Diameter outer Circle
4 3/8“ Width outer Circle 5/16″
inner Circle 3 1/2“ Width outer
Center Index Arm Scale 1 1/2″ x 3/8″
Weight 8 1/4 oz
have received inquiries concerning the authenticity of this item and accordingly have given great weight to them. In
fact, we had decided to class it as an early recreation since we cannot say with certainty that it’s authentic. Having made
that decision, we still continued our research and discovered that the most authoritative book on navigation instruments,
Sextants at Greenwich lists Dring &
Fage as the maker of an equinoctial sundial, Ca 1800 – 1850 on page 303. It is in the Maritime Museum Collection as inventory
number AST 0165. Even though it is not pictured in the book, this still turns out to be a game changer.
That one and this one are the only examples of this type
that are known to exist. Usually, when an item is reproduced it is made in sufficient numbers to make the effort worthwhile
which is not this case. Or if the purpose was to deceive and make lots of money off of a single piece, they would be better
served to have chosen a name such as Charles Adams as the maker, and made a Universal style equinoctial rather than a fixed
latitude one which most people don’t even know exists. The likelihood then becomes
stronger that this may be the “Real Deal”.
Detailed photographs and other information are provided for a viewer
to make an informed decision of his own. Authentic items sell for $2000 and up, so we set the price on this one at $1200.00
to take all this into account. This may turn out to be a great buy for an astute collector willing to take a risk or it may
The pictures have been enhanced for sharpness, and in doing so it has exaggerated the coloration of the patina. In our professional
opinion it is natural, and the the workmanship is of higher quality than is found in knock-offs, but again we can’t be sure
since there are always people out to fool the unsuspecting. It is also backed by our Guarantee of Satisfaction (see below)
which says in essence that all our products are returnable without a hassle. For comparison, the photo below is unaltered.
It was taken with Flash.
Unedited photo of Dring & Fage equinoctial
KEY POINTS: There is no scale on the back of the center sighting index arm which swivels 360°.
The obverse scale has five main marks and four intermediate marks extending across it, but they are what we believe to be
astronomical symbols of the Zodiac, not numbers. The reverse of the index arm has no engraving. Other devices like this may
have the months on the reverse. This device is intended to tell solar time at a specific latitude rather than the Universal
type which is adjustable by a movable hanger. As is common with many
of these devices. the backside of the outer ring has
a quadrant’s markings engraved for measuring the sun’s altitude and is ideal for taking Local Apparent Noon sights of the
sun. Even a knowledgeable expert didn’t know about the use of this feature
and called them “crazy radials”. See the George Adams version below.
DRING & FAGE, LONDON
were a recognized English instrument maker that operated in London from various locations such as London Bridge and the Strand.
They were active from 1790 to 1938. They are listed in Webster’s database of scientific instrument makers, but are not generally
known to have made equinoctials. That said, the ones in their database are only those that have been inspected in the field
and a record made of their existence or are in their possession. Hence, the omission of a listing of a type of instrument
by a specific maker in a database cannot be considered conclusive.The
proof of this can be found on the Internet:
Sextants at Greenwich: a catalogue of the mariner’s quadrants, … – Google
Books Result books.google.com/books?isbn=0199532540…Willem Frederik Jacob Mörzer Bruyns, Richard Dunn, Willem Frederik Jacob Mörzer Bruyns – 2009 – History – 323 pages … mariner’s
astrolabes, cross-staffs, backstaffs, octants, sextants, quintants, … Equinoctial sundial 1800-50
Dring and Fage AST0178 Universal equinoctial ring …
=LEFT>ELEMENTS OF DESIGN: We will leave the analysis
to others. What we know is, it appears to be a finely made instrument of quality British workmanship which we believe to have
been made by Dring & Fage, London, as marked on the reverse. The flat brass
index arm measures 2 3/4 inches long overall, and the inner circle measures 3 1/2” in diameter. The outer ring is 4
3/8 inches in diameter. The workmanship should date from the 19th Century. With the device held from the top hanger, the sliding
index scale is fixed at a 20° angle from the horizontal which is the latitude to which it is set. Some of the places that
would be included for this latitude are much
of the historic Northern Leeward islands in the upper Caribbean, Upper Australia, and a band through Africa and India.
SALE OF AUTHENTIC UNIVERSAL EQUINOCTIAL:
Pictured below is a Universal equinoctial made by George Adams, the younger, Ca 1795 that was sold by Skinner Auctions for
$3900.00. The ring used for hanging shown in this picture is missing from the one in this listing which is not unusual considering
its age, but both seem to be similar in overall design and appearance except the Adams device has a sliding car serving as
the hanger that runs on a track around the ring. This enables it to be set at any latitude making it the Universal type of
which there are many more than the fixed latitude type. The Adams equinoctial has a scale of 0 to 90 degrees on the
reverse which is the same as the one we are selling.
Comparable by George Adams. See above
Index arm showing sliding peep sight and scale.
Infinity mark at top right
THE MAKER’S MARK: For those interested in the maker’s mark,
the same authoritative book, SEXTANTS at Greenwhich by W.F.J Morzer Bruns, Oxford University Press, has numerous pictures
of makers’ imprints on navigation instruments of the same period of this device. It is a definitive Catalogue of most of the
important instruments at the National Maritime Museum in England. Many are in script, but many are also in block letters which
are irregular in their placement. This has been confirmed by a reader who has a Dring & Fage instrument of a different
The irregularity was quite common in imprints.
See explanation above.
Inner circle has 12 hours on each hemisphere
Outer circle has four quadrants of 90° each
Lying flat with both circles together
Octant scale 0 to 90° opposite name on reverse
Detail of the engraving on the large rings. This
is an enhanced imageINSTRUMENT CONDITION: The instrument is in
excellent condition with the brass having a nice uneven patina of age. The patina is exaggerated in the photographs due to
enhancement in photo editing, but in our professional opinion, it is natural. We have included some unaltered photos.
There is some age spotting on the rings. Everything appears in working order. However, we have not tested
it for accuracy. There is no case, nor is there a gnome other than the rotating index arm. A small brass ring is missing from
which it would be hung.
instruments as a professional mariner, an aviator, and a dealer in marine navigation instruments since the early 1970’s and
have bought and sold antique instruments during this period as a dealer since the 1960’s. I am a published author on the topic
and served on the USNA Navigation Symposium, 1975 -1978. If you have a copy of Bowditch, 1977 Edition, you will see that I
edited the chapter on sextants, For those who wish to read my summary background in this area,
see the top section of this page. https://landandseacollection.com/id320.html
SHIPPING & INSURED PACKING by UPS Ground to the 48 contiguous
States, $25.00 .
OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied
with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items
must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges
are included in this offer within the continental United States if an error is due to our fault.
International buyers welcome,
but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands,
Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany,
Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia,
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Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United
Arab Emirates, USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier’s check, or personal check in which case the
item will be held until cleared. No checks from overseas buyers, no credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.
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Collection™. All Rights Reserved.