lithography. The result is an image of virtually photographic quality! On the reverse, the image of the gentleman, while obviously done by the same expert hand, is not as fine as the lady. The tooth measures 6 inches long and has its original old polish and mellow age patina. Expected minor age cracks. Unusual too, but not unique, is the fact that both images are "upside down."

The scrimshaw engraving on this whale's tooth was unquestionably done by a professional, master engraver. This work is without a doubt the finest we have ever seen, easily rivaling that of the famous Bank note Engraver or N.S. Finney!

GENTLEMAN
DETAIL


IMPORTANT TELESCOPE. Absolutely superb first half of the 19th century research grade table tripod telescope by the founder of the famous optical firm "Ross, London." This magnificent astronomical AND terrestrial telescope is of the refracting type with Dollond's 2 piece achromatic objective lens measuring 2 3/4 inches in diameter. The elegant long brass main tube is boldly hand-engraved along the side "A. ROSS, LONDON." This amazing instrument has many features and complexities found only in the very best telescopes of its day. These include a very fine focusing rack and pinion system, 4 element internal lens system, massive tripod with locking legs, support strut with rack and pinion and remote training gear with wooden "wand." The latter 2 features are especially worthy of note. The rack and pinion strut allows for very minute adjustments to the telescope's altitude, while a thumb screw set allows for coarser adjustment. A worm gear engaging the side of the tripod allows the entire telescope to be finely trained (rotated) by means of the wooden wand with built-in universal joint. This provides the observer with the ability to gradually train the telescope -- a crucial requirement to properly track a celestial object while compensating for the earth's rotation. As an added feature of stability, the tripod itself is incredibly massive and sure footed, providing an excellent platform for all observations. This telescope is complete with its original well constructed dove-tailed mahogany box with heavy brass carrying handles, lock, and brass fittings. There is one age crack in the lid of the box which is otherwise very sound and in typically better than average condition. It is complete with all six eye piece attachments, each with an interchangeable screw-on filter! In addition it retains its original press-on objective lens cover with very unique pivoting aperture. The state-of-the-art optics produce a highly magnified, sharp image of excellent quality. This telescope is completely original and in outstanding condition having just been professionally overhauled by us. We have completely disassembled it, meticulously hand cleaned each component, then carefully reassembled it as original. There is no evidence of abuse, restoration (other than cleaning), modification or replacements. All optics are original. The telescope measures approximately 46 inches long at infinity, and stands approximately 36 inches high as shown. The box measures 37 1/2 inches long by 10 inches wide. A truly remarkable, world class example. Circa 1840.

    The long venerated Ross firm produced fine optics for over a century and was still producing state-of-the-art telescopes for the Royal Navy as late as World War II. The firm's namesake, Andrew Ross was born in 1798, was apprenticed to John Corless in 1813 and began his own manufactory in 1830. Perhaps most noted as a microscope maker, Ross was a founding member of the Microscopial Society of London. His quality output included a wide range of instruments such as barometers, lenses, opera glasses, microscopes, pressure gauges, spectacles and telescopes. (Gloria Clifton "Dictionary of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851.")

IN BOX
SIGNATURE


IMPORTANT CASED SEXTANT. Simply exquisite mid-19th century "midshipman's sextant" made by the renown English makers, "Cary, London" as engraved in script on the main arc. This diminutive navigational instrument features a silver arc divided from 0 - 160 degrees, technically making it a "quintant." The scale is finely sub-divided in 10 arc minute increments, with the silver index arm vernier allowing a reading down to 20 arc seconds! Observing the fine measurement is afforded by the built-in vernier magnifier fitted with a delicate folding light diffuser. The frame of this instrument is of cast rose bronze while the braced index arm is of brass. The instrument is complete with all 4 folding index filters, 3 horizon filters, both adjustable mirror assemblies, and height adjustable sight tube holder. The back of the frame retains the original supporting "feet" and rosewood handle fitted with an ivory receptacle. Such a receptacle allowed the instrument to be mounted to a stand for hydrographic survey use. It is contained within its form fitting hand-dovetailed African mahogany box of unusually small size. Yet it contains an amazing array of attachments! These include the long and short telescopes, the non-optical sighting tube, screw-on eye piece filter and mirror box wrench. Of particular note are two rarely-found devices. One is the scarce folding tortoise shell magnifying glass. The other is a unique screw-on filter with 4 rotating positions affording various filter options for haze, glare, etc! This sextant is of near miniature size measuring only 8 inches overall on the index arm and 9 inches wide on the arc. It has been professionally overhauled and is in absolutely magnificent, presentation condition. The box, with inlaid folding handle, lock, and hook and eyes closures, measures 8 inches square by 4 1/2 inches. A sweeter instrument is not to be found!

