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#Presenation Quality 3 Ring Sextant Capt. P.V.H. Weems Provenance

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Presenation Quality 3 Ring Hughes Sextant Capt. P.V.H. Weems Provenance

 

 
 

 LIKE NEW PRESENTATION QUALITY
HENRY HUGHES & SON
THREE RING SEXTANT

Galley view of Weems' Hughes 1940 Three Ring Sextat image

Former Property of CAPT. P.V.H. Weems, USN

Copyright 2016 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved
 

PRESENTED is a Henry Hughes Three Ring sextant in like new condition that was purchased by then LCDR P.V.H. Weems, USN-Ret on 11 April 1940 for the Weems School of Navigation. Weems is the famous award winning celestial navigator that authored books on air navigation, taught Charles Lindberg how to do it, invented a WW II navigation plotter and split seconds watch and the star curve templates which simplified their identification. He was awarded two gold medals for his achievements. This instrument was then sold to a student of Weems who served as an instructor teaching celestial navigation during WW II. It was purchased from this person's estate and appears to never have been used by him even in the classroom. Accompanying the sextant is the original Hughes invoice to Weems System of Navigation in Annapolis, MD., and three pages of hand written notes, presumably those of the last owner.

DESCRIPTION: Extra fine Word War II Era mariner's sextant with an extended arc from  -5 to +135 degrees that almost equals a quintant. It has a graduated insert made of a proprietary metal that Hughes called “Platina“ (platinum) arc and vernier, with brass frame and fittings. Engraved at mid-center of the arc at the bottom is "Henry Hughes & Son Ltd., London". Hughes was one of England's foremost “Class A“ instrument makers. Over this is the serial number 23936. The instrument is shown with the 2 1/2 power Star scope fitted.

The original inspection certificate issued by Hughes in October 4, 1940 is mounted in the case. No error is greater than 30 arc seconds over its usable range.

ACCESSORIES: All the original accessories are included consisting of a terrestrial sighting tube, the aforesaid star scope, bottle of oil, adjustment pick for mirrors, and key for the case.

Rear view of he Weems 3 ring Hughes sextant image

The three ring design was used by C. Plath and the English firms of both Heath and Hughes in vast quantities because of the inherent strength of the frame's design. This sextant is fitted with larger than the normal size mirrors for this period so it is highly suitable for twilight sights when the low powered Star scope is fitted.

Vernier of Weems' three ring sextant image
 Weems' tag, Serial No. on arc. Platinma insert on arc

INSTRUMENT CONDITION: The mirrors are in remarkably near new condition and show little age with only the horizon mirror having two tiny specs. The index arm quick release clamp, and swing arm magnifier are complete and in good working order. Regrettably, the lens cap for the scopes is missing. This is a rarely used piece. The lighting system works. The frame has a beautiful midnight black wrinkle finish. Overall, the instrument is in exceptional condition with 100% of the original factory varnish on the brass hardware. This is remarkable for its 76 year age.

Weems' Hughes 3 ring in open pox image
     Showing  the Weems' Hughes 3 Ring and all its accessories in its case
 
 

BRIEF HISTORY OF CAPT. P.V.H. WEEMS, USN-Ret: Philip Van Horn Weems was born in Tennessee, the son of Joseph Burch and May Elizabeth Rye Weems. When he was a child, he and his six brothers and one sister were orphaned.

He received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1908. At the Academy, he excelled at various sports, and was an All-American center on the Navy football team. He graduated in the class of 1912 and was commissioned an ensign. He specialized in navigation and taught at the Academy. In 1915, he married Margaret Thackray.

Picture on the right shows LCDR Weems congratulating then CDR Richard E. Byrd prior to his elevation to RADM on his flight to the South Pole in 1929.

In 1927, Weems was sent to the Aircraft Squadron Battle Fleet, before being assigned to the tanker USS Cuyama as its executive officer from 1928 to 1930. He retired for the first time in 1933 with the rank of lieutenant commander. Weems returned to active service in 1942, serving in World War II as a convoy commander, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. He was promoted to captain in 1945 and retired the following year.

With the dawn of the space age, he was called upon to teach space navigation at the Naval Academy from 1961 to 1962.

The Weems had two sons and a daughter, Margaret. Both sons predeceased him. Major Philip van Horn Weems, Jr. was killed in the southwest Pacific in 1943, while Lieutenant Commander George Thackray "Bee" Weems died while testing an airplane. Philip Van Horn Weems died on June 2, 1979, at the age of ninety.

Navigational contributions

Weems and his wife established the Weems School of Navigation in 1927. After Charles Lindberg completed his celebrated solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, the Navy assigned Weems to teach him celestial navigation for a month in 1928. Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart's navigator on her last flight, considered him his mentor.  After his first retirement, Weems wrote several books; Air Navigation (1931) was particularly well received, and was awarded a gold medal by the Aero Club of France. In 1935, he patented the Mark II Plotter. Another invention was the Second Setting Watch. According to the Institute of Navigation, however, "his proudest achievement" was the Star Altitude Curves, which simplified finding one's position; it was adopted by the Army Air Corps prior to World War II.

