Museum Grade Chadburn & Son Quintant-Sextant for John Bliss

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Custom polished at buyer’s requestCHADBURN & Son – LIVERPOOL
Quintant –
Sextant Made for
John Bliss & Co. New York
the instrument and all its telescopes


This instrument is in better than
museum condition making it perfect for an important gift or for a collection of only the
finest nautical antiques



Copyright 2013 by Land And Sea Collection, All



PRESENTED is a instrument that is beyond museum quality which makes it so
rare and special that it can be considered a remarkable relic of the
This is only the second time we
have had the pleasure of offering for sale an instrument that exceeds the
highest British Class A specifications. It is a brass frame quintant
with an arc that subtends 144 degrees, in near new condition and
with its Midnight matt black original finish in perfect


the instrument and its lower star powered scope

Advanced design features include
a very large horizon mirror and an equally large Index mirror which
gather more light, and hence improve the taking of twilight sights when
using either an extra large wide angle star scope and a smaller star
scope. In addition, there is a higher powered sun scope, a collimation
scope and two sighting tubes for terrestrial objects, making six in all.

The frame’s intricate webbing
is in the form of candle flames which is unique
to this maker’s approach in making a strong and rigid frame.
The handle is carved from a solid block of elephant Ivory, again something unique
to Chadbrurn & Son.  Engraved in Victorian style script on the platinum arc at
° is,
“John Bliss & Co., New York”, and to the far left in
Copper Plate Gothic, “English”. There is no serial number which is
common for this maker.
instrument and its accessories are housed in a high quality Mahogany
box with a hand rubbed finish and patina of age. It has a recessed
brass, campaign style handle, two hooks and surprisingly, the original key.
interior of the case, which has wood holders
all the accessories, is finished in high gloss varnish and is also in
“Like New” condition. There is a small Negus label on the inside.
A small screwdriver is missing, but a round, turned brass adjuster for the mirrors is

the instruments backside

CHADBURN & SON, THE MAKER: This is the second and more
extensively equipped quintant that we have found from Chadburn &
Son. The first was an equally impressive instrument. See

Our research has determined
they were located in Liverpool, England and made measuring devices and
optical instruments. In 1898, they were acquired by the prestigious Chadburns (Ships) Telegraph
Company, which was also headquartered in Liverpool. Until  the acquisition, these two
companies were unrelated, and only by chance shared the same

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

Ref. This maker is so rare and little known that they are
not listed in Sextants at Greenwich”, “Sextants at Greenwich” by W.E.J. Mozer Bruyns, which catalogs the collection
of the British National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, England.

John Bliss (Sr.) (1975 -1857)
John Bliss originally worked as a jeweler in New York in 1835.
Later that year he went into business with English watchmaker Frederick
Creighton, as Bliss & Creighton (from Bliss & Co. Almanacs).
They set up initially as jewelers & silversmiths at 42 Fulton St.,
in lower Manhattan, near the South Street docks, where they remained
in this general area for their entire existence. Bliss & Creighton
over the years acquired the know how and equipment to make high quality
marine chronometers for which they were noted. The partners had a falling
out in1853 which ended in law suits that lasted beyond their life times.
John Bliss then took his oldest son, John Jr., into partnership,
establishing the firm of John Bliss & Son at 40 Fulton St., which
evolved into Bliss & Co when Senior died in 1857.

John Bliss & Co. began producing a number of nautical instruments
themselves, namely compasses, binnacles, logs, azimuth (bearing)
instruments, and transit instruments. In addition they sold sextants
made in England and later Germany with their name on them, as well as
other nautical items such as rules, binoculars, barometers, and Chelsea
clocks that were made by others but with John Bliss & Co. on
them. The company also continued their own
made chronometer business. James Blunt and the Negus brothers were
also noted American instrument makers during this period and in 1873,
Bliss acquired the prestigious Blunt operations. They were at
various locations in lower Manhattan and ended up at 84 Pearl St. from
to 1956, when that building was sold and they were
forced to go out of business.



the John Bliss name and city
John Bliss
& Co., New York in
vernier reads from the right to left
Vernier reading
from 0″ to 10″ from







It is hard to adequately describe
a 143 year old  antique instrument which has survived in perfect condition
other than to say  the elephant ivory handle has a pleasing
warm patina and an age crack, and that a small
screw driver is missing. There is a small black accessory magnifier which
is broken.

index and the horizon mirror are in good
condition. The index arm clamp, and swing arm magnifier are complete
and in good working order. Both sets of shades, i.e., filters
are without


the instrument and all accessories housed its box






The square case has an unadorned
scalloped brass plate which are frequently lost, and shows the expected
scratches, and handling marks of age across the top. Elsewhere, it has numerous nicks and
scrapes from years of use at sea. It is fitted with the desirable campaign type brass
hardware with a recessed handle. The instrument’s Ivory handle is housed in a
tight fitting chock, and it’s accessories are housed in the customary wood
holders. The two end cap filters for the telescopes are mounted in the holders on left.
A holder at the back house a small magnifier which is present. There are
two latches and a lock, and the original key is present. The
varnish has a wonderful old patina that only comes with natural aging.



the closed Mahogany case

The instrument is complete



      • One short sighting tube
      • One long sighting tube
      • One long high powered
        collimation scope
      • One medium powered
      • One low powered star
      • One very large wide angle star
      • a very large size horizon
      • A moderate size index
      • Magnifier for the vernier
      • Adjustment device of mirrors
      • Original key

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

The horizon mirror in good condition
Very Large
Horizon mirror
The index mirror in good condition


the elephant Ivory handle



Rare Ivory



CERTIFICATE: There is no
certificate which is customary with antique


This is a one
time opportunity to acquire an exceptionable instrument from a
little known, up-scale

English instrument
maker for John Bliss & Co., New



Arc -5 to + 150 degrees
Length of index arm 9 3/8″
Radius of index arm 8 3/8″


Width of frame at arc 10 1/4″
Index mirror 30 x 32
Horizon mirror 28 x 32 mm
Instrument weight 3 lbs 10

Case 10″ X 10 10 3/4″ x 5 1/8″ Weight in case 9 lbs 13

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Shipping & Packaging

The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination, will be calculated point to point and is an additional charge. You may email us to get these costs. We price our shipping honestly, but we expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost of packaging materials and handling.

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If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are refundable if due to our error within the continental United States.

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