The Cary family were legendary in the British scientific instrument trade, beginning with John Cary (I) in 1782 who started his career as an engraver and globe maker on Fleet Street. In the late 1700's he partnered with his brother, William, an apprentice of the famed Jesse Ramsden. They went on to produce all manner of the finest quality scientific and navigational instruments. The firm continued under the Cary name at their Strand, London address until 1890.

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IN BOX
SIGNATURE
BOX
BOX INTERIOR


EARLIEST NAVY DIVING HELMET. Incredibly rare, possibly the only one of its kind still in existence, 5 bolt deep sea diving helmet manufactured by "A. J. Morse & Son (Inc.) Boston, Mass. U.S.A.; United States Navy Diving Helmet Mark I" as indicated on the two breastplate tags. This copper and brass 4-light hard hat with 12 bolt breastplate configuration, has the very rare aspect of 5 pivoting bolts to secure the bonnet to the breastplate. It is our belief that the Navy's installation of a post-factory communication phone box to the right of the diver's face plate is the feature that actually makes this helmet the "Mark I." This helmet is in a remarkable state of original preservation with a truly fabulous statuary bronze age patina. The neck ring numbers match as do three of the four brales. The rear brales are additionally stamped "A. J. Morse & Son Boston." Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the rarest helmets ever offered for sale!

Literature: Leon Lyons, "Helmets of the Deep," 1988, Leon Lyons, Hollywood, Florida. Pages 78-79 show a similar 5 bolt helmet, serial number 1166, dating the top part of the helmet to circa 1900, and the breastplate to 1910. Note is made that the helmet was used by the U.S. Navy. However no evidence of that fact is given.

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REAR
RIGHT
INTERIOR
TAGS


YACHTING TROPHYParticulary handsome late 19th century first place American yacht racing trophy. This solid sterling silver loving cup is beautifully hand-engraved with the presentation reading, "ATLANTIC YACHT CLUB Decoration Day Regatta May 30th 1896 SCHOONERS. CLASS 2. Won By EMERALD." The bottom of the cup is marked "Whiting MF'G Co. New-York STERLING 3377 1 1/4 Pint 925/1000 Fine." This handsome presentation with ornate double handles measures 4 1/4 inches high, 4 inches in diameter, 7 inches wide overall and weighs 10 1/2 ounces. It is in absolutely perfect original condition!

    The steel hull 2-masted schooner EMERALD, signal letters KLRB, was built by S.L. Moore & Sons Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1893. She had a length of 117 feet overall, a 21.7 foot beam, a 13 foot draft, and was registered as displacing 104 tons. Owned by famous businessman W.E. Iselin, she was homeported in New York and was a member of the prestigious New York Yacht Club. The Iselin name was very well known in American yachting circles in the late 19th century. C. Oliver Islein was part owner and manager of the winning yacht DEFENDER in the America's Cup race of 1895. As late as 1923 a history of the Shelter Island Yacht Club of New York, indicates that "pleasure yachts including W. E. Iselin's Enchantress, Harold Vanderbilt's schooner Vagrant, J. B. Ford's sloop Varuna were among the fine yachts being readied for summer by the Brigham boatyard in Greenport, New York."

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INSIDE
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YACHT NAME BOARD. Rare, carved 19th century nameboard from the American yacht "QUINNAT." This scarce yacht relic is done in the traditional manner with the the vessel name deeply incised in block letters with seriphs along both sides of the board. The letters are slighty inclined, to give a sense of forward motion. On each end are decorately-carved borders terminating with foliate acanthus leaf detailing. The board itself is carved of a single solid piece of very dense hardwood, probably walnut, and retains most of its original dark finish. The letters retain a substantial portion of their old, authentic gilding which provides a very striking contrast with the background, as originally intended by the master shipcarver who executed this board. Uniquely, this handsome nameboard is carved on both sides, indicating that it probably rested atop the yacht's pilot house and was the sole nameboard. Two holes exist along the bottom of this board for mounting. For display purposes, a clever mount has been fabricated allowing the board to be hung on the wall while affording easy removal without affecting its originality. This very desirable yachting relic measures 51 inches long, 6 inches high, and 1 1/4 inches thick. Outstanding, untouched original condition showing good age.

