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3.83  AMERICAN AZIMTH INSTRUMENT.    Genuine, late 1800’s 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.  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.  249

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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6.10 TRIPLE ROPE-BOUND BLOCK.  Classic antique ship’s pulley, quite rare because it has not one, or even two, but THREE sheaves.  And at that the sheaves are solid brass!  This lovely example of seamanship has oak cheeks and is double-bound with cotton straps terminating at the top with an iron thimble eye.   The cheeks are secured with peened copper pins.   It measures 10 inches high by 5 3/8 inches wide and is 3 ½ inches thick.  It weighs exactly 5 pounds.  Fantastic original condition with an old weathered look acquired from actual use at sea.   The sheaves, on high quality roller bearings, turn freely.  We were delighted to find it and to be able to offer it.  One of the nicest examples we have ever seen.  249


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12.51  WHALEBONE DOMINO SET.  Exceptional late 19th century boxed domino set of the highest quality and best condition possible.  This full set of 28 dominoes is constructed of solid whalebone!   Many such sets were made of laminated whalebone and wood.  This set is ALL whalebone.  What’s more the set is housed in its perfect original box with sliding lid.  The box is made of  rich mahogany with machine-dovetailed construction in its lovely original finish.  The game pieces measure 1 ¾ inches long by 7/8 inches wide and ¼ inch thick.  The box is 7 inches long by 2 ¼ inches wide and 2 1/8 inches high.  This is really a super nice set which would make a fabulous present for that special person.  299


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21.18  SUPERB HAND-HELD TELESCOPE.  One of the finest telescopes of its type we have ever offered!  This especially handsome gentleman’s spyglass has a beautiful red mahogany main barrel and 4 brass draw tubes.   Unusual for this size telescope.   It measures from 7 ½ inches closed to 26 1/4 inches fully extended.  The 1½ inch objective lens and all original internal lenses provide a highly magnified upright image of surprising clarity!  The surfaces of this telescope are incredible. We have never seen finer.  The original brass surfaces exhibit a lovely gold-like sheen and the wooden barrel is perfect.  This telescope is totally complete with its press-on objective dust cover and pivoting ocular cover.  A beautiful specimen.   English, circa 1850.   Truly the best.   419



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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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