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

RARE ANTIQUE PRESENTATION OCTANT SEXTANT BY G. HEATH LONDON

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LINKS
Price on Application, inquire info@landandseacollection.com
This Fine Instrument Has Been Sold. Thank You!
 
See our current inventory of Antique sextants and ocatants here http://www.landandseacollection.com/id320.html
 
 
RARE & UNUSUAL
19TH Cent TRANSITIONAL PRESENTATION OCTANT - COMPLETE

 
Presented is an ebony frame, ivory arc, antique sextant by the  British instrument maker, G. Heath, London. It looks like it has been preserved in a time capsule and never used. Most all the brass was finished with a swirl pattern which is highly unusual for an instrument of  this period and is why we believe it made for a special purpose.
 
G. Heath was in business during the mid 19th Century and may be related to the more famous Thomas Heath firm, and its predecessors. G. Heath is listed in Webster's Registry of Instrument makers. The original Thomas Heath firm's operations date back to 1720 when Thomas Heath, the elder, began making instruments on the Strand in London. Many people associated with the family firm went on to become prominent instrument makers on their own. Such men as Throughton, and Watkins worked there for a time before establishing their own shops. In 1845 Thomas Heath, II took the helm and the firm's name was changed to Heath & Co., and it continued in business until the mid 20th Century. The Heath three ring design Hezzanith sextant is likely the most numerous ever produced, and can still be found in great quantity today.
 
There are very few of G. Heath instruments known to exist and nothing is known of the maker's history other than he is listed in Webster's Database of Instrument Makers. A similar example of this instrument may be seen at the Ladd Observatory, Brown U., Providence, R.I. There also is a picture of a similar instrument and reference in  the book Nautical Antiques by Robert W.D.Ball, page 139, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA 19310, (C) 1994.
 
This octant dates from the mid 19th Century. Except for a very few exceptions, it is in outstanding condition with all its metal machinery, and sharply engraved ivory in place. Rarely seen with instruments of this age, is the small ivory plate on the backside and the ivory cap for a lead pencil to record the reading of the observations.
 
The arc measures from - 5 to plus 105 degrees. The ivory plate on a cross bar between the two limbs is engraved "G. Heath London".
 
The sextant has a ribbed brass index arm measuring 12 inches long with a diameter of arc of 9 3/4". The horizon mirror is on an adjustable turntable and can be rotated by a horizontal knob and locked in position by another knob on the sextant's reverse. There are three rectangular sun shades for the index mirror, but none for the horizon mirror. Note the early form  ivory vernier scale, reading from right to left from 0 to 20 arc minutes, two hole peep sight with "flap", and only three sun shades all of which help date the instrument. There is no provision for a handle on this instrument which marks it as a transitional piece between an octant and a sextant.

Some time after 1780, the addition of a tangent screw, as fitted to this instrument, allowed for fine adjustment and represents one of the two major changes in the basic operation of the octants and sextants for the next 150 years! The second was the fitting of telescopes. As was the practice with octant's of this size, this sextant was not fitted with a handle which indicates it is one of the earliest of that type made.

INSTRUMENT CONDITION: The sextant is in excellent condition and looks like it sat on a shelf somewhere and never used. The horizon mirror has no corrosion and only a few age cracks. The index mirror has a dark "T" in its center, but is completely useable. All the ivory is in perfect condition, and the engraving is sharp and distinct. The index arm clamp's screw works freely. The tangent screw and other adjustment knobs work, and the shade glasses are complete and in good working order. The ebony frame shows as near new except for a small imperfection where the cross member meets the frame on the right. The instrument has its original machinery, an adjustment wrench and a two hole peep sight. Everything is original and in good working order and this instrument rates 5 Stars.
 

THE SEXTANT'S CASE: The sextant is housed in a keystone case, complete with no key. It has two age cracks on its bottom right corner and a chip missing at the top right, but is good and sturdy. Somewhere in the past, the top of the case was sanded across the grain and the case was refinished. It has some water stains inside, but otherwise is clean. There is no label.
 
                            Maker's Name
                               Vernier scale

                  Shades and index mirror
                  Peep sight and horizon mirror

SEE MORE PICTURES IN THE GALLERY BELOW

All in all, a highly desirable and worthwhile example from one of the lesser known English instrument makers.
DIMENSIONS:
Length of frame 12"
Width of frame at arc 9 3/4"
Index mirror 48 x 32 mm
Horizon mirror 27 x 23 mm
Weight 2 Lbs 5 oz
 
OUR CREDENTIALS: We are one of the few people selling Old World navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether my opinion counts, I was the editor of the chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of "Bowditch", The American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9; a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Navigation Symposium Board, 1975-1978; the author of a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime Press,1975, and the founding president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction of the MS 733 Spica, the MS 833, Jupiter, MS 933 Venus sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. I am also a retired Master Mariner, and formerly held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans.
Rarely do you find a special instrument that is that is 157 years old in this original condition with its original. A superior
addition to any collection.
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 contact us first. We have customers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

Buy this very special sextant Now! What a great find for that special person who can appreciate only the finest and most unusual.

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