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

ANTIQUE EARLY ROBERT MERRILL, NEW YORK, BOXED BOAT COMPASS

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This Fine Relic Has Been Sold to an Heir. Thank You!
 
HISTORIC AMERICAN BINNACLE BOAT COMPASS BY ROBERT MERRILL, NEW YORK
 
PRESENTED is an unusual small boat binnacle "Wet Card" compass made by Robert Merrill, the noted American instrument maker sometime between 1840 and 1865. It dates from before his sons joined the firm and the name was changed by the addition of, "& Sons". The number on the case, 752 matches the number on the compass. Its small size makes it likely to have been used in a coastwise sailing vessel or maybe even in a whaleboat or fisherman's dory, and must be one of the early examples of a wet card compass in this country. It is an extraordinary find for some one who is seeking the rare and unusual. Very few examples of Merrill's work exist before his sons joined the firm in 1865, and those that do are hidden away in private collections and museums. We also are lucky enough to have a three legged yacht binnacle and boxed compass by the same maker. The yacht binnacle is pictured below to show the quality of workmanship and is not included in this offer.
 
THE COMPASS AND BOX: Antique wet card fully gimbaled compass is beautifully made and housed in a dove tail Mahogany box with lift top, and oval viewing port. The engraved card has a fancy fleur-de-lis at the north point over an ornate circular design. It is signed at the bottom of the "pointer" and around the center * ROBERT MERRILL * NEW YORK *. The card is divided  into eight Cardinal Points, each of 45 degrees, and then into 1/8 and 1/16th points. Each point subtends an arc of 11 1/4 degrees comprising in total 360 degrees of the compass. It rests on a brass pivot with a cap. The compass is in outstanding condition, 4 1/8" inches in diameter, with a 3 inch card. Interestingly, there is no lubber's line. Both compass and binnacle are marked 752. On the right top side of the case is a circular metal cover that plugs an opening that may have been for a lamp.
 
CONDITION: The box has a wood skirt for lateral stability which is not included in the dimensions. The dove tail case shows very minor wear, with no cracks or chips. There are some holes in its back, some of which are plugged, for mounting. The finish is a deep patina of age acquired over many years. Overall it is in outstanding condition and rated as "collector quality".
 
                    Back of case
             Old style compass card, no 752
 
COMPASS DIMENSIONS:  
 
BOX 7 3/8" W x 8" D x 7" H    
Compass Bowl diameter 4 1/8"
Card diameter                 3"
WEIGHT:                        3 pounds 
 
PROVENANCE: Robert Merrill was born in the seafaring town of Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1804. He first set up business as a "mathematical instrument maker" in New York in 1835 with a partner, William Davis at 36 Oak St. in New York City. In 1840 Merrill began business under his own name, first at 255 Front Street, NYC, continuing until 1865 when he took his sons into partnership, and the firm name changed to "Robert Merrill & Sons. Their first location was 149 Maiden Lane in NYC. Merrill was noted for making binnacles and compasses, and also imported and sold nautical instruments such as quadrants and sextants. His works are on display in museums, and there are extensive listings of him and his sons in the Webster Instrument Makers Database.
This is a one-of-a-kind important boxed compass made by a legendary instrument maker with certified credentials. Merrill's works are rarely found even in books on nautical antiques, and only a few museums have them on display. Don't miss this opportunity.
 
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 due to our fault.

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