Earliest C. Plath Bronze Frame Sextant – Quintant Discovered

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Carl Plath, Hamburg




Presentation Grade Quality!
is the earliest
C. Plath, bronze frame,
quintant we have ever heard of with a Serial Number of 4370 that is stamped on both its arc and on the instrument’s case.
It is 1689 serial numbers earlier than the lowest number that we have in our proprietary register of C. Plath, Hamburg serial
numbers that have been logged since we have been recording them. Consequently, we date it as late 19th Century. C. Plath Hamburg
is engraved on its arc in script which was the style of the mid 19th Century. It has recently been polished and lacquered
which makes it perfect for presentation or as a very special gift.

It has an approximately 3 1/2 power telescope, and a sighting tube for shooting
terrestrial objects. The adjustable rising piece allows moving the telescope towards or away from the frame making the horizon
more distinct under varying light conditions. The bronze
arc has a Sliver insert that is calibrated -5 to +155 degrees with a vernier that reads from the right, from 0 to 10 arc seconds.
The Serial Number is engraved on the left lower of the arc and just above an old style “Sun Shooter“ logo as on
earlier designs of this make. The sextant has four index shades and three horizon shades.


NOTE: A quintant has a range of arc of 144°
compared to a sextant which reads to 90°. This was helpful in measuring Lunar Distances, which was a means of determining
longitude without a chronometer.
Horizon Mirror and three shades
Index Mirror and four shades
Early style C. Plath tag
Vernier reading from the right,
0 to 10 arc sec
Irrespective of its age, this quintant is in exceptionally fine condition and shows very little use. The index mirror has
some of the reflective surface missing at the top left and bottom left which is out of the field of view and a few hairline
cracks of no consequence, but the viewing surface is clear and sharp. The horizon mirror is in mostly good condition with
a slight loss where it joins the clear portion of th glass. Both sets of shades (filters) are perfect. There is no mirror
adjustment tool or screw driver and the collimation scope is missing as well.


THE CASE: The instrument is housed in a tongue and groove, flaming wood case with spectacular grain that
is absolutely beautiful. On the back inside top cover is an oval plate with the address Hamburg, over 25 Stubbenhuk 25 surrounded
by a fancy border. No evidence exists that an instrument certificate was ever fitted to this case. Except for some scratches
on its top and bottom, is in excellent condition after being refinished to rid it of the years of accumulated varnish.
The telescope filter not seen in the case are mounted on the


in a sturdy flaming wood case



This is the only example of this early model brass frame Plath
quintant we have seen. They are not even pictured in museum collections such as those at Greenwich, England. It will make
a rare addition to an important collection or as a gift of importance.


flaming hardwood case


OUR QUALIFICATIONS: We are one of the few 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 their sextants and the
famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market. Joel is also a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy “D” Qualification
as a Senior Skipper – Oceans.
From 1995 through 2000, he served as a Varsity
Offshore Sailing Team coach at the U.S. Naval Academy.
This instrument show the quality for which Plath was noted.
Few of this model have survived and this one rates 5 Plus Stars.




Telescope 3.5 power
tube 0
Length of index arm 9 1/4″
of Arc 7 1/2″
of Arc 10″
Mirror 47 mm x 32 mm
Mirror 21 mm x 30 mm


3/4 oz IN CASE 9 lbs 1 5/8 oz
11 1/8″ x 11 1/4″ L x 5 3/8″ W
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