Nautical Antiques & Marine Art at Land and Sea Collection™ Dive Helmets, Ship Models, Sextants

Antique Lord Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Threaded Compass & Display

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To view an earlier and museum quality example of this antique dry card compasses, click here!

This Great Old Display Compass Has Been Sold.

Thank you!

KELVIN, BOTTOMLEY & BARD -
SIR WILLIAM THOMSON

GIANT SHIPS THREADED COMPASS ~ Ca 1920

Guaranteed “ Extra Fine”

Your chance to get a very rare piece of maritime history with a pedigreed history of historic men and companies

PRESENTED IS A VERY IMPORTANT ENGLISH DRY CARD COMPASS made by Kelvin, Bottomley & Bard. It is based on a design of a light weight dry compass card invented by Sir William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin of Largs. The threaded compass were originally made when he was in partnership with James White who produced many of his instruments. James White was Kelvin's original partner from the time he began his first experiments with the magnetic compass which made him famous. See the history below. In 1913, Kelvin & James White Ltd became Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd, a name under which they operated until 1947. This example is mounted in a contemporary Cherry display stand.

The huge compass is housed in a large tub with bronze bezel, brass upper structure and brass lower section with a mechanical expansion bellows.

Few of these threaded compasses have survived, and the later versions with the mechanical bellows where quickly made obsolete when World War One loomed on the horizon. The design of this compass of Kelvin, Bottomley & Bard dates back to about 1903, and was likely made around 1920 well before Kelvin- Hughes was formally merged into Henry Hughes & Sons in 1947, and much later into Smith Industries. (See company's history below)

This compass is a larger version of the one that was from the Clipper Ship Flying Cloud that was offered at auction by Bonham's Nautical Auction in 2004 for $8000.00

 

 

 


THE CARD:
The card is made from beautifully engraved paper engraved with an elaborate Fleur des Lis at the North point with the number 958 on its side. The paper is cut, approximately every 20 degrees to allow for it to be suspended from the center pivot point by silk threads which are attached to six magnetized needles.

The compass rose shows the eight cardinal points and is further divided to 1/16 points and then to 32. On the outer perimeter are degrees that are graduated from 0 to 90 degrees for each quadrant. It measures 6 inches in diameter and has a finely made brass center cap.

This complex arrangement was supposed to reduce drag and make the compass less sensitive to the pitching, rolling and course variations of a ship. 

 



There is a lubber's line with arrow that marks the course to which the ship's head is pointing.
There is a bronze bezel with two holders that accept the pinions of the compass bowl and serve as the means of attaching it to the display stand. There is no box with this compass.

CONDITION:
The compass card, bowl, and bezel are in excellent working condition, but some of the threads have stretched so that the card bows down on the North and South axis toward the edge. This does not affect its operation or accuracy. There are some faded white marks of paint or prehaps oxidation on the gimbals and tub.


DIMENSIONS:

Diameter of bowl
11 1/4" Diameter of card 10"
Depth of bowl 7"

BASE: 14 1/2” L x 11 1/4” W x 3/4” T Weight complete 18.5 Lbs

Fleur des Lis North pointer and card size
Maker's name, address and SN 2766
View showing gimbals
Card is bowed towards the N & S edge

This important compass should appeal to a collector seeking only the most unusual and best for a world class collection.

BRIEF HISTORY OF INVENTOR: William Thomson (1824-1907), Lord Kelvin of Largs

William Thomson was a mathematical physicist, engineer in the physical sciences of the 19th century. He did work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He is widely known for developing the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature measurement. In 1892, the title Baron Kelvin was given in honour of his achievements, and named after the River Kelvin, which flowed past his university in Glasgow, Scotland.

He also enjoyed a second career as a telegraph engineer and inventor, a career that propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, and, fame and is widely known in the marine industry for his work on the magnetic compass.

MARINE ACCOMPLISHMENTS & COMPANY HISTORY: Thomson was an enthusiastic yachtsman, his interest in all things relating to the sea.

Thomson introduced a method of deep-sea sounding, in which a steel piano wire replaces the ordinary land line. The wire glides so easily to the bottom that "flying soundings" can be taken while the ship is going at full speed. A pressure gauge to register the depth of the sinker was added by Thomson.

About the same time he revived the Sumner method of finding a ship's place at sea, and calculated a set of tables for its ready application. He also developed a tide predicting machine.

During the late 1870's, Thomson worked to perfect the adjustable compass in order to correct errors arising from magnetic deviation owing to the increasing use of iron in naval architecture. Thomson's design was a great improvement on the older instruments, being steadier and less hampered by friction, the deviation due to the ship's own magnetism being corrected by movable masses of iron at the binnacle. Thomson's innovations involved much detailed work to develop principles already identified by George Biddell Airy and others but contributed little in terms of novel physical thinking. His energetic lobbying and networking proved effective in gaining acceptance of his instrument by The Admiralty.