Honors

In 1953, Weems was awarded the Magellanic Premium, an honor given for contributions to navigation, astronomy or natural philosophy. It has been awarded only 33 times to 40 people since it was established in 1786. In 1960, Weems received a gold medal from the American Institute of Navigation. The institute also created an annual award named after him. In 1968, the National Geographic Society awarded him the John Oliver la Gorce Medal. Mount Weems in Antarctica is named in his honor. Credit wikipedia

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HUGHES FAMILY: The Hughes family were originally clock makers in the East End of London who progressed into supplying sextants and chronometers to ships coming into the River Thames. In 1712 Thomas Hughes became a member of the Worshipful Company of Clock makers at the age of 26, and was elected as Master of the Worshipful Company of Clock makers in 1742. His son, Thomas Hughes (junior), had his business at 25 New Bond Street, London, and was elected as Master of the Worshipful Company of Clock makers in 1762. In 1781 William Hughes, believed to be the son of Thomas Hughes Junior, was elected freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clock makers and sold a cabin clock to captain Cook. Joseph Hughes, believed to be the son of William born in 1781, lived and worked at 16 Queen Street, Ratcliffe. He was to become a well-known maker of quadrants and compasses. His son Henry Hughes was born in 1816.

Henry Hughes & Son was founded in 1838 at 120, later 59, Fenchurch St. in London, as an optician and maker of chronographic and scientific instruments. Henry died in 1879 and his son Alexander succeeded him as chairman. The firm was incorporated as Henry Hughes & Sons Ltd in 1903 and in 1923, the company produced its first recording echo sounder. In 1935, a controlling interest in the company was acquired by S. Smith & Son Ltd resulting in the development of marine and aircraft instruments. Following the London office's destruction in the Blitz of 1941, a collaboration was entered into with Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird Ltd, resulting in the establishment of Marine Instruments Ltd. Following the formal amalgamation of Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird Ltd and Henry Hughes & Sons Ltd in 1947 to form Kelvin & Hughes Ltd, Marine Instruments Ltd acted as regional agents in the UK for Kelvin & Hughes Ltd who were essentially now a part of Smith's Industries Ltd founded in 1944 as the successors of S. Smith & Son Ltd. The well known "HUSUN" trademark was in use starting in the 1920s.

HENRY HUGHES 3 Ring sextant comes complete with:

One sighting tube
One low powered Star scope
Mirror adjustment pick
One vial of oil 
 (old should not be used)

The non tarnishing platinum scale is calibrated -5 to +135 degrees with a vernier scale on the drum reading from 0 to 60 arc seconds in 15 second intervals. The sextant has four rectangular shades for the index mirror, and three round shades for the horizon mirror, all in good order. The telescope's distance from the frame may be adjusted by turning a knob at the back of the rising piece. This most useable feature was discontinued in later sextants because of its high cost. The instrument and it's accessories are housed in a square Mahogany carrying case which has brass hinges and latches and a lock, and key. The case has what may be a later lined green felt interior. The exterior has bright varnish with the top having a three inch crack on the top right and a crack on the bottom running its length. These do not effect its strength.

 

Weems' Hughes 3 Ring's flawless index mirror image
Weems' Hughes 3 Ring's Near flawless horizon mirror image
       Index mirror shown over horizon mirror. Both near new 
 

 

Maker's certificate of non-adjustable error on the Weems' instrument image
                  Maker's certificate of non-adjustabe error
 

LABEL: On the inside top of the case is a green label with the maker's instructions on how to care for the instrument.

THE CASE: The hardwood case has an 3 inch age crack at the top right and on the length of the bottom when viewed from the front. Neither of these have affected its structural integrity. The inside is lined in green felt that is worn in spots. Otherwise, it is in excellent solid condition, even with two age cracks.  As would be expected, there also are some scratches. There is a  key. The exterior is varnished and has a developed a patina of age.

Closed sextant case of the Weems' 3 ring Hughes sextat image

 

A highly desirable collectible or for presentation due to its P.V. H. Weems provenance.

DIMENSIONS:

Length of index arm      9 1/4“
Radius of arc                6 3/4"
Width of frame at arc    8 1/4"
Index mirror                  47 x 33 mm
Horizon mirror               32 x 25 mm
Weight                           3 Lbs 14 oz     Total weight 8 lbs 15 oz

 

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer if an error is due to our fault.

FLAT RATE SHIPPING & PACKING by FedEx Ground Insured for to the 48 contiguous states for $45.00.

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Copyright 2016 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved