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Antique John Bliss Skylight Binnacle

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Antique John Bliss Skylight Binnacle
 

RARE SMALLER SIZE SKYLIGHT YACHT BINNACLE
BY JOHN BLISS & CO. NEW YORK

Rare John Bliss Binnacle Boat Comppass image

 MADE TO THE HIGHEST QUALITY and
LIKELY ONE-OF-A-KIND!

This is the only John Bliss skylight style yacht binnacle we have ever seen or heard of. It is in exceptional condition and with a distinguished American pedigree.
 

Dimensions 25" H x 11" W x 8 1/2" D    Viewing port 5" x 3 1/4"   Weight 26 1/2 pounds

 
Presented is a Mid 19th Century twin burner skylight binnacle compass housed in a heavy duty and elegant cathedral style case with a brass protective hood over. The hood has a viewing port in the front and an access door of the same shape in the rear. Both burners are electrified, but their original housings have been preserved. The bezel of the compass is stamped with the maker's name and the serial number 2177. The compass card is imprinted, John Bliss & Co., New York. The company's name was changed to this form in October, 1857.
 
THE BINNACLE: The binnacle is a classic, but rarely seen skylight design in this period. It was popular in the Royal Navy, but did not become popular in the US until the 1930's. And then only on the more important yachts because of the extra expense in making the multi-paneled hood. This one, because of its unusually small size and high quality, was made for a sailboat or wood tender to an important large yacht. 

 

This  binnacle is comprise of four main pieces image
The four major components of the Bliss Skylight binnacle

THE SKYLIGHT TOWER has a brass hood which easily lifts off for daylight use. The front viewing port is uncovered. The one in the back has a hinged door. Each of the candle light holders has a 15 watt, 120 volt bulb installed and is fitted with a folding brass handle with wood grip. The base rests on a contemporary circular hardwood mounting block.

This is an important example of an early skylight binnacle that is of the highest quality, and from a famous American instrument maker.

 
The back of the Bliss skylight binnacle image
Showing the lamp lighted image
Back of the Bliss skylight binnacle shown over the compass with lighting 

THE COMPASS: Is housed in a heavy brass bowl which is only partially filled with liquid.  It features a very old style card with directions marked in points of the compass where one point equals 1/4 degrees. A fancy Fleur dis Lis marks North with cardinal and sub cardinal directions labeled N, S, E, W, NE, SE, SW, NW. Cards with degrees weren't introduced until the Turn of the 20th Century which is approximately 50 years after this binnacle was made.

The compass is viewed though the 5 x 3 1/4" elliptical port with a rolled metal rim. Twin lamp burner towers with caps are on each side of the "helmet".  

COMPASS SIZE: Diameter of bowl 5 1/4"                                Diameter of card 4" 

The early Bliss compass card image
Compass card in points of 11 1/4 degrees. Bezel with maker and serial number
 
 

The Bliss skylight binnacle with the hood removed image
The Bliss skylight binnacle with the hood removed

HISTORY JOHN BLISS & Co.: John Bliss, Sr. was born in Norwich, CT in 1795, and died in Brooklyn, NY on October 15, 1857. He apprenticed to his uncle, Benjamin Lord in Rutland, VT as a silversmith and clock maker, and later moved to New York City as a jeweler around 1830.

In 1834 he went into partnership with Fredrick Creighton, an English watchmaker at 42 Fulton St. for the making of chronometers under the name, Bliss & Creighton. They were one of the few in this country who made chronometers from scratch and also patented a new escapement which reduced chronometer error. However, the partnership did not last, and they went their separate ways in 1853.

John Bliss then joined with his son John, Jr., establishing the firm John Bliss & Son in 1855. When John Bliss, Sr. died in 1857, and the name of the company was changed to John Bliss & Co., which endured for 100 years.

The Bliss firm was a noted purveyor and repair shop for nautical instruments of all kinds. On August 4, 1871, Bliss purchased the famous E. & G.W. Blunt & Co. whose operations as a seller of nautical instruments dates from 1821 in New York.  Blunt was also noted for publishing a Nautical Almanac staring in 1850. The company also continued their own made chronometer business. They were at various locations in lower Manhattan and ended up at 84 Pearl St. from 1929 to 1956, when that building was sold and they were forced to go out of business. 

The famous Schooner yacht Intrepid, owned by Lloyd Phoenix, Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club in 1903, was fitted with a John Bliss compass. 

OUR UNCONDITIONAL 'NO NONSENSE“ GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within five days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.  

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Hebrides (Vanuatu), New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI, Vanuatu (New Hebrides) and the Eastern Caribbean. 

SHIPPING & PACKING: In the United States this item will ship for $115.00 to the 48 contiguous States. 

STANDARD FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to us so that the use of credit cards or PayPal incur extra charges. Terms on overseas sales are different. 

 
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