The origins of this compass lie in the highly successful, but informal, relationship between William Thomson (1824-1907), Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University from 1846-1899 and James White, a Glasgow optical maker. James White (1824-1884) founded the firm of his name, in Glasgow in 1850. White was involved in supplying and repairing apparatus for Thomson's university laboratory and working with him on experimental models. Thompson had a long association with James White.

From 1876, White was producing compasses for metal ships to Thomson's design. White was also involved in the production of Thomson's other designs for laying cables at sea. White's association with Thomson continued until he died, and their company continued as Kelvin-White.

In 1884 Kelvin raised most of the capital needed to construct and equip new workshops in Cambridge Street, Glasgow. At the Cambridge Street premises, the company continued to make the compass Thomson had designed during the 1870s and to supply it in some quantity, especially to the Admiralty. At the same time, the firm became increasingly involved in the design, production and sale of electrical apparatus.
In 1899, Lord Kelvin resigned from his University chair and became, in 1900, a director in the newly formed company, Kelvin & James White Ltd which incorporated the business of James White. At the same time, Kelvin's nephew, James Thomson Bottomley (1845-1926), joined the firm.

Kelvin & James White Ltd underwent a further change of name in 1913, becoming Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd. Following the formal amalgamation of In 1947, Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird Ltd and Henry Hughes & Sons Ltd combined to form Kelvin & Hughes Ltd., and in 1964 became a part of Smith's Industries Ltd.

Some marine historians portray Thomson as a man of undoubted talent and enthusiasm, with some genuine knowledge of the sea, who managed to parlay a handful of modest ideas in compass design into a commercial monopoly for his own manufacturing concern, using his exulted personal reputation to repel even small claims of originality from others, and persuading the Admiralty and the law to overlook both the deficiencies of his own design and the virtues of his competitors. Edited and corrected from Wkiipedia and other sources.


BRIEF HISTORY OF HENRY HUGHES & SONS: Henry Hughes & Sons was founded in 1838 in London as a maker of chronographic and scientific instruments. 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 establishing 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.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original condition and packaging. Returns must be insured for their full value. All that is required is a prior email authorization by us for the return. Unfortunately, no refund can be made for the cost of shipping, packaging and handling unless we are at fault.


International buyers welcome
, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, 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 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 and the Eastern Caribbean.

SHIPPING & PACKING: The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our very special packing and shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

ACCEPTED 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. No checks from overseas buyers, no credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.

Buy this very special pedigreed relic of maritime history Now! What a great find for that special person who can appreciate only the best!

Copyright 2012 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To view our current inventory of antique and vintage dry card compasses, click here!

This Fine Display Compass Has Been Sold. Thank you!

 

KELVIN, BOTTOMLEY & BAIRD -
SIR WILLIAM THOMSON

GIANT SHIPS THREADED COMPASS ~ Ca 1900

Guaranteed “ Extra Fine”

Your chance to get a very rare piece of maritime history with a pedigreed history of historic men and companies

PRESENTED IS A VERY IMPORTANT ENGLISH DRY CARD COMPASS made by Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird. It is based on a design of a light weight dry compass card invented by Sir William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin of Largs. The huge compass is housed in a large bowl with bronze bezel, brass upper structure and lead crystal lower containment which holds oil as a ballast to keep the compass card level. The crystal is acid etched with the original maker's name, Kelvin & James White. The later was Kelvin's original partner from the time he began his first experiments with the magnetic compass which made him famous. See the history below.

This compass is a larger version of the one that was from the Clipper Ship Flying Cloud that was offered at auction by Bonham's Nautical Auction in 2004 for $8000.00

It is the only the second compass of this type that we have ever seen that was made to the Thomson design by anyone other than James White of Kelvin-White or Henry Hughes & Company which was the last Kelvin organization before it became Kevin-Hughes. However, the design of this compass of Kelvin, Bottomley & Bard dates back to about 1903, and was likely made around 1913 well before Kelvin- Hughes was formally merged into Henry Hughes & Sons in 1947, and much later into Smith Industries. We suggest that it was made in 1913. (See company's history below)

 

 




THE CARD:
The card is made from beautifully engraved paper engraved with an elaborate Fleur des Lis at the North point with the number 958 on its side. The paper is cut, approximately every 20 degrees to allow for it to be suspended from the center pivot point by silk thread which are attached to six magnetized needles.

The compass rose shows the eight cardinal points and is further divided to 1/16 points and then to 32. On the outer perimeter are degrees that are graduated fro 0 to 90 degrees for each quadrant. It measures 6 inches in diameter and has a finely made aluminum center cap which was a very expensive metal at that time.

This complex arrangement was supposed to reduce drag and make the compass less sensitive to the pitching, rolling and course variations of a ship.

COMPASS BOWL:
The bowl is made from a bronze containment at the top with a lead crystal bowl below. It is mounted to a contemporary Mahogany display stand.