The term "Quinnat" refers to a species of West Coast American King Salmon. A search of yachting records reveals a yacht QUINNAT homeported in Ketchican, Alaska. Last residence of this board was the remote North Back Bay region of San Francisco.

DETAIL


IMPORTANT CHRONOMETER. Early second quarter of the 19th century 2-day marine chronometer by one of the members of the legendary family of chronometer makers "BARRAUD 41 Cornhill, LONDON" as fancily hand-engraved on the silvered brass dial. This early form, small size chronometer has Roman numerals, subsidiary seconds bit and 56 hour up down indicator on the 3 1/2 inch dial. It has delicate blued steel hands and is numbered "5034" on the dial and again impressed with the matching number in the bottom of the brass bowl or "tub." The lovely all brass movement with blued steel screws is of the spring détente type with chain fusee. The helical steel hair spring is fitted with a diamond end cap and the pillars and plates are highly finished in the finest traditional manner. Of interesting note is the fact that the dial bears the additional inscription "Corrected & Adjusted by" in an arc flanking the UP/DOWN indicator, suggesting that this chronometer was returned to the Barraud's firm later in its life for servicing. Of further interest is a second and even later inscription that is hand-engraved on the reflector ring reading, "Resprung by J. Bruce & Son, Liverpool `93." This confirms the history and continuous use of this chronometer through the end of the 1890's when it was already 60 years old! The chronometer is housed in its original brass bowl and gimbal which bear virtually all original lacquered surfaces and have acquired a deep golden patina. The entire unit is contained within its original early style box in the classic 3 tier configuration with glazed viewing lid. The box is constructed of rich crotch grain African mahogany with a blank ivory name disc on the front, folding brass drop handles and early form gimbal mounting brackets on each side. It is complete with its original early style ratcheted winding key. Within the second tier of the box is a further testament to the life and service of this chronometer, that being the label of "GEO. E. BUTLER CO. San Francisco, California" indicating a servicing date of 1924. But there is even more! Included with this chronometer is a pocket notebook for "Chron. Barraud #5034" indicating the rate for service dates from July 8, 1933 through February 28, 1935. The box measures a diminutive 6 1/4 inches square by 7 inches high. This instrument is in outstanding original condition in all respects. The chronometer itself is excellent running condition. A superb marine chronometer by one of England's finest with a record of service spanning an amazing 170+ years!

Cedric Jagger in his biographical work "Paul Philip Barraud," 1968, The Antiquarian Horological Society, London, indicates that Paul Philip Barraud was born in London in 1752. Several members of the Barraud family of 5 children were esteemed "horologers" including Paul Philip's father Francis Gabriel, to whom he was apprenticed in 1767. Paul Philip died in 1820 and the manufactory was taken over by his sons John and Frederick Joseph. They moved to the 41 Cornhill address in 1830. The firm name changed to "Barrauds & Lund in 1838 when J. R. Lund was taken into the partnership and remained until 1864 when it changed to "Barraud & Lunds" upon his death -- his sons then being in the business. That name continued thereafter with a change of address only (49 Cornhill) in 1884.

According to Tony Mercer in "Chronometer Makers of the World," N.A.G. Press Ltd., Colchester, Essex, 1991, an eight day chronometer by Barrauds with number 5055 is dated to 1830. The chronometer offered here can thus be dated with certainty to 1830.

DETAIL
DIAL INSCRIPTION
BOX


SCRIMSHAW PAIR. Classic mid-19th century American whaleman scrimshaw done on a matched pair of walrus tusks. This truly wonderful example of scrimshaw contains an amazing assortment of charming vignettes. The tusk on the left features a 3-masted American sailing ship with sternboard American eagle prominently displayed. Next to it is a fouled anchor followed by a large sperm whale and killing lance. On the reverse are two scenes of large Georgian era buildings separated by a profile view of a woman. The tusk on the right exhibits a pinwheel star below which is a tree with birds. This is followed by the very unusual image of a building-like "pendant" flanked by stars, the moon and a flying bird. At the bottom is yet another building with colonnade fence. On this tusk's reverse is some particularly unusual imagery. At the top is a flower below which are engraved an ax, knife, bow and arrow, Indian bird spear, dagger, flintlock rifle, cutlass and two barrels! Below these are stars encircling the Masonic symbol of the all seeing eye above a women standing at the entrance to a turreted castle. At the bottom is a tortoise whose shell signed with the initials "C.B." In addition to all of this, cross-hatched borders are evident on both tusks. Such a diverse portrayal of unique imagery must tell a story, which may ever be lost with its sailor artist's identity. As is quite typical of this genre holes were drilled near the tip of each tusk for hanging, and are period to the work. The tusks measure just over 1 foot long each and are in excellent condition with a nice patina.

