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

ANTIQUE FORD LONDON BACK SIGHT SEXTANT Ca 1870

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This Fine Sextant Has Been Sold. Thank you!
 
ANTIQUE SEXTANT
FORD * LONDON
 
 
 BACK SIGHT EQUIPPED 
Ca 1870
 

 
PRESENTED is a 19th Century "Ford of London" mariner's sextant with ebony frame. ivory graduated arc and vernier, and bronze fittings. The arc measures from - 5 to plus 110 degrees. This, all original, and very nicely made instrument has a brass index arm measuring a 11 3/4 inches with an early form ivory vernier scale, reading from right to left from 0 to 20 arc minutes, dual peep sights, three sun shades. and a third mirror and second peep sight which was used for taking back sights. The shades on this instrument are designed to be moved from the upper position to the lower position depending on which horizon is being used, i.e. in front of or behind the observer.
 
Back sight equipped instruments are normally found on octants and it is very unusual to see a sextant of this later period fitted with the extra machinery.
 
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT notations of Local Apparent Noon celestial observations are handwritten throughout the inside of the case's sides, top and bottom. They are a record that the most simple form of sights were being used by the navigator which allowed him to determine his latitude without using a lot of math or needing tables. The only information required was the declination of the sun at the time of the sight, and its observed altitude. Simple addition and subtraction solved the problem.Here the height observed of 34 d 45 minutes is deducted from 89 d 59m leaving a remainder of 55 d 15 m to which the sun's declination of 14 d 06 m has been deducted. The result is 40 d 09 m. In this case the navigator made a 10 m error. We` also do not know if he is North or South of the equator because he did not label declination as North or South. If the declination was South, he would have been in North Latitude.
 
PROVENANCE: The sextant was made by one of the Ford's or a descendant who are known to have been instrument makers in London. Gloria Clifton's Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851 (London, 1995), p. 103, mentions a John Ford (fl. 1851-1855) at 177 Shadwell High Street (London), who is known to have sold an octant. An earlier member of the Ford family, William Ford (perhaps the father of John Ford), resided in Cannon Street (London) in 1764 and was registered as an optician. Webster's Registry of Instrument Makers shows a George Ford who moved from England to the United States, but this is not relevant.

Recent ownership was by a  Connecticut yachtsman who had it in his collection for many, many years.

                   Maker Ford * London   
                            Old Style Vernier    Back
                        Shades in upper position
                 Shades in lower position

CONDITION: The instrument, its ivory name, graduated arc, and its hardware are in good condition, with a nice patina and verdigris of age. All three bronze legs are present. All the machinery is present and in working order except that the mirrors are degraded by age. The instrument has that nice antique look that comes with over 130 years of age. The original keystone case is good condition, missing only its key and a piece of cork. There is an old chip on its right front.

All in all, a nice example from a little known English instrument maker.

DIMENSIONS: 

  • Arc reads - 5 to +110 degrees
  • Length of index arm 11 3/4"
  • Width of frame at arc   9 3/4"
  • Index mirror         42 x 32 mm
  • Horizon mirror      24 x 20 mm
  • Back sight mirror  24 x 20 mm
  • Three index movable shade glasses
  • Two peep sights
  • Weight    2 Lbs  8 oz

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.

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, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, 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, will be calculated after the auction and is an additional charge. You may email us beforehand to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling. 

OUR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within five days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. A prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Unfortunately, shipping charges are not included in this offer and are non-refundable unless due to our error.

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 reasonably priced and specially equipped instrument Now! What a great find for that special collection.
Copyright 2008 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights Reserved

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