Skinner

Auctioneers and Appraisers

American Ebony Back-Staff

Auction:
2345
Lot:
242
Sold for:
$5,875$5,000

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Auction:
Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 2345
Location:
Boston
Date / Time :
July 29, 2006 10:00AM

Description:

American Ebony Back-Staff, with bone plaque marked Made by J. Halsy, Boston, for Thomas Setts, 1706, inscribed lines, boxwood sight and arcs, the great arc with scroll terminal and punchwork star decoration, divided with transversal scale 0-25°, the lesser arc 0-60° in both directions, lg. 22 1/2 in.

Literature: Note: Silvio Bedini, (1975), Thinkers and Tinkers, fig. 15, for a late 17th century pearwood backstaff similarly marked. Joseph Halsy is known to have made surveying compasses and instruments in Boston in the 18th century (he was married in Boston in 1731). It is unlikely that the plaque is original to this instrument, however it may be an early home-made replacement.


Estimate $5,000-8,000

Keywords

Joseph Halsy, Thomas Setts, Silvio Bedini, Buxus, Celestial navigation, Compass, Measuring instruments