 
REVERSE


EARLY MAST LAMP. Extremely rare second half of the 19th century ship's masthead lamp with the front boldly signed "Barclay, Phillips & Co., 17 Anderson Quay, Glasgow" in lovely hand-engraved script. This extraordinary survivor of the 1800's is of heavy all brass construction with a remarkable hand-blown bulbous glass lens. A rear hinged door with sliding latch provides access to the interior which is complete with the original silvered parabolic reflector. A proper copper oil font and glass chimney (not original to the lamp) are installed. This substantial lantern has a heavy pivoting bail handle on the top fitted with a rotating cast brass eye. The cap of the lamp body is hinged allowing it to swing back in order to view the interior. Both sides of the lamp are equipped with the original cast brass mounting brackets which held the lantern in place on the mast during use. It is in a superb state of original preservation with no dents or losses, and exhibits a nice age patina on all surfaces. The incredibly thick glass lens is in perfect condition! This lamp was presumably electrified at some time in its distant past, noting two small holes; one above and and one below the rear door. 22 inches tall by 12 1/2 inches wide overall and weighing a hefty 18 pounds! Without a doubt the finest and oldest ship's lamp we have ever offered for sale in our 27 years. It is a very rare example of a marine lantern that predates the advent and nearly universal use of the Freznel lens in navigational lighting from the late 1800's onward. A museum piece!

DETAIL
SIDE


RARE STERN SIGNAL LAMP. Extraordinary and extremely rare English ship's stern lamp from the very earliest part of the last century by the noted maker William Harvie of Glasgow, Scotland. This massive ship's stern running light is constructed entirely of heavy brass and copper, weighs an astounding 25 pounds, and has the unusual secondary function of being a signal lamp! On the right side of the lamp is affixed a heavy spring-loaded brass lever which connects via a complex linkage to 5 vertical shutters behind the lens inside the lamp. These shutters pivot 90 degrees when the lever is depressed, effectively opening and closing the light source. There is also a provision for locking the shutters open for constant illumination. This exceptionally well made lamp features heavy double wall construction with an extremely thick bull's eye lens. The slide-in burner with extra large oil sump has a glazed viewing window, filler cap, and double wick advance knobs, allowing these functions to be operated remotely without having to remove the burner, as necessitated with most marine lamps. The rear of the burner is equipped with a silvered, parabolic mirror to maximize the light output. This lamp is signed and dated in several locations. The back of the burner assembly bears the brass maker's label reading "Wm Harvie Patented 1884, 13-746, 222 Broomielaw, Glasgow." The rear panel on this lamp is removed by grasping the attached ring and sliding the panel upward. This panel is impressed "Wm Harvie 1901" and is equipped with two sliding tabs (one now missing) -- one for viewing the burner, and the other for adjusting the air flow to the interior. Just above the panel, on the rear top of the lamp is affixed a brass tag reading "Suspend Lantern When In Use, If Vessel Is Rolling Through A total Arc Of More Than 20". The top "chimney" of the lamp is equipped with a hinged cover with knurled locking screw and an extra hefty folding brass handle. The front of the chimney is also impressed "Wm Harvie 1901." Just below a brass maker's tag is affixed with solder and rivets. It bears some numbers and writing, but is quite worn with age. This heavy duty marine lantern stands 20 inches high and 11 inches wide. It is in very good original condition considering it is over 100 years old. The thick bull's eye lens is perfect. There are a number of minor dents. More significantly, the lamp was electrified for use as a table light at some point. The top cap has been drilled with a 3/8 inch diameter hole and another small hole is in the side of the lamp just below the signaling lever. The internal burner is an old replacement and as a result the remote burner advance knobs do not connect to it. Despite these minor flaws, this certainly rates as one of the most unusual and beautifully made marine lanterns we have handled in our long tenure.

