West Sea Company

New This Week:

Prices in U.S. Dollars are listed in GREEN.


2.49  IDENTIFIED HALF HULL.  Authentic 19th century American builder’s half block model of a Great Lakes schooner identified as the “LORNELL.”  This sleek sailing vessel was launched from the Martell Shipyard in Saugatuck, Michigan in 1880.  Built in the traditional manner using laminations or “lifts” pinned and dowelled together, it was used as a template to build the actual ship.  Four of the lifts are pine and the one designating the waterline is walnut.  The upper lift is nicely scribed to simulate the deck.  Of a particular note concerning its provenance is the deck which is carved reading, “SCH. LORNELL / BUILT BY CAPT. JOHN MARTEL CIRCA 1880 / AT SAUGATUCK, MICH.  AT HIS SHIPYARD / HE WAS NOTED FOR HIS TUGS & SCHOONERS / RESTORED BY F.A. DAVIS 1953 IN POWAY CALIF. / THERE IS ONLY ONE OF THESE MODELS MADE FOR EACH BOAT BUILT.”  The model measures 42 ¼ inches long from stem to stern.  The camber in its deck makes it about 5 ½ inches high overall, with an average thickness of 4 ¾ inches.  Both original mounting brackets are still present.  Condition is very good, with a great old surface patina and signs of age.  As noted, some quality restoration was effected more than a half century ago, now imperceptible.  Historic wall decor in a very manageable size over 130 years old!  975  Special PackagingBack to Top



Order Info



5.16   U.S. NAVY AZIMUTH CIRCLE.  World War II Bearing/Azimuth circle made for the U.S. Navy in 1942 by the Lionel Corporation in conjunction with National Electrical Machine Shop.  This precision all brass instrument is impressed “U.S. NAVY BEARING CIRCLE MARK 1 MOD 2 BU. SHIPS 1942, THE LIONEL CORPORATION N.Y.”  It features a heavy brass circle calibrated in single degrees from 0-360 marked by 10’s.  It is equipped with two folding sight vanes and two positioning handles.  The viewing end is at 180, and the primary with hairline site is at 0.  It is equipped with a bubble level and a folding black glass reflector to capture the sun’s angle for an azimuth reading.  As such, this instrument, when mounted on a standard 9 ¼ inch Navy compass, could be used for taking bearings on surface objects or for taking the bearing of the sun for a latitude line.  It is housed in its extra heavy duty Bakelite case with brass label reading “BUREAU OF SHIPS U.S. NAVY AZIMUTH CIRCLE MARK III MOD 2, NATIONAL ELECTRICAL MACHINE SHOPS, INC. Washington D.C.”  The interior has 4 classic wooden oak tabs for securing.  (When is wood used anymore?!)  The circle measures 10 ¼ inches in diameter.  The Bakelite case is 11 inches square by 3 ½ inches thick.  It is not an exaggeration to say this entire offering is in absolutely factory new MINT condition – the same as it was in 1942!  It’s in a truly incredible state of original preservation.  What’s more, Bakelite objects are the hot ticket today’s collector’s market.  This is a massive example.  275


in case


Order Info



9.82  WORLD WAR I MARCHING COMPASS.  Very high quality French marching compass made for the “U.S. Engineer Corps” as engraved on the rim.  This all brass compass has a floating metal card with an agate pivot.  North is marked by a prominent arrow.  There are two scales.  The inner scale for direct reading is sub-divided into 5 degree increments, marked by 20’s.  The outer scale is precisely divided into single degrees marked by 10’s.  The numbers are upside down.  When the prismatic sight is used, this allows the observer to view a remarkable upright mirror image superimposed on the object sighted!  The sighting is even more refined by the sight hair (real hair!) in the glazed outer cover.  The prism pivots into place over the compass or can be folded back out of the way, protected by a tab on the cover.   The bezel of the compass cover is knurled and rotates with a fine line to lay out a course.   On the outer periphery of the compass body are engraved compass degrees in 5 degree increments as well as the cardinal and intercardinal points of the compass.  A manual caging device locks the compass card when not in use, and an automatic caging device also locks the card when the cover is closed.   The top of the compass is equipped with a heavy brass pivoting suspension loop.  The back of the compass body appears to be covered in hard rubber (some missing) and bears the date and signature of the maker “CE 1918.”   Remarkably the compass comes in its original stitched thick leather belt case with brass closure stamped “MODELE DEPOSE.”   The compass is 2 ¼ inches in diameter and the leather case measures 2 ¾ by 3 ½ inches.  Beautiful original condition showing good age but careful use.  Totally functional.  295

with case
compass card


engineer corps
maker date


Order Info



18.84  EARLY CABIN LIGHT.   Antique ship’s cabin lamp of English manufacture made by the noted  lamp makers “Eli Griffith & Sons Birmingham 1914,” as impressed on the side of the burner.  This extremely heavy duty oil burning lantern is all brass, of double layer construction with three thick glass windows.   It houses a remarkable oil font and burner which was state-of-the-art for its time.  The large sump with separate screw-in filler has a burner with a wick advance knob which can be controlled either by its knurled handle or, cleverly, by a special key operated from the outside of the lamp through a sliding aperture.  The font is removable and hinges back for examination and cleaning.  It is also constructed in such a way that oil from the sump is fed by two pipes into an “internal sump” just below the burner.  This was a very complex and expensive feature to make!  The lamp also has a triangular pinion on the front which adjusts the amount of airflow into the bottom of the lamp.  The interior has a sliding chimney cap which holds the upper portion of the lamp to its body and is removable for cleaning.  The top is equipped with a folding, press-fit cover and a heavy wire bail handle with turned wooden grip for carrying.  The back of this lamp features a massive brass bracket riveted to the body for hanging.  15 3/8 inches high (exclusive of the handle) by 8 ½ inches wide and 5 ¾ inches deep, weighing an amazing 11 pounds!  Excellent original condition with a great old patina from years of use at sea.  Over 100 years old -- a traditional throwback to the 19th century!  595


with font


burner assembly

Order Info


 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.  13feet 10 inches high by 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

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.

lighthouse BACK






Order Info

Back to Top


Back to Top