Ca 1940




A fine quality small craft & yacht size
pelorus in a magnificent Mahogany case

PRESENTED is a finely made navigation
instrument called a pelorus which is used to take relative bearings in determining a vessel’s position. These bearings are
then related to the ship’s heading and the compass bearing of the object sighted is determined.  It does not have a maker’s
imprint. Only the number 142 is stamped on back of the frame. It is housed inside a finely made Mahogany
case with a rich, warm patina. Inside the case is a small label with some numbers and “BEARING PLATE”. Beneath it is a partially
readable ink passport style stamp with the date, 23 DEC 1945. The rest is illegible.


The word pelorus comes from the name of the guide who
directed Hannibal’s army from Carthage to Rome in 218 B.C.

This example consists of a compass rose with
North in the form of an elaborate Flur De Lis as the zero indicator. The cardinal points having directional coordinates
“lettered”, N, S, E, & W. that are further subdivided by NE, SE, SW, NW markings which divides the circle
into 32 points, each of 11 1/4 degrees. The outer circle is in increments of one degree, with a notation each ten
degrees. These are divided into quadrants that count up and down from 0 to 90. This presentation is uncommon since
degrees in this country are usually presented from 0 to 360.

  Antique compass card with quadrants, 0-90 ° 
       Contemporary compass card, 0 -360°

The silvered compass rose is set inside a bronze ring on gimbals
with a heavy lead weight below so that it remains level during the ships movements. There are two sighting vanes which move
together. The viewer’s vane has to two sun shades attached. The forward vane has a hairline thread that is lined up on the
body. It is designed to be used while in its Mahogany case.
case is so finely finished that it allows it to be displayed with magnificence in almost any setting or to be used as its
design was intended.

              Pelorus’ compass card
with quadrants, 0 – 90°, and Cardinal and Intermediate Points 

The two sighting vanes are aimed at a terrestrial object
with the bearing read off the compass card. These bearings are simultaneously compared to the vessel’s compass heading which
then gives the compass bearing to the object. Appropriate adjustment is made for compass error. Bearings of two
objects, taken sequentially, will fix the vessel’s position. Similar observations of a rising or setting sun when
on the prime vertical allow for determining compass error. 

CONDITION: Except for some minor stains on
the interior of the case and some of the original varnish worn away, the item is “like new” and may be considered in
excellent condition.

            Sighting vane with hairline thread 
Very high quality case

Diameter of outer ring              
4 inches
Diameter of compass rose       3 3/4 inches
CASE: 8″ x 8″ x 5 1/4″             
Weight   9 3/4 pounds

Not often found is a piece
of old gear in such great condition. A great selection for any collection or use it at sea.

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