Antique Quintant/Sextant Spencer Browning CoCa 1840

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Ca 1840



Copyright 2010 by Land And Sea Collection™, All Rights


PRESENTED is a fine fine 19th
C. mariner’s brass frame quintant reading to 155° along a graduated arc with vernier, and brass fittings. Engraved
at mid-center of the arc at the bottom, and barely legible, is “Spencer Browning & Co. London”, one of England’s
foremost early instrument makers. It comes with its original telescope and a sighting tube. There is no the serial number.
This instrument has been in a private collection for the last 40 years.

An example, made by Spencer, Browning
& Rust is in the collection at Greenwich of the British National Maritime Museum, accession number 1195, with a range
of arc of 145° and an engraved presentation date of 1844.

Spencer Browning Rust worked
in London from 1724 to 1840 when the name was changed to Spencer Browning & Co. after the death of Ebenezer
Rust.  The successor, Spencer Browning had offices at a number of addresses on Wapping High
Street, London and were in business until 1870.
Ref: Gloria Clifton, Directory of
British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851
(London, 1995), p. 261.




INSTRUMENT CONDITION: The mirrors are in remarkably
good condition for their age and use at sea. The beautifully turned Rosewood handle has no cracks, but
shows a “plus” mark on the back. The index arm clamp, and swing arm magnifier are complete and in good working
order. The frame and all the machinery are in good working oder except one of the horizon shades is missing.
Because it is the middle one, it is not noticed. It has recently been polished and lacquered for your enjoyment.

The square case is sound, but has some age cracks on the top and bottom. The ones on the top add a great deal of
interest. There is a brass plaque that has not been inscribed.  The instrument and it’s accessories are housed in the fitted hard
wood case which has brass hinges and latches and a lock, but no key, and no handle. It has a wonderful old patina from
golden to brown.




The instrument is complete with:
      • One original sighting tube
      • Adjustable horizon mirror on turntable
      • One low powered scope
      • Mirror adjustment pick – missing
      • One ocular lens cap – missing

The polished arc and platinum scale is
calibrated -5 to +155 degrees with a vernier scale reading from the right from 0 to 10 arc seconds in 2 second intervals. The quintant
has four rectangular shades for the index mirror and three round shades for the horizon mirror. The telescope’s distance
from the frame may be adjusted by turning a knob at the back of the rising piece.

      Excellent horizon mirror on
          Vernier from the
right 0 -10“
mirror with minor rash
Negus label

CERTIFICATE: There is a rarely seen hand written instrument
inspection certificate in the case dated Nov 20, 1934.



And another label facing towards the top in top corder from Negus Nautical
Instruments, 69 Pearl Street, New York and R440 which is likely when the certificate was made.


All in all, a highly desirable and exceptionable
example from one of the best known English instrument makers.


Length of index arm       9 1/2″
Width of frame at arc   10 1/2″
Index mirror
50 x 33 mm
Horizon mirror
24 x 18 mm
Weight                          2
Lbs 12 oz

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