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

HISTORIC HILGENDORF ~ C. PLATH NIGHT SEXTANT 1896

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  This Fine Sextant Has Been Sold. Thank You!

See our current inventory of Antique sextants and ocatants here http://www.landandseacollection.com/id320.html

VERY RARE C. PLATH HILGENDORF NIGHT  SEXTANT Ca 1896

 

Presented is a antique "NACHTBEOBACHTUNGEN" (NIGHT) sextant, made by C. Plath of Hamburg, Germany at the turn of the 19th Century. It is a very rare instrument that was conceived by Kaptain Robert Hilgendorf, (1852-1937) master of the Flying P Line's five masted bark POTOSI, at the time of its design. It was specifically for night observations. 

On October 26, 1896, he presented his findings to the Hamburg Nautical Association in the form of a sextant made for him by C. Plath . The instrument incorporated an extended horizon mirror with a much larger clear section that allowed much more of the horizon to be seen. It also used a telescope with a larger objective lens, and a wider field-of-view that transmitted more light to the observer's eye. Both these modifications made sight taking from a pitching deck in the evening more accurate. Since the instrument was primarily to be used at night, only a single index shade was fitted and no horizon shades were considered necessary.

The members of the association, after examining and testing the instrument, found it to be a "highly progressive step and a considerable improvement on previous instruments." This information was published in Plath's Catalog No. 5, Ca 1902. See the engraving of the instrument as it appeared in the Plath catalog sheet below.

Robert Hilgendorf was considered the most famous German 20th Century sailing master, and is credited with record passages in a number of ships. See http://www.mare-germanicum.de/seefahrt/seefahrt.htm

Even with this sponsorship, the sextant met with little interest and production ceased after only a few were made according to Peter Ifland in his book, "Taking the Stars", thus making this instrument even more valuable as a collectors item.

CONDITION: The sextant is in its last used condition having been maintained by someone who took great care since it shows absolutely no corrosion of its metal parts and elsewhere is in like new condition including the original varnish on its fittings. Unfortunately, the ocular lens of the magnifier is cracked, but still useable. The gradations of the arc are engraved on a platinum insert to reduce tarnish.

The mirrors are clear, sharp and with only a couple of small blemishes and one minor break in the silver of the horizon mirror. The Rosewood handle is nicely finished. The index arm clamp is complete and in good working order. The frame is finished in its original arsenic black coating without blemish. It is fitted with an original daylight telescope which mounts using a screw in disk that has the diameter of the night scope which is not included There is no certificate which is not unusual with older instruments. However in testing, the index and side error were found to be negligible.

MARKINGS: The C. Plath "stick man" logo is engraved on arc's left corner. Just above it is engraved 6469 the same number as on the case. C. Plath, Hamburg is marked at its center. At the top of the index arm, just below the index mirror are the initials, H.A.L. The case has the old style C. Plath plaque inside. The telescope is by Wetzlar an early binocular maker which became part of Zeiss. The bronze arc is calibrated -5 to 115 degrees with a vernier that reads from, right to left, 0 to 20 seconds of arc. 

THE CASE: The instrument is housed in a fitted Pine wood carrying case, marked 6469, which has varnished brass fittings. The number 6469 is imprinted on the case, and none on the sextant. The lock has no key. The case is in good strong condition, but a age crack on the top has been filled with wood putty. This does not affect its integrity, only its looks.  There is wood block whose purpose is unknown and the small pick used to adjust the mirrors is missing. The adjustment can be made using a needle.  

 

Outside of an engraving, this is the only C.Plath Hilgendorf's Night Sextant we have ever seen. One is noted in the definitive work on the topic of sextants, "Taking the Stars" by Dr. Peter Ifland, and is also prominently shown in Plath's own book, "From Sextant To Sarellite Navigation, 1837 - 1987" by Friedrich Jerchow. This is a rare addition to an important collection, and is priced accordingly. 

 

                Enlarged horizon mirror
         Near perfect index mirror

                      Owner's initials
 Serial number 6469 and Plath logo

QUALIFICATIONS: We are one of the few company's still selling navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether Joel's opinion counts, he 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. Joel is also a retired Master Mariner, and held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans. From 1995 through 2000, he served as a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
 
SPECIFICATIONS:
 
SEXTANT SN 6469:
 
Length of index arm    9 1/2"
Width of arc                8"
Index Mirror                 47 mm x 30 mm
Horizon Mirror             62 mm x 32 mm
 
SEXTANT WEIGHT     3 LBS 
CASE  10 1/4"W x 10 1/2" D x 6 5/8" H     WEIGHT 8 lbs
 
Rarely do you find a historic instrument that is that is 111 years old in this original condition with an exceptional pedigree. 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.

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. TO READ OUR COMPANY POLICES IN DETAIL CLICK HERE

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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