MAKER'S LABEL
BACK


FAMOUS LINER COMMEMORATIVE. Original ship's commemorative for the ill-fated Cunard passenger liner the RMS LUSITANIA. This lovely rendering consists of a carved wooden "life ring" frame encircling the colorful reverse glass painted image of the famous ship. The image itself was stencilled and then carefully hand colored and shows LUSITANIA from a starboard bow aspect with the title "RMS LUSITANIA" in the foreground. Interestingly, traces of abalone shell can be seen along the waterline, giving it an irridescent effect. The wooden frame bears stencilled American and British flags and is boldly hand-painted "RMS LUSITANIA LIVERPOOL" in fancy lettering. Overall condition is good, noting a few small spots and wear in the paint. The reverse of this memento is equally interesting. It bears the hand-penned inscription reading (in part) "Presented by Mr. S. Jones to M. Jones April 23, 1911 on RMS Lusitania when coming home from America, good bye forever..." The ring itself is 8 inches in diameter and the glass measures 5 inches across.

The Royal Mail Steamship LUSITANIA was built by John Brown & Co. of Clydebank and was launched in 1906. She was the first British four-stacker, the world's first quadruple screw ship and at the time of her launching she was the biggest ship in the world, exceeding 30,000 tons. LUSITANIA made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on September 7th, 1907. She was the holder of both Blue Ribands, setting both crossing records in October 1907.
    At sea when World War I broke out, LUSITANIA arrived home safely, but unlike her sister MAURETANIA was kept in her regular service sailing monthly between Liverpool and New York. On May 7th, 1915, while off the Old Head of Kinsale, IrelandLUSITANIA was torpedoed without warning by U-20 and sank within 18 minutes. Two explosions rocked the ship. The first was clearly caused by a torpedo from U-20. The cause of the second explosion has never been definitively determined and remains the source of much controversy. The reason is that LUSITANIA's cargo has be called into question. In addition to her passengers, she was said to have been loaded with platinum, bullion, diamonds and various other precious stones. However, subsequent exploration of the wreck revealed none of these, nor have port manifests been found to substantiate such claims. Instead, it is surmised that LUSITANIA may have been clandestinely loaded with 3-inch shells and millions of rounds of rifle ammunition. If true, these materials comprised contraband explosive cargo, forbidden by international law on a passenger ship!
    Of the nearly 2,000 on board, 1,198 lost their lives, of which 124 were Americans. LUSITANIA's sinking became the catalyst that ultimately drew America into World War I.

SHIP DETAIL
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EARLY HARD HAT HELMET. Authentic very early 1900's American deep sea diving helmet made by "A. J. Morse & Son (Inc.), Boston, Mass." as cast in relief on the oval brass maker's breastplate tag. This early 3 light, 12 bolt commercial helmet is complete and totally original. The "brails" are all stamped with the matching serial number XXXX*, corresponding with matching numbers on the breastplate and bonnet. Indicative of its age, this old helmet has many early characteristics including a squatty, contoured breastplate, lashing eyelets on the top of the bonnet, and 2 hooks -- one on the left (diver's) and one on the right rear for attaching additional weights. It has a screw-on faceplate and telephone box on the diver's immediate right. The telephone connection is to his left. Abaft the phone box and sidelight is the adjustable exhaust valve with bubble diffuser, faced internally with a chin button. Completing the rig are the dumbbell lock and air inlet gooseneck, complete with non-return valve, at the rear of the helmet. This remarkable helmet is in extraordinary original "as last dived" condition, showing use but no abuse, and without any modifications! It retains all of its original tinning inside and out and has acquired a wonderful age patina through the years -- just the way collectors like them!

According to an original 1925 Morse catalog in our reference library, the Morse Company was the first in the United States to manufacture diving equipment. It was begun as a partnership between Morse and Fletcher for the manufacture of brass goods at the corner of Water and Congress Streets in Boston in 1837. During the Civil War Mr. Fletcher retired and the company name changed to Andrew J. Morse & Son in 1864. Andrew J. Morse died in 1881 but the business was carried on by his son William under the same name. In 1905 William F. Morse retired and the business was transfered to his daughter and her husband, Elizabeth and Mark A. Lawton. It was then that the company was first incorporated and the company name of Andrew J. Morse & Son (Inc.) was adopted. It continued under that name until 1940 when the name changed to the Morse Diving Equipment Company.

