ANTIQUE NEGUS DRY CARD
TELL TALE COMPASS Ca 1880
Shown Above in Overhead Position & Below as it would Display. Outstanding Original
Condition: Telltale or tell tale compasses
are one of the rarest found. This one is a perfect example of a mid 19th Century captain’s cabin compass. It has a special
dry card for viewing when it is hung over a bunk making it a special find. Highly desirable for any important collection
or as a gift.
Weight 4 lbs 8 oz
a large size tell tale compass made by the preeminent firm of T.S. & J.D. Negus of New York City. It has the
old style paper card which which is figured in compass points of 11 1/4 degrees. When it mounted overhead, the large
size of the card makes it easily readable. This type compass was normally found in the captain’s cabin, over his bunk
or desk. It is housed in a earlier polished and lacquered cartridge brass gimbaled case which is suspended from
a brass bracket. The brass-work has taken on a slight patina of age, but the lacquer coating is still in good condition.
This is a high quality instrument from a famous maker and is in perfect original condition with only a few dents
and scratches to show its former use at sea.
COMPASS USE: This type compass is designed to hang from the overhead. They were most frequently found in the captain’s
cabin over his bunk or desk. Off watch he could keep an eye on the ships heading while he was resting at sea, and also keep
track of wind changes when at anchor. This one is a wonderful example of a high quality American instrument of the mid 1800’s. THE COMPASS CARD:
The highly ornate Fleur des Lis is the North pointer. The outer ring of the compass card is graduated in 128 marks, 32
in each quadrant. Each mark represents 2.8125 degrees which is the equivalent of one quarter “point”.
The inner subdivisions are in Cardinal Points, N.S,E,W, and quarter points, NE,SE,SW,NW, then 1/2 points. There are 32
points on the compass card, each being 11 1/4 degrees. There is a distinctive black lubber’s line down the center
of the glass.
antique compass is beautifully made of all brass construction with a stout gimbal and overhead mounting bracket. Condition
is exceptional throughout except for a few dents on the bottom where it likely hit an overhead beam. Brass has slighty aged patina, but can be polished and lacquered at the buyer’s request for an additional fee.
The compass works properly when when mounted overhead.
of bezel 8 1//4″
Weight 4 lbs 8 oz Diameter of card
6 1/2″ Depth of tub 5″
Weight 3 lbs 8 ozMaximum dimensions 10″
x 9 1/2″ x 10″ This is an exceptionally fine example of this
type compass and is suitable for the finest collection or as an impressive gift.
NEGUS HISTORY: Thomas Stewart and John D. Negus were highly respected nautical instrument makers and were arguably
the leading makers in the United States during the second half of the 19th century. Trained in England, the brothers began
their manufactory in New York City in 1848. They moved to 100 Wall Street, New York City in 1864 and formed their navigational
instrument making firm, “T.S. & J.D. Negus,” in 1869. According to research of period U.S. Navy records, T.S.
& J.D. Negus sold chronometers and other instruments to the U.S. Navy including compasses. It is a little known fact that
the Negus brothers bought the Ritchie Compass Company in 1937 and sixteen years later sold it to the Sherman Brothers in 1953.
At that time Ritchie moved to Pembroke, Mass. The firm continued under the trade name “Negus” as a nautical
instrument manufacturer and retailer well into the mid 20th century.A fine antique Telltale compass from
the first half of the 19th Century. Highly recommended!