1436

Ebony octant, probably English, early to mid-1700s.

Currency:USD Category:Artifacts / Non-wreck Artifacts Start Price:700.00 USD Estimated At:800.00 - 1,200.00 USD
Ebony octant, probably English, early to mid-1700s.
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This item SOLD at 2021 May 08 @ 21:32UTC-4 : AST/EDT
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Ebony octant, probably English, early to mid-1700s. 1203 grams, roughly 15" x 13" x 3". This navigational device was used to measure astronomical angles and therefore was most useful to sailors who needed to know latitudes. After the astrolabe came the quadrant, which by definition measured a quarter circle, but that device was cumbersome and came to be replaced with the octant (or reflecting quadrant), which utilized mirrors to get quarter-circle measurement from a device that was, in effect, only one-eighth of a circle. Technical specifications aside, this piece consists of an ebony frame with ivory inlay for gradations (lacking numbers or any printing) and with brass index arm and pinhole sight and mounts for the three mirrors (one of which is missing, as is also the sighting telescope that was used in conjunction with the octant but was typically a separate item). On the backside are three legs, for laying the instrument carefully on a horizontal surface when not in use. Everything seems to be in working order and intact (except for some empty holes for bolts that may have been stabilizers), but our interest of course is in its value as an historically important navigational antique. Pedigreed to Sedwick Auction 3, lot 1113, with photo-certificate.