HEATH HEZZANITH QUINTANT – SEXTANT
Presented is a earlier polished,
bell shaped, bronze frame, platinum arc, antique quintant with the maker’s plate of Heath Hezzanith at the bottom of the index
arm. The instrument was made by the British instrument maker, Heath, & Co., LTD,
New Eltham, London. It is without a carrying case, but comes with a display stand and single scope as
pictured. This was the same type quintant used by Sir Earnest Shackleton in his four Antarctic expeditions.
MARKINGS: At the bottom
of the arc; Heath & Co Ltd New Elthan London over Made for R. Smith and Son ………..illegible. On the top of the arc
U260. On the index arm, “BELL” over Trade Mark Reg.
such as Sir Earnest Shackleton understand the benefit of the high quality Heath sextants and used one similar to this on his
various Antarctic expeditions.
3/4 Rear view
3/4 forward view
PROVENANCE: From a private collection which included
navigation instruments, nothing else is known..
DESIGN CRITERIA: The arc measures from
– 5 to plus 155 degrees making this a quintant or one fifth of a circle. It is read by a vernier and swinging magnifier to
10 seconds of arc. There is a mechanism at the end of the arm for which Heath is noted. This dates this instrument as clearly
being made prior to 1909, which is the year the company was issued a patent for the quick release clamp and started marking
their instruments “‘HEZZANITH’ ENDLESS TANGENT SCREW AUTOMATIC CLAMP PATENT No. 17840. Ref: G. W. Heath and Heath & Co., “Improvements in Devices for the Adjustments of Sextants
and other like Instruments,” British patent #17,840. Heath & Co., Catalogue (London, 1921-1922), p. 506.
INSTRUMENT CONDITION: With only
a very few exceptions, it is in working condition with all its metal machinery, but with the intermediary gradations on the
arc and vernier worn off. There is a small ivory plate on the backside of the handle for making notations of the observations.
The hole in it is for the case’s locking mechanism. The horizon mirror and index mirror are in excellent condition with only
minor blemishes. The instrument’s shades are clear and sharp. Only the fitted scope is present and is clear and sharp.
The lacquer is old, but is about 99% present.
All in all, a highly desirable and exceptional example
from one of better known English instrument makers.
Telescope 4 x 26 estm
Length of index arm 9 3/4″
Width of frame at arc 10 1/8″
mirror 33 x 49 mm
Horizon mirror 30 x 33 mm
Instrument weight 3 lbs 9 oz
QUALIFICATIONS: We are one of the few company’s still selling navigation
instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether Joel’s opinion counts, he was the editor of the
chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of “Bowditch”, The American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9; a member of the U.S. Naval
Academy Navigation Symposium, 1975 -1978; the author of a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime Press,1975, and the founding
president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction of the MS 733 Spica, the
MS 833, Jupiter, MS 933 Venus sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. Joel is a retired Master
Mariner, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification as a Senior Skipper – Oceans. From 1995 until 2001,
he was a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. In 2011, Land And Sea Collection, was selected
by ADM Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to provide the gift presented to ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval
Operations, at his September 6th retirement luncheon.
Some of his
present, and past memberships include the: Association of Naval Aviation, Silver Wings, The Tailhook Association, Naval Academy
Sailing Squadron, McCampbell’s Aces Squadron, Naval Historical Foundation, and the Naval Order of the United States.