Quintant – Sextant Ca 1870
Gift or for an Important Collection
PRESENTED is the finest antique brass frame quintant,
i.e. larger, 144° arc sextant, that we have had the pleasure to offer for sale. In our opinion, it exceeds the top British
Class A specifications for navigation instruments, and is a magnificent example of the Industrial Revolution’s design and
workmanship. For this era, the horizon mirror is the largest we’ve noted for this period, and is far ahead of its time when
much larger size horizon mirrors became the standard because it gathered more light for twilight star and planet sights.The frame’s intricate webbing is in the form of candle flames which is a different approach
to adding rigidity, and its handle is beautifully carved from Ivory, again something we haven’t seen. The instrument comes
with three telescopes of varying power and two sighting tubes detailed below. Engraved in Copper Plate print and script on
the platinum arc at 70 ° is, “Chadburn & Son Liverpool
“. There is no serial number. Included is a high powered telescope for collimation, a low power,
wide angle star scope, a medium power scope, and a sighting tube and a sighting tube extension. Everything is housed in a
beautiful Mahogany box with a pleasing patina, which has a recessed campaign style handle, two hooks and a lock, but no key.
There is little known about this company other than they made measuring devices and optical
instruments prior to being acquired in 1898 by the prestigious Chadburns (Ships) Telegraph Company, which was also headquartered
in Liverpool. We were able to identify a common three circle frame sextant by Chadburn that was obviously made after they
had been taken over by the Telegraph company and dates to the 1st Quarter of the 20th Century.
Ref. This maker is so rare that they are not listed
in Sextants at Greenwich”, by W.E.J. Mozer Bruyns, which catalogs the collection of the British
National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England.
INSTRUMENT CONDITION: Both the index and the horizon mirror are
in excellent condition. The beautifully turned Ivory handle is perfect. The index arm clamp, and swing arm magnifier are complete
and in good working order. Both sets of shades, i.e., filters are without imperfections. Missing are a tiny screw driver for
the mirrors and an adjustment pick. It was recently polished and lacquered to show its beautiful workmanship. This instrument
is in superior condition and may be considered appropriate for a high level gift or an important collection of instruments.
CASE:The square case has a label from the American firm of John Bliss & Co., New York. Its
unadorned scalloped brass plate is rarely present, with the case showing the customary marks of age across the top. Note the
highly desirable campaign type brass hardware with a recessed handle. The wood on the side opposite shows numerous small marks
from storage at sea, and a small piece of the corner is missing at the right rear. The instrument’s Ivory handle is housed
in a tight fitting chock, and it’s accessories are housed in the customary wood holders. The end caps for the telescopes are
mounted on them which is why the holders are empty. There are two latches and a lock, but no key. The varnish has a wonderful
old patina that only comes with natural aging. This strong case has numerous nicks and scrapes from years of use at sea.
The instrument is complete with:
One long high powered collimation scope
One medium powered telescope
One low powered Star scope
a very large size horizon mirror – condition
moderate size index mirror – condition excellent
Magnifier for the vernier
Missing are a thin screwdriver and a small pick.
The polished platinum scale is calibrated -5 to +150° with a vernier scale reading
from the right from 0 to 10 arc seconds in 2 arc second intervals. The quintant has four partially rounded 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.
Chadburn name in
Copper Plate Liverpool in Script
from 0″ to 10″ from right
Very Large Horizon
Rare Ivory handle
CERTIFICATE: There is no certificate which is customary with antique
This may be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to acquire a top of the line and exceptionable example from one
of the lesser known, but distinguished English instrument makers.
Length of index arm 9 1/8″
of index arm 8 1/4″
Width of frame at arc
Index mirror 30 x 32 mm
mirror 43 x 35 mm
weight 3 lbs 0 oz
X 10 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ Weight in case 8 lbs 11 1/2 oz