|T.S. & J.D. NEGUS BOXED DRY CARD COMPASS!
Superb early example of an early dry card compass made by one of
the famous names in American instrument making
Presented is a Mid 19 th Century boxed
compass by T.S. & J.D. Negus that was likely made around 1869. The brothers started their instrument making business
in 1848, but did not adopt this trade name until 1869. This compass has the classic spun brass bowl of that period. It is
in remarkably fine condition and shows as “near new”. The hand painted compass card and bowl are hung
from proper gimbals to stabilize the card in rough sea conditions. It is housed in a simple wood case which is
likely Spruce and has rectangular hand crafted tongue and groove construction.
Because of its extra fine condition,
this compass ranks as one of the nicest examples of a boxed compass you will find. And, as a bonus it was made by a famous
American instrument maker with exceptional credentials
THE BOX is traditional tongue and groove
construction. There is a wood cover with a thumb notch to help slide it in and out. On the lower front
edge there is a section of wood missing and there are number of chips of wood missing on two corners. There is an
age crack in the bottom, but the integrity and strength of the box is not affected by any of these.
Height 10 1/8 square by 6 1/2″ high
Weight 7 lbs 12 oz
THE DRY CARD COMPASS: The
bowl of the compass is spun brass with its original varnish in outstanding, “like new” condition. The engraved paper
dry card’s “North” is identified with a very ornate Flur des Lis. There is a black vertical line in the tube which is
called a “lubber’s line” should aways be oriented to the ship’s bow. On the inner circle above the pivot point it is marked
“T.S. & J.D. NEGUS” and below “NEW YORK.”
The outer rings is subdivided
in “points”, and there are no degrees which helps date this compass since degrees began to appear on compass cards around
the Turn of the 20th Century. The larger subdivisions are in Cardinal Points, N,S,E,W, and quarter points, NE,SE,SW,NW, then 1/2
points, 1/8 points and finally 1/16 points. There are 32 points on the compass card, each being 11 1/4 degrees,
making 360 degrees in total. The glass is sealed in place by its original red lead compound. The arrow points to the lubber’s
CONDITION: This beautifully
made antique compass bowl and gimbals is of brass construction has no exceptions and is in remarkably “near
new” condition throughout. All surfaces are original the brass has a lacquered golden patina
almost all of which remains. The compass works properly.
Diameter of bowl 7 1/8″
Diameter of card 6 1/4″
Diameter of gimbals 8 1/4″ Depth
of bowl 6 1/4″
size card with no degrees
BRIEF 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
This is an exceptionally fine example of this type compass and is suitable for the finest collection
or as a gift
International buyers welcome, but should inquire
first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands,
Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece,
Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New
Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.