Nautical Instruments & Tools
Price = n/a
Royal Navy 'Sestrel' Marine Compass Mounted on Arm brackets
Discovered in the Naval port of Plymouth, Devon this is a very fine and solidly built marine compass. The edge of the compass, that sits in gimbals, is stamped 'Aft' and below the model number 4176N/6ST.
Interestingly a brass encased lamp holder is mounted above the compass and when illuminated it would have projected a pin prick of light down on the forward lubber line to assist the helmsman on night passage. The lamp is no longer wired although the lamp holder is present and the unit is clearly stamped AP5663 ; AP refers to an Admiralty Pattern hence our deduction this compass was designed for and used on craft of the Royal Navy.
The compass card is generally in very good condition with just some minor paint bubbles to the centre. The card carries the brand name 'Sestrel' indicating it was made by Henry Browne and Son Ltd, of Barking. Henry Browne was born in Lewis, Sussex in 1842 and died in Barking in 1935 and was a respected English manufacturer, making and selling fine quality compasses, ship's clocks, inclinometers, sextants, and chandlery items for over 140 years. The factory was based in Brightlingsea, Essex and moved to Barking in 1929. The Trade Mark brand 'Sestrel' was used on all their equipment. Their "Dead Beat" compass design is well dampened and serves to reduce oscillations and was fitted to many Allied ships during WWII and we believe this may be the origin of this instrument although it is not dated.. The company went through a boom period in the 1970s but collapsed in the 1980s due to the popularity of cheaper plastic compasses over traditional brass examples as ours.
The card swings feely and appears to align to North, although like all our stock is for sale as a collectable item and we can not guarantee its current accuracy. When purchased it was mounted on a totally inappropriate piece of melamine board. This we have had this replaced with a solid piece of marine mahogany which has been salvaged from a small craft. This has been finished in 5 coats of yacht varnish and the brass has all been hand polished, so that it glows and sets off this top quality Naval compass to its best advantage. It has already drawn attention here in our office since it was returned from our restorers and it would sit very happily in a marine collection or environment. The compass face measures 6" diameter (15 cm) whilst the display stand is about 11.5" x 8" (29 cm x 20 cm). Rubber feet are attached to the base.