Berge Ramsden Sextant
Later 18th Century

divisor line
divisor line

Berge of London – Late Ramsden


Mathew Berge and Jesse Ramsden Sextant late 18th Century

Presented is a highly collectible and exceptional instrument engraved with the Berge London – Late Ramsden insignia.  Mathew Berge was an apprentice to Jesse Ramsden who was one of the foremost developers and designers of instruments for celestial navigation in the 18th and 19th centuries. This classic Diamond and Diamond Pattern sextant comes with 3 scopes, all housed in a Keystone-shaped case.  The labels in the case are not legible -” Andrew Christ???” – Glasgow, and “Whyte, Thomson & Co. (also Glasgow).

Mathew Berge and Jesse Ramsden Sextant late 18th Century

Back View


” Berge London

Late Ramsden”

Polished brass limb with inlaid silver scale -5 to 135 degrees – Index Arm Radius – 11″

Silver Vernier  -5″ to 15    Zero at the right

     Mirrors and shades – Horizon shades are missing                                                                     Scope in the threaded bracket

The Importance of Jesse Ramsden

Probably the most difficult part of the production of any circular instrument for measuring angles was the graduated scale.  A slight inaccuracy could lead to a considerable error in an observation.  In 1766, Jesse Ramsden constructed the circular dividing engine, by means of which the time to divide an octant or sextant scale was considerably reduced.  The radius of sextant and octant frames could also be reduced, which made them easier to handle, and the accuracy of the division was improved twelvefold.  Ramsden’s second dividing engine was an improvement on his first and was operational by 1775.  (from “Sextants  At Greenwich” National Maritime Museum)


Jesse Ramsden – London 1791

Portrait of Jesse Ramsden with his successful dividing engine. 

Engraving by John Jones, London 1791, after an oil painting by R Home.  National Maritime Museum

Condition:  This fine instrument has been polished and lacquered for dramatic display and represents its original condition. It is missing the magnifier in the index arm and the horizon shades.  The worm screw in the milled knob is a hard turn but does move.  The mirrors are clear as are the four shades.  Two scopes are clear.  There is an eyepiece missing from the long scope.  Although this fine instrument is missing some pieces, the Ramsden connection elevates it high on the collectibles list.

Mathew Berge and Jesse Ramsden Sextant late 18th Century


The keystone case has a nice aged patina finish, but has seen some rough use over the many years.  We think it is original to the instrument.

divisor line

Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

Our Unconditional 'No Nonsense' Guarantee

If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers worldwide.

Standard Forms of Payment

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 are different.

Established in 2003

Celebrating 18 Years of Exellence in Nautical Antiques

Join Our Mailing List

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Land and Sea Collection. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact