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

Antique Sextant Rare New England Maker

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SEXTANT BY CHARLES. TABER NEW BEDFORD
This Rare Instrument Has Been Sold.
Thank you!

IMPORTANT  AMERICAN SEXTANT
C. TABER -  NEW BEDFORD Ca 1860

 
Presented is an ebony frame, ivory arc, antique sextant made by Charles Taber & Co. New Bedford.  There were few American makers of navigation instruments, most of which were imported from England. The Taber company was located in the heart of the whaling industry. There is a lot of New England history associated with this instrument.
 
BRIEF HISTORY OF CHARLES TABER: Born near New Bedford, MA on April 3, 1824, of Mayflower stock, and died in New Bedford in 1887. Taber shipped out on a whaler at 15. After many years at sea, he became master of his own vessel. When gold was discovered in California, Captain Taber sailed around Cape Horn in August 1848. For a time, he was engaged in the transportation of troops for the U.S. government. Taber was later the captain of a ferry boat which plied the waters between San Francisco and Sacramento. He returned to New Bedford and continued a career ashore in the instrument business with his brother William, starting in 1849, as a maker of navigation instruments and the firm also became a printer. The Taber firm was active until the 1880's and went into the art business. 
 
There is a label of Charles R. Sherman, a nautical instrument dealer on the inside cover over stamped in red with C.R. Sherman & Son. The elder Sherman, at one time was associated with William C. Taber, Charles' father, in the nautical book business.The label reads:
 
Charles R. Sherman
dealer in
 Nautical, Mathematical and
Optical Instruments,
Charts, Nautical Books,
Patent logs, Stationery, &c.,
No. 49 North Water Street, New Bedford.
 
 

Charles Taber was in business in New Bedford from in the mid 19th Century. He is briefly listed in Webster's Registry of Instrument Makers' Signatures, but Taber had much more extensive operations than Webster's has a record of.
THE SEXTANT: This beautifully made instrument has a ribbed brass index armand measures 12 inches long on the index arm. The arc measures from - 5 to plus 110 degrees. The ivory plate on a cross bar between the two limbs is engraved "C. TABER & CO. NEW BEDFORD". The horizon mirror is on an adjustable turntable and can be rotated. Of special significance is the rib down the index arm, the tangent screw, ivory vernier scale, reading from right to left from 0 to 20 arc minutes, a peep sight, and two sets of sun shades all of which help date the instrument. There is no provision for a handle on this sextant. All these features indicate it is a transitional piece between an octant and a sextant which we date as having been made around 1860.

FEATURES CONSIDERED:Some time after 1780, the addition of a tangent screw, as fitted to this instrument, allowed for fine adjustment and represents one of the two major changes in the basic operation of the octants and sextants for the next 150 years! The second was the fitting of a second set of shades and a ribbed index arm. And after wards, telescopes and handles were added.

                                   Back of instrument showing machinery and ivory note pad

SEXTANT CONDITION: The sextant has been recently polished and lacquered and is in exceptional condition. The mirrors are in very good condition considering their age and use. The ivory scale is in perfect condition. The engraving is sharp and distinct. Present is a small ivory note pad on the back, but the ivory pencil cap is missing. The shades are complete and in good working order. The ebony frame shows as near new. All the original machinery is present, including a two hole peep sight.
 

THE CASE: The "keystone" solid Oak case shows considerable use and has a section of wood recently replaced on its bottom. It has an age crack on the top, the grain of which has a mottled appearance. There is a lock, but no key. There  is label inside from Charles R. Sherman & Son, New Bedford, an instrument and charts and nautical book dealer.
 
 
               Index mirror in good condition
 Horizon mirror in good condition

                                Maker's name
          Old style vernier reading from the right

DIMENSIONS:
 
Length of Index Arm 12 15/16"
Radius of Index Arm  11 3/4"
Width of frame at arc   11"
Index mirror 42 x 32 mm
Horizon mirror 32 x 25 mm
Weight sextant  2 Lbs 9 oz
 
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, 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 a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans. From 1995 to 2001, he was a Varsity Offshore Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
 
Rarely do you find aninstrument  with this pedigree in an outstanding condition. This is an exemplary presentation piece or gift, and is meant for someone who appreciates its rarity and historic value. 
 
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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