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

Antique Artificial Horizon for Sextant by KEUFFEL & ESSER Ca 1890

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This Fine Relic Has Been Sold. Thank you!
 
FINEST QUALITY ANTIQUE AMERICAN ARTIFICIAL HORIZON 
by KEUFFEL & ESSER Co.
 
 

Presented is a beautifully made artificial horizon that dates from around the last quarter of the 19th Century. It was made by Keuffel & Esser Co., of St. Louis, Chicago & San Francisco a maker of all types of instruments and telescopes, for service by the military and U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey and other users. Examples of their instruments are displayed by the Smithsonian. This type of device which has a steel tub to hold the mercury was used as a reflecting surface. It has a glass faced hood to minimize wind, which is an advanced design and until recently was still being made by Davis Instruments, using plastic rather than the brass and steel as in this example's construction. The can which was used to hold the mercury has evidence of its use inside. It has a steel plug and pouring spout which screws into the reflecting base to retrieve the Mercury without spilling. We have not seen this feature before.
 
Reflective artificial horizons date all the way back to about the 1730's and are still in use today as a training aid, but more importantly for dry land navigation.
 
The early designs were based on the idea that liquid would self level and form a natural horizon. But that requires a liquid with a good reflective surface that was placed in a pan large enough to not have surface friction along its edges. One of the best reflective surfaces of the time was Mercury, though oil, water. and molasses could be used. Some of these devices could be quite complex because the liquid might be captured in a separate chamber when not in use, and had to be enclosed so as not to be disturbed by the wind.
 
                      Side view of hood
                Housed in very compact Case
                   Front view of hood
CONDITION: This beautiful instrument is housed in a dovetail Mahogany wood case whose top has two triangular dents, and other minor sundry dings and scratches. There are two leather straps missing from the side that acted as a carrying handle. The serial number on the case and on the hood do not match. Otherwise, it is in excellent overall condition. The instrument it self is in "like new" condition with all its bluing except for some paint that has flaked off with the passing of time. Overall, it may be considered a superb piece of the highest quality without exception.
 
 
DIMENSIONS:
Mahogany Case       8 1/2" L x 5 7/8" W x 6 1/8" H       2lbs 4 oz
Horizon tub                6 1/2" L x 3 1/2" W x 3/4" H          2 lbs 8 oz
Can                            4 3/4" H x  2 3/4" Dia                    1 lbs  8 oz
 
Total Weight     6 lbs 4 oz
 
HISTORY Keuffel & Esser:

William J. D. Keuffel (1838–1908) and Herman Esser (1845–1908), both recent immigrants from Germany, began in business in New York in 1867, selling drawing materials and drafting supplies. K&E, as the firm was soon known, began offering surveying instruments in 1876, built a three-story factory in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1880. and was incorporated in 1889.

K&E introduced a new line of surveying instruments in the early 1890s, describing them as "a thorough departure from all the styles of similar instruments previously made," and noting that many of their improvements were "the product of the genius of our Mr. John Paoli." John Paoli was an Italian who lived in Hoboken, and who obtained several patents for such things as the twisted standards of a transit, the compass box, the leveling screws, and a telescope with stadia wires and cross hairs.

K&E obtained control of Young & Sons in 1918, and made it the Y&S department of their firm. K&E ceased production around 1969.  From the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

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 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, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, 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 before bidding to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

Buy this very special antique artificial horizon Now! What a great find for that special collection that includes only the finest and most noteworthy.

THE FINE PRINT: We take extra special care in shipping by UPS Ground and require the item be insured for your protection and ours. Shipping is an additional charge to the buyer, but we bill it honestly covering only our out-of-pocket expenses. Payment should be made within 5 days. The preferred method is by PayPal. However, we take VISA, MASTERCARD, Money Orders, and Personal Checks. If you pay by a personal check, expect a week delay for the item to clear before we ship. We ship worldwide, but  international customers contact us beforehand. 

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