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Presenation Quality Octant Spencer Browning Rust for Adie & Son

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ADIE BACK SIGHT OCTANT by <br> Spencer, Browning & Rust

To view our current inventory of high quality antique sextants and octants, click here!

This Fine Instrument Has Been Sold!

ENGLISH BACK SIGHT PRESENTATION OCTANT
Strictly Elegant Condition!
 Spencer, Browning & Rust Engraving


Adie

PRESENTED

is an elegant back sight octant which could have been made as early as the first quarter of the 19th Century. It carries the name of Adie & Son, Edinburgh on the ivory cross bar of the frame. This company is known to have made various types of instruments such as stick barometers, surveying compasses, theodolites, telescopes, and mining compasses, but never a marine octant.
 
ADIE'S BRIEF HISTORY: They were active during the period, 1835-1857, as an optician, meteorological & mathematical instrument maker, located in Edinburgh, Scotland. The firm was founded by Alexander James Adie (1775-1858), an optician and instrument maker, in partnership between Alexander Adie (w.1823-1834) & his son. Adie & Son were appointed by King William IV, and manufactured domestic cistern barometers and marine barometers.

DESCRIPTION:

This mariner's octant was made during the last half of the 18th Century and is likely the work of Spencer.Browning & Rust under private label for Adie.  It has two horizon mirrors and two peep sights. The lower assemblage is for taking “back sights“ and the upper is for traditional observations. The mark, SBR, Spencer, Browning & Rust, appears on the arc between 45; and 50. SBR is known to be one of England's foremost instrument makers. The sharpness of the arc's numerals shows that this instrument was made to the highest level of then existing technology by a company that stood at the top of its trade. Some time ago, it was polished and lacquered making it suitable for presentation as an important gift.

backside of Adie octant image
                  The back shows the complex machined parts of the instrument


Adie & Son is listed in Webster's Database of Instrument makers for various instruments, but no sextants or octants.
The instrument is 14 inches on the vertical which is oversize for octants, but smaller than the typical Hadley style octant of 17“.  Hadley that invented the "double reflecting" principal introducing it to the Royal Society in London in 1731.

Seller's
      Adie & Son, Edinburgh n the crossbar  
Maker's initials, SBR image
            SBR initials between 45 and 50 degrees on the arc 


MARKINGS: You can clearly see the mark of SBR between 45 and 50 degree position on the arc. Adie's & Son name is on the cross piece of the arc. Inside the cover of the case on the right side, in pencil, is inscribed D 36 over 9/4 and at the bottom a lonely 3.
vernier of octant image
      Vernier reads from right to left 0 to 20 arc minutes  
closed star step case image
            Stair step case with broken hook 

DATING THE INSTRUMENT: The ivory arc measures from - 5 to plus 95 degrees on a 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 14 inches from its top to the bottom of the index arm. Tangent screws began replacing finger clamps in the last quarter of the 18th Century. There are two horizon mirrors, each 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 three shades which may be moved from the upper to lower position. The ivory vernier scale reads from right to left from 20 to 0 arc minutes. There are two peep sights. The adjustable tangent screw followed the use of the index arm clamp which ended around the last quarter if the 1700's.

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.

Index mirror image
      Index mirror and movable shade rack
Both horizon mirrors image
          Both horizon mirrors 

CONDITION: The instrument is in outstanding condition, except that there is a hairline age crack across the 30 degree mark. The graduated arc and all its hardware are original and exceptional. All three bronze legs are present. It has the original ivory pencil on the cross bar which are  usually missing from most instruments of this age. All three mirrors have most of their silvering, and are in excellent condition for their age. The machinery is all present and the shades are intact.

The Case is the early style “stair step“, keystone design of this period. Both the top and bottom are free of cracks. Two corks hold the instrument secure. There are no labels. It is strong and sturdy, and the octant fits as it should.  There is a lock, but no no key. The hook is present but its arm is broken.

Open case with octant inside image
                 Instrument in case. A few pencil notations on the right side


All in all, a rare, desirable, and special example of an early Hadley style octant
.

DIMENSIONS:

  • Arc reads - 5 to +95 degrees
  • Length of index arm 14" long
  • Width of frame at arc 11 1/4 " wide
  • Index mirror 50 x 34 mm
  • Horizon mirror - 30 x 22 mm
  • Back sight mirror - 30 x 22 mm
  • Three movable shade glasses
  • Two Peep sights
  • Weight octant 2 Lbs 9 oz
OUR 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 Board, 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 also a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans. From 1995 through 2000, he served as a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
 


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.

ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to seller, but credit cards may be accepted through PayPal for verified members by special arrangement.

This superior octant is for someone who will appreciate its elegant condition!

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