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SAMUEL THAXTER SHIPS DRY COMPASS 1792

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This fine relic has been sold. Thank You!

SAMUEL THAXTER SHIPS COMPASS CARD ~ 1792

Guaranteed “Fine” 

 

Your chance to get a very rare piece of America's maritime history with a known provenance.
 This compass card made in 1792 is absolutely perfect in all respects.

PRESENTED IS A VERY IMPORTANT AMERICAN DRY COMPASS CARD made for Captain Hammene by one of the coutry's foremost instrument makers Samuel Thaxter. Cards like this are very rare, and this one is a late 18th century, American boxed, spare compass card in wooden pine box.This early Federal period  ship's compass card has a beautifully engraved paper card signed around the center brass pivot "THAXTER, MAKER, Head of Long Wharf, State Street, Boston". This address is clearly before street numbers were assigned. In checking in Webster's list of American Instrument Makers they note this address as the first of Thaxter's when he was working alone at the very begining of his career in 1792.
 
THE CARD: North is marked by an elaborate Fleu de les as the North pointer. As in most early cards, East is also emphasized with elaborate scroll work on each side. The compass rose shows the eight cardinal points and and is further divided to 1/16 points and then to 32. It measures 6 3/6 inches in diameter and has a finely made brass center housing with a gravity fit. The early form gimbal is hand wrought out of brass and fastened with paper and glue into the card. This simple arrangement makes the compass have a sensitive gimbal action, and when placed on the top of a pencil and tipped, the compass will rock for several seconds while it seeks North and comes to rest!
 
THE WOODEN BOX: is of hand mitered pine construction measuring nearly 7 3/8 inches square and 1 1/2 inches high. It has a lid which is nailed in place. This very early American dry card is in outstanding, original condition. It is functional and exhibits little of its great age with no damage, but with a warm golden hue.

                      Original Label
                  The address dates the card
           1834 German newspaper cushion
                      Reverse side of card

 

THE LABEL READS: Old and soiled, In a beautiful penmanship of the period,

Spare Compas Card
  For the Ship (illegible)
Captain Hammene
 
 
BONUS FIND: The compass card rests on white tissue paper with a rectangular hole in its center. It is of recent vintage. Beneath it is a very old newspaper in what may be German dated January, 1883, certainly worth translating.
This find should appeal to a collector seeking only the most unusual and best for a world class collection.
 
HISTORY: Samuel Thaxter was born in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1769 and died 1842. He apprenticed to William Williams, maker of a backstaff in 1768 with a King Street, Boston address. Upon Williams' death in 1792 Thaxter took over the nautical instrument making business, moving to Long Wharf, State Street, Boston in 1792. His address was first advertised as "Head of Long Wharf". During the 18th century, prior to the advent of street numbers, a business location was quite often identified by a landmark, such as "At the sign of the Little Admiral" or "Head of Long Wharf." The lack of a street number on this compass indicates a date which coincides with Webster's which we repeat here. "at the Head of Long Wharf (1792); 125 State Street (1796-1842); both in Boston, Mass."
 
From Smart' The Makers Of Surveying Instruments In America Since 1700  Troy, New York:  Regal Art Press,  1962,  we find in addition that he is first listed in the 1796 Boston Directory as a mathematical instrument maker.  In the 1822-23 edition, the business is listed as Samuel Thaxter & Son (Joseph H. 1801-1835).  Samuel Thaxter's grandson, Samuel Thaxter Cushing (1821-1882), took over the business around 1843. Upon the death of Samuel Thaxter Cushing, his widow, Abby C. Cushing took over management of the business until 1905 at which time Herbert Risteen Starratt became manager.  The last entry of the company (Samuel Thaxter & Son) in the Boston Directory is 1916."   

International buyers welcome,
but inquire first.
 
 We have satisfied customers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

Inquire about this very special article of American maritime history Now!   What a great find for that special person who can appreciate only the best.

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