In his landmark reference book, "Helmets of The Deep," author Leon Lyons depicts and describes an identical 3 light Morse helmet on page 84 dating it at "Circa 1915." The helmet pictured in the book is missing a substantial portion of its original tinning and the bonnet eyelets have been sawn off. The example we offer for sale here is in considerably better condition.

* For the privacy and security of the ultimate purchaser, the serial number of this helmet is being withheld.

 

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MAKER'S TAG

 


5.61 U.S. LIFESAVING SERVICE TELESCOPE. Exceptionally rare, second half of the 19th century hand-held single draw telescope made by "Bardou & Son" for the "U.S.L.S.S." as engraved in fancy script on the draw tube. The tube is also engraved with Bardou's lovely trademark. This large marine telescope is of all brass construction with a leather covered main tube. It measures 23 inches when closed, telescoping to 39 inches long extended. The state-of-the-art optics for which Bardou was so renown, produce a clear upright image of high magnification and resolution. This fine telescope retains both eyepiece and object dust slides, the latter being incorporated into a press-on cover which may be fully removed. It is also equipped with its extendable sun shade, which when extended makes the telescope 42 1/2 inches long overall. Overall condition is excellent. Research indicates that very few of these telescopes were commissioned of Bardou in the19th Century by the U.S. Government for the Lifesaving Service.

    In 1848 the U.S. government first addressed the need for a lifesaving program on its shores.  In 1854 Congress appropriated funds for shore lifesaving stations and a full time keeper at each station. During the daylight hours, a surfman was assigned to scan the coastline from the station's lookout tower. No seats were kept in the tower in order to prevent inattention to duty. It was in this application that such telescopes as the one here were used!

    The size of the Service increased and by 1874 stations were built on the coast of Maine and south of Cape Henry, Virginia. A year later, the network expanded to the Delaware/Virginia peninsula, the Great Lakes and the coast of Florida. Eventually, stations along the Gulf and West Coasts were built, including one at Nome, Alaska.

    In 1878 the growing network of lifesaving stations was organized as a separate agency of the Treasury Department and named the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Sumner I. Kimball was chosen as the General Superintendent of the Service. Kimball remained the only General Superintendent of the organization during its entire existence. When the government created the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915, the Lifesaving Service was eliminated and Kimball retired.

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USLSS

 


IDENTIFIED SHIP'S FIGUREHEAD. Spectacular 19th Century carved and painted wooden ship's figurehead from the North American bark EDINBURGH. This stunning example of the ship carver's art is dressed in classical attire, adornmed with a ribbon-carved gilt necklace and tiara, central oval brooch and bracelets on each wrist. She poses a striking stance, forward leaning with her right arm across her bosom as she stands on the original base, flanked by Acanthus scrolls. This important artifact was sculpted by the well known Canadian wood carver John Rogerson (1837-1925) who worked in St. John, New Brunswick in the second half of the 19th century. The figurehead stands 73 inches tall inclusive of its small wooden display pedestal and weighs approximately 400 pounds. It is in an outstanding state of preservation with approximately 90% original surfaces and paint.

The EDINBURGH was a Canadian-built and registered 3-masted barque of 203 1/2 feet launched by William Charland, Jr. of St. Joseph de Levis Quebec, Canada in 1883. After 26 years of service, she met her demise in the port of Bermuda where she foundered in 1909. This figurehead was first owned by the American Consul to Bermuda, William H. Allen and was proudly displayed in his garden for several years. In the 1920's she became the property of Francis Turnbull Meyer, a successful businessman from New York. Mr. Meyer, long a patron of the arts, donated the figurehead to the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts in 1933 where it was on public exhibit in the Maritime Wing until 2002.

This famous figurehead is well documented in associated literature. In the book "Shipcarvers of North America," M.V. Brewington, 1962, Barre publishing Co., Barre, Massachusetts, the entire page 94 is devoted to a full length photograph of the figurehead with accompanying text. In the landmark work "Treasury of American Design" by Clarence Hornung, published by Abrams, Inc., New York, 1976, the first chapter is entitled "Forgotten Figures Fore and Aft." The frontispiece of chapter I, page 6, is the full page image of this beautiful figurehead

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