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

Famous Maker Early J. W. Norie Octant Ca 1795 Museum Eligible

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J.W. NORIE Early Octant Ca 1795

This Very Rare Instrument Has Been Sold. Thank you!

FAMOUS MAKER J.W. NORIE EARLY ENGLISH OCTANT Ca 1795
NORIE FOWLED ANCHOR LOGO on ARC 

  
PRESENTED is as rare an octant as you will find and one which will appeal to those familiar with the history of navigation. It was made by John William Norie (1772-1843), a mathematician, hydrographer, chart maker and publisher of nautical books, most famous for his Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805), which became a standard work on navigation and went through many editions, as did many of Norie's works. His known navigation instruments are few, and normally found in museums such as the British National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and the USS Constitution Museum in Boston.
 
Norie began his career working with William Heather, who had in 1765 taken over chart publishers Mount and Page, and who ran the Naval Academy and Naval Warehouse in Leadenhall Street from 1795; the Naval Warehouse provided navigational instruments, charts, and books on navigation. Norie took over the Naval Warehouse after Heather's retirement and founded the company J.W. Norie and Company in 1813. After Norie's death, the company became Norie and Wilson, then in 1903, Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson. They continue in business as chart makers and were based in London until 1939, and are now headquartered in St Ives in Cambridgeshire.
 
Even though Norie did not adopt the name of J.W. Norie & Co until 1813, the design of this instrument is earlier. For example, it does not have a tangent screw and there is no brace on the index arm, and it uses a peep sight rather than a telescope. It is fitted with only one set of shade glasses (filters). Imprinted on the arc between 45; and 50 is a partial anchor which the authoritative work, "SEXTANTS AT GREENWICH" by W.F.J. Morzer-Bruyns, shows Norie, among others, using this symbol.
 
The quality of the machining and beautifully crafted ebony frame indicate this instrument was made by an advanced  instrument maker, one who would stand at the top of his trade. The large size of the degrees and the variation in their width indicate they were hand engraved rather than cut by a machine.It has been polished and lacquered at an earlier time and is ready to be presented as a gift.
 
                  The back shows the inter related machined parts of the instrument

CONDITION: The instrument is in excellent condition. The graduated arc, and all its hardware are present. All three bronze legs are original. It has the often lost ivory pencil on the cross bar which is glued in place. The index mirror and horizon mirror only show a little age. The three shades are intact.  The knurled screw on the back is a replacement and accounts for the octant not resting evenly on its legs. There is a tiny split just above the crross bar on the aft side of the frame.
 
THE CASE is of keystone design.. The top has an age crack and there is a small piece missing from the bottom right corner, but everything is secure. There is a saw cut on the left front which is unusual. There are no labels or notations inside . There is a hook and eye but no lock.
 
 
      Maker's name on cross bar
Fowled Anchor mark between 50 & 45  
This octant is marked J. W. Norie & Co.London on the crossbar with the name listed in Webster's Database of Instrument Makers. This database has numerous references for all the names and companies associated with Norie. The instrument is 13 7/8 inches on the vertical which is still oversize for octants, but smaller than the typical Hadley style octant of 17.
     Vernier reads from the right in one minute increments
           Peep sight and good condition horizon mirror
MARKINGS: You can clearly see the flukes of a fowled anchor between 45 and 50 degree position on the arc. This mark is attributed to a number of makers including John Norie, Jessie Ramsden and others. The arc is hand scribed in large numbers each ten degrees, and in numbers half as large for the 5th degree. The vernier reads from the right from 0 to 20 minutes in one minute increments.

      Two red and one green shade glasses
            Index Mirror is in excellent condition   
     
      Closed case note saw mark

DATING THE INSTRUMENT: The ivory arc measures from - 5 to plus 95 degrees on an Ebony frame which is in excellent condition. It is known that Mahogany went out of use in favor of Ebony some time after 1750. The octant has a  flat brass index arm, without a stiffening brace, that measures 13 7/8 inches to the bottom of the index arm. Tangent screws began replacing finger clamps in the last quarter of the 18th Century. The horizon mirror is mounted on an adjustable turntable where the base can be rotated by loosening a screw which locks the mirror's position. There is a single set of fixed shades, three in number. The ivory vernier scale, reads from right to left from 20 to 0 arc minutes. There is a single peep sight. The adjustable tangent screw followed the use of the index arm clamp which ended around the last quarter if the 1700's. This instrument has a clamp. The gradations are cut by hand rather than machine.

All of these features date the instrument after 1750 and before 1800. See Peter Ifland's comprehensive sextant work, "Taking the Stars". particularly figure 64, page 57.

 

                Open fan style case. No markings or labels


A very rare and pedigreed example of an early octant of a famous Maker
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DIMENSIONS:

  • Arc reads - 5 to +95 degrees
  • Length of index arm 13 7/8" long
  • Radius of index arm  12"
  • Width of frame at arc 11 1/2 " wide
  • Index mirror 50 x 35 mm
  • Horizon mirror - 28 x 24 mm
  • Three shade glasses
  • Peep sight
  • Weight octant 2 Lbs 2 oz
SHIPPING & INSURED PACKING byFedEx Ground to the 48 contiguous States,$50.00

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer within the continental United States if an error is due to our fault.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.

STANDARD 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. Our prices are quoted net to us so that the use of credit cards or PayPal incur extra charges. Terms on overseas sales may be different. 

This early octant is a special find for someone who appreciates a rare 18th Century instrument. 

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