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#Rare Antique Ritchie Twin Cylindrical Beam Boxed Ship's Compass

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Rare Antique Ritchie Twin Beam Banana Style Boxed Ship's Compass

VERY RARE ANTIQUE
E.S. RITCHIE TWIN CYLINDER
"BANANA CARD"
BOXED COMPASS, DATED 1870
 

Front of antique Richie Bananna Card Boxed Shp's compass image

A very early and very rare Ritchie Banana Style Boxed Compass.  This old Sea Dog has been handed down in the same family for the past 25 years. It is perfect for the serious collector or as an accent piece in any decor

DISPLAY ONLY. NOT INTENDED FOR USE!

 

Presented is an early, E.S. Ritchie, Boston, boxed twin beam banana style compass. It is a very early compass design with twin cylindrical cross beams on the cardinal axis. They remind us of a banana, and we have coined that term to identify this design.  Originally this was a wet card compass, but years ago the fluid was drained to preserve the hand painted card. Inside, the painted metal card shows only some minor paint loss. The rustic dovetailed hard wood box indicates many days use at sea. The brass bezel has four patent dates, the earliest being Sept. 9, 1862, and the latest July, 1870. 

There are only a very few of this design known to exist. We know this because ten years ago we had a similar compass with a serial number dating it to 1863. That is two years after E.S Ritchie started operations.

Since then, we have only seen two more. The current owner of the original E.S. Ritchie company maintains it sales records and show this compass as being sold to the Daniel Lynn on May 4, 1874, or 142 years ago. 

 

Early Ritchie
                                    banana style compass card image
Ship's Ritchie boxed compass with cylindrical double banana cross beams
 

THE COMPASS: The 1/2 gimbaled antique compass is of one of Ritchie's earliest designs. The fluid has been removed to preserve the painted surfaces. There is some chipped paint loss at NE and NW which are easily over looked. The bananas are actually air chambers and allow the card to float with very little downward pressure on the center pivot when the fluid is present. This is a very nice feature, but makes for a very expensive compass for its time. It measures 8 1/2" outside diameter and is fitted with a 6 3/4" card. The card has a curved outer ring which is hung at the center point. This type mounting is in the form of what we have coined as a "banana beam". It is unique to this rare design.  

The subdivisions are in Cardinal Points, N.S,E,W, and quarter points, NE,SE,SW,NW, and then 1/2 points. There are 64 points on the compass card, each being 5 5/8 degrees.

MAGNETISM: Over the years magnetism diminishes, but this card will still seek North, all be it a little slowly. Hence it is a functioning marine compass, but is intended solely for display. It has a salty look and reeks of places such as the Grand Banks so it is ready to give years of enjoyment to its next custodian.

 
Ritchie compass
                                    showing Patent dates image
Ritchie compasses serial number 7254 image
Last patent date 1870 shown over serial number 7254
 
 

DIMENSIONS: BOX 11 3/4" x 11 3/4" x 6"                     Weight 12 Lbs. 8 oz.

Compass bowl               8 1/2" diameter
Card                               6 3/4" diameter

The Ritchie
                                    unboxed Bananna compass image
The unboxed twin beam banana style compass
 
Showing the single gimbal of the 6 3/4" twin banana design

BRIEF HISTORY E.S. RITCHIE COMPANY, BOSTON:

In 1850 physicist Edward S. Ritchie began developing the first U.S. manufactured marine compass. He had received a contract to repair foreign-made compasses from the Boston Naval Shipyard, and he soon realized most of the problems he encountered could be eliminated. So when the US Naval Observatory put out a call for American Manufactured navigational instruments in 1861 it was no surprise who they contacted first.

Ritchie completed and sent samples of his work (including the first ever liquid filled compass) in June of 1861 and by August he received an order from the US Navy for 26 compasses, 10 of which were liquid filled. At this time Ritchie began selling compasses under the name E.S. Ritchie & Co., which was later changed to E.S. Ritchie & Sons in 1867. To this day E.S. Ritchie & Sons continues to produce marine navigation instruments.

We have previously sold two other banana style Ritchie compasses. One had a 3" Card housed in a brass binnacle that was used in a dory. The other had a six inch card and was Stamped on the outer bezel with its Serial Number 6449 and three patent dates, Apr. 7, 1863, Sept 9, 1863 and July 19, 1870. This one falls into the tatter's time frame.

A model of Ritchie’s first liquid filled compass is on display today in the Museum of Science in London, England; the only foreign product so honored.

In 1951 the company was purchased by Marine Compass Company. Louis A. Sherman founded the Marine Compass Company in 1910 and concentrated on producing smaller instruments for commercial and fishing vessels as well as the emerging yachting markets. The two companies consolidated all operations under the name E.S. Ritchie and Sons and is still owned and managed by the Sherman Family.

FLAT RATE SHIPPING to 48 contiguous States $55.00

OUR UNCONDITIONAL 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. A prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer within the continental United States and are refundable if due to our error.

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.

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