There is a lubber's line with arrow that marks the course to which the ship's head is pointing. There is a bronze bezel with two holders that accept the pinions of the compass bowl and serve as the means of attaching it to the display stand. There is no box with this compass.

CONDITION:
The compass card, bowl, bezel and compass card are in exceptionally condition. The compass operates accurately.

DIMENSIONS:

Diameter of bowl
11 1/4" Diameter of card 10"
Depth of bowl 7"

BASE: 14” L x 10” W x 3/4” T Weight complete 18.5 Lbs

Fleur des Lis North pointer and card size
Maker's name and address
View showing lead balance weight top center
Side view on stand

This important compass should appeal to a collector seeking only the most unusual and best for a world class collection.

BRIEF HISTORY OF INVENTOR: William Thomson (1824-1907), Lord Kelvin of Largs

William Thomson was a mathematical physicist, engineer in the physical sciences of the 19th century. He did work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He is widely known for developing the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature measurement. In 1892, the title Baron Kelvin was given in honour of his achievements, and named after the River Kelvin, which flowed past his university in Glasgow, Scotland.

He also enjoyed a second career as a telegraph engineer and inventor, a career that propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, and, fame and is widely known in the marine industry for his work on the magnetic compass.

MARINE ACCOMPLISHMENTS & COMPANY HISTORY: Thomson was an enthusiastic yachtsman, his interest in all things relating to the sea.

Thomson introduced a method of deep-sea sounding, in which a steel piano wire replaces the ordinary land line. The wire glides so easily to the bottom that "flying soundings" can be taken while the ship is going at full speed. A pressure gauge to register the depth of the sinker was added by Thomson.

About the same time he revived the Sumner method of finding a ship's place at sea, and calculated a set of tables for its ready application. He also developed a tide predicting machine.

During the late 1870's, Thomson worked to perfect the adjustable compass in order to correct errors arising from magnetic deviation owing to the increasing use of iron in naval architecture. Thomson's design was a great improvement on the older instruments, being steadier and less hampered by friction, the deviation due to the ship's own magnetism being corrected by movable masses of iron at the binnacle. Thomson's innovations involved much detailed work to develop principles already identified by George Biddell Airy and others but contributed little in terms of novel physical thinking. His energetic lobbying and networking proved effective in gaining acceptance of his instrument by The Admiralty.

The origins of this compass lie in the highly successful, but informal, relationship between William Thomson (1824-1907), Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University from 1846-1899 and James White, a Glasgow optical maker. James White (1824-1884) founded the firm of his name, in Glasgow in 1850. White was involved in supplying and repairing apparatus for Thomson's university laboratory and working with him on experimental models. Thompson had a long association with James White.

From 1876, White was producing compasses for metal ships to Thomson's design. White was also involved in the production of Thomson's other designs for laying cables at sea. White's association with Thomson continued until he died, and their company continued as Kelvin-White.

In 1884 Kelvin raised most of the capital needed to construct and equip new workshops in Cambridge Street, Glasgow. At the Cambridge Street premises, the company continued to make the compass Thomson had designed during the 1870s and to supply it in some quantity, especially to the Admiralty. At the same time, the firm became increasingly involved in the design, production and sale of electrical apparatus.
In 1899, Lord Kelvin resigned from his University chair and became, in 1900, a director in the newly formed company, Kelvin & James White Ltd which incorporated the business of James White. At the same time, Kelvin's nephew, James Thomson Bottomley (1845-1926), joined the firm.

Kelvin & James White Ltd underwent a further change of name in 1913, becoming Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd. Following the formal amalgamation of In 1947, Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird Ltd and Henry Hughes & Sons Ltd combined to form Kelvin & Hughes Ltd., and in 1964 became a part of Smith's Industries Ltd.

Some marine historians portray Thomson as a man of undoubted talent and enthusiasm, with some genuine knowledge of the sea, who managed to parlay a handful of modest ideas in compass design into a commercial monopoly for his own manufacturing concern, using his exulted personal reputation to repel even small claims of originality from others, and persuading the Admiralty and the law to overlook both the deficiencies of his own design and the virtues of his competitors. Edited and corrected from Wkiipedia and other sources.


BRIEF HISTORY OF HENRY HUGHES & SONS: Henry Hughes & Sons was founded in 1838 in London as a maker of chronographic and scientific instruments. 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 establishing 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.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original condition and packaging. Returns must be insured for their full value. All that is required is a prior email authorization by us for the return. Unfortunately, no refund can be made for the cost of shipping, packaging and handling unless we are at fault.


International buyers welcome
, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, 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 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 and the Eastern Caribbean.

SHIPPING & PACKING: The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our very special packing and shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

ACCEPTED 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. No checks from overseas buyers, no credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.

Buy this very special pedigreed relic of maritime history Now! What a great find for that special person who can appreciate only the best!

Copyright 2012 - 2011 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved