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5.25/13.10  U.S. NAVY CHRONOMETER.  A stellar example of the incredible achievements in science and industry accomplished in the 20th century.  This is THE Hamilton marine chronometer!  It is a full size ship’s navigational timekeeper of 2 days duration with a silvered brass dial engraved, “HAMILTON Lancaster, PA., U.S. (N) 8740” dated “1941.”  It features Arabic numerals and a minute chapter swept by black spade hands.  The subsidiary seconds bit over the 6 is calibrated in single seconds marked by 10’s.  The Up/Down winding indicator at the “12,” shows 0 through 56 hours since winding.  The state-of-the-art 14 jewel movement is a thing of beauty with damascened nickel silver plates, helical hair spring and Hamilton’s  innovative Elinvar balance with large timing weights.  A miraculous innovation in chronometry – Elinvar was anti–magnetic, not affected by variations in temperature!  This chronometer has a spring détente escapement and of course, a chain-drive fusee.  The back plate is engraved, “Model 21, 14 jewels, HAMILTON WATCH CO. Lancaster, Penn.”  The top plate is engraved “2E8470” matching the dial number.  This example also has Hamilton’s unique “brake lock” device which eliminated the traditional need to “cork” the balance for shipment.  The movement is contained within its solid brass tub with spring-loaded dust cover protecting the winding arbor.  The knurled brass bezel with silvered reflector ring has a perfect beveled glass crystal.  All of this is slung in gimbals having a knurled gimbal lock.  The assembly is contained in Hamilton’s classic 3-tier mahogany box, fully brass-bound with button latches, lid stays and folding drop handles.  The front of the box bears the brass maker’s tag reading “HAMILTON WATCH CO. Lancaster, PS., U.S.A.”  The inner box measures slightly over 7 ½ inches cubed.  The chronometer itself is just under 5 inches in diameter.   An added important value of this offering is the fact that this chronometer is housed in its original hardwood outer carrying box with padded green felt lining in perfect original condition and bearing the identical Hamilton brass maker’s plaque.  The outer box measures 12 ¾ inches wide, 10 3/8 inches deep and 9 3/8 inches high.  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

The Hamilton Watch Company deserves a special place in American horological history.  Long known as a producer of fine quality pocket and wrist watches from the 1800’s into the early 20th century, the climate changed with the onset of WWII.   To their credit, Hamilton, which had never produced a chronometer before, stepped up to design and ultimately manufacture over 12,000 of its exquisite Model 21 chronometers.  Even more remarkable is the fact that they did it in a very short period of time, while maintaining the very demanding U.S. Navy specifications.  In  doing so, the company drew heavily on the advances of its European competitor Ulysee Nardin.  But not content to merely copy, Hamilton pushed the envelope.  Their chronometer was made with interchangeable parts and incorporated state-of-the-art innovations in metallurgy which greatly improved the performance and maintenance of their chronometers in the wartime setting.  To this day the Hamilton Model 21 U.S. Navy chronometer stands at the pinnacle of ship chronometers ever made!

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12.39  EXCEPTIONAL BOX.  An amazing example of superb craftsmanship in the form of a small lidded trinket box constructed entirely of solid ivory and gold!  It is hard to imagine that anyone other than an accomplished professional jeweler could turn out such work.  The box itself is carved out of two slabs of solid ivory.  Incredibly, the lower section has a very fine raised “dust lip” around the inner periphery.  The lid opens and closes on a rose gold hinge secured on a spade latch with gold button.  Of exquisite proportions is the domed ivory lid inlaid with more than one hundred pieces of real gold depicting an antique fouled kedge anchor encircled with an  oval border.  Close examination under magnification reveals the superlative efforts the maker lavished upon this masterwork.  The fine detail truly defies description.   Seeing is believing! Certainly this example rivals the output of such noted early makers as Tiffany and Van Cleef Arpels.  329



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12.40  BATTLESHIP MAINE COMMEMORATIVE.  Late 19th century sterling silver spoon with the bowl hand-engraved with a beautiful image of the famous “BATTLESHIP MAINE, Destroyed Feb. 15, 1898.”  The stem of the spoon is decorated with floral bouquets and is signed with lion hallmarks flanking a “W” marked “STERLING.”  5 inches long.  Perfect original condition.   195

The explosion and sinking of the Battleship MAINE in Havana Harbor, Cuba with the loss of 252 American sailors’ lives eventually led to the Spanish-American War.  The incident engendered great American patriotism and a wealth of period souvenirs from a generation of buttons to dishes.  This period example is one of the more elegant and costly, having been produced in very limited numbers by skilled artistans on a precious metal medium.


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13.09  EARLY SHIP BUILDER’s CLOCK.   Here is an original American ship’s clock well over 100 years old!  The silvered brass dial is deeply engraved “THE PUSEY & JONES CO., WILMINGTON, DEL.”  Below the winding arbor is a shield stamped “The Ashcroft Mfg. Co.  New York REG U.S. PAT OFF.”   The dial has bold Arabic numerals and a minute chapter swept by Breguet-type “moon” hands.  The movement is Chelsea’s earliest time only jeweled brass movement with decoratively-engraved balance cocks.   The serial number 58XXX* dates this clock to 1909.   It is housed in its original handsome solid bronze steam gauge-type case 10 inches in diameter by 2 ¾ inches deep and weighs a hefty 9 pounds!  The bezel is conveniently hinged, closing on a lock having its original skeleton key.  Excellent untouched condition showing its great age.  This clock is a good time keeper and comes with a period winding key.  975

The Pusey & Jones Company was a major shipbuilder and industrial equipment manufacturer from 1848 to 1959.  The primary output of the company was shipbuilding from 1853 until the end of World War II.   During that timeframe the yard built more than 500 ships, from large cargo vessels to small warships and yachts, including VOLUNTEER, winner of the 1887 America’s Cup.

In 1848 Joshua Pusey and John Jones formed their partnership in Wilmington, Delaware, operating a machine shop in space rented from a whaling company.  By 1854 they had built the first iron-hulled sailing vessel ever  made in the U.S, the schooner MAHLON BETTS.   At the beginning of the Civil War the company began building vessels for the U.S. Navy.  The first was a sloop of war.  Wartime business boomed and the Pusey & Jones Company expanded dramatically.  Business continued to flourish through the end of the century as America became a major maritime power.

During World War I, the firm had more than 2,000 employees.  A second shipyard, called The Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Company was added in Gloucester City, New Jersey, but was soon  renamed Pusey & Jones.  The yard produced 19 ships before closing at War’s end.

During the slump of the late 1920’s and 30’s, the company reorganized, turning its production to building  luxury steam and motor yachts for wealthy patrons.

As World War II approached, government contracts increased.  At its peak Pusey & Jones employed  more than 3,600  workers.   At that time the company was producing C1 type cargo ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission.   Pusey & Jones launched one of the very first Liberty Ships.   The yard also produced minesweepers and many other specialty vessels.  In additional, commercial and private vessels originally built by the company were also converted for wartime use.

After the War, Pusey and Jones tooled up to manufacture papermaking machinery.  It closed its doors 1959.

Some of the more notable vessels the company launched and provided machinery for were:
Steamboat GAY HEAD
U.S.L.H. Service ship NANTUCKET
U.S.L.H. Service ship PORTSMOUTH
U.S.C.G. Cutter MOHAWK
Steamboat T. J. POTTER
Plus scores of U.S. NAVY commissioned vessels



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 AUTHENTIC LIGHTHOUSE.   This is the ultimate!  Here is an exceptional opportunity to own a very historic relic of America’s rich maritime heritage embodied in the original lamp room from the famous Ballast Point Lighthouse, which served its sentinel duties in the channel of San Diego Bay from 1890 until 1960.  This incredibly well-preserved piece of history was built according to specifications laid out by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1885.  A copy of the original specifications are included as are much printed references and photographs.  Erected in 1890, the 5th Order lighthouse was a significant aid to navigation in conjunction with the Point Loma Lighthouse (1850) poised at the entrance to San Diego Bay.   Ballast Point Light was situated further inside the massive bay on a point which jutted into the seaway which posed a hazard to shipping.  13 feet 10 inches high with a maximum width of 8 feet 8 inches.  Weight approximately 5 tons. It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for transport.  127 years old!  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

Serious inquiries only please.  No telephone quotes.  This item has been nominated as a candidate for the National Historic Register, and is currently being considered by a number of museums, private lighthouse restoration groups and the U.S. Navy.   Clear title is guaranteed.  Please provide your qualifications for ownership and your intentions for use.  We reserve the right to select a deserving owner.   We have already soundly rejected a low ball offer of $25,000 – that being the original price of the lamp room in 1890!   A single 5th Order light house lens recently sold for $125,000.  This is the entire lamp room, much rarer, and probably the only one of its kind to ever be for sale again!


On October 2, 1888, recognizing the need for a harbor light in the increasingly congested channel of San Diego Bay, Congress authorized $25,000 for the construction of a lighthouse to be built on Ballast Point.  Fashioned in the late Victorian style, the entire structure took 3 months to build beginning in March 1890.  The light was first lit on August 1st.  It was a sister of the lights at San Luis Obispo and Table Bluff, south of Humboldt Bay.  All were wood framed structures with attached living quarters.  The ironwork for the lantern was forged in San Francisco and carried south to San Diego by ship.  The French firm of Sautter, Lemmonier, & Cie. manufactured the Freznel lens for the Ballast Point Light in 1886.  The fixed 5th Order lens was visible for a distance of at least 11 miles.
When California was still part of Mexico the peninsula jutting into San Diego Bay was known as Punta del los Guijarros or “Pebble Point.”  For centuries cobblestones washed down by the San Diego River had been deposited on the point.  When California gained statehood in 1850 the point was renamed Middle Ground Shoal.  As time went on and merchant traffic in the harbor increased, many sailing ships found it convenient to load or discharge the stones as ballast.  The practice continued and eventually the name “Ballast Point” stuck.
Accompanying the Ballast Point lighthouse was a huge 2,000 pound fog bell in a wooden tower.  In 1928 it was supplanted by a single tone electric diaphone horn.

The first keeper of the light was John M. Nilsson, assigned duty on July 15, 1890.  The second was Henry Hall, who took the job on December 1, 1892.  Perhaps the most famous keeper was Irish born David R. Splaine, a Civil War veteran and veteran lighthouse keeper, who assumed the post in 1894, having served at Point Conception, the Farallons and San Diego’s own Point Loma light from 1886-1889.

In 1913 the original old kerosene lamp was replaced with an acetylene burner.  Acetylene gave way to electricity in 1928.  In 1938 a filter was fitted inside the 5th Order Freznel lens giving the light a distinctive green hue for recognition.  One of the last keepers of the light was Radford Franke who recalled receiving the order to “douse the light” upon the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By early 1960 the light was deemed to be of no further service, so in June of that year the lantern room was removed to a salvage yard.  The wooden tower and its brick and mortar foundation remained a couple of years later until they too were declared structurally unsafe and demolished.  The bell tower continued to survive, mounted with a 375 mm high intensity lamp on its roof.  However the value of maintaining any light on Ballast Point diminished with the installation of harbor entrance range lights.  In the late 1960’s the bell and its tower were dismantled.  The tower found its way to a private residence in Lakeside, California.  The bell had a more circuitous later life.  It was purchased from a San Diego area junk yard in 1969 for its scrap value of 5 cents per pound!  The one ton bell remained on local private property until 1991, when it was put on loan to the San Diego Maritime Museum.  In 1999 the bell was transported to the son of the original buyer, living in Colorado.  Then in 2002, the bell finally found its way to the home of the owner’s granddaughter living in Vermont, where it rests to this day.
The story of the lantern’s later life is even more fascinating.  The nation was just recovering from the Cuban Missile Crisis between JFK and Khrushchev, when in 1964 the Cuban government cut off the fresh water supply to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.  By that time, an experimental desalinization plant had been in operation at Point Loma for 2 years.  The Navy hastily ordered it to be disassembled and shipped through the Panama Canal to Cuba.  A gentleman working as a crane operator during the process noted the shabby lantern room in a trash heap nearby.  He inquired as to the fate of the relic and was told it was salvage.  Asking if he could purchase it,  the yard foreman told him he could “have it” if he would haul it away.  With that, for the next 34 years the lantern room served as a gazebo in the backyard of the man’s residence in Bonita, California.  It was purchased by the present owners in 1998, fully refurbished, and then placed on public display ever since.  Now it is time for it to find its next new home.  According to the crane operator who delivered the lamp room it weighs approximately 5 tons.  It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for removal.

F. Ross Holland, “The Old Point Loma Lighthouse,” 1978, Cabrillo Historical Association, San Diego, California
Jim Gibbs, “The Twilight of Lighthouses,” 1996, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA.
Kin Fahlen and Karen Scanlon, “Lighthouse of San Diego,” 2008, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco
Kraig Anderson, “Forgotten Ballast Point “Lighthouse” Seeks New Home,” article in “Lighthouse Digest,” East Machias, Maine,  September – October 2011,  Vol. XX, no. 5 pages 34 – 37.
“Mains’l Haul,” a periodic publication of the San Diego Maritime Association, Summer 1990, Vol. XXVI,  No. 4, pp. 11-12.







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