Auctioneers and Appraisers

William J. Young & Sons "Burt's Solar Compass,"

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Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments - 3147M
Date / Time :
October 05, 2018 10:00AM


William J. Young & Sons "Burt's Solar Compass," Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1872, original lacquered instrument, horizontal circle engraved in four quadrants reading 0-90 and read by opposed verniers to single minutes, blued-steel needle and scale calibrated 10-0-10, arms engraved "Wm. J Young & Sons/makers/Philadelphia," and serial number 4631 in compass box, inlaid silver latitude arc calibrated 30 to 55 reading to single minuets by vernier inlaid silver declination arc calibrated 0-25 reading to single minutes by vernier, dual spirit levels, graduated and tapered sighting vanes, and four-screw leveling base, ht. 12 in.

Note: William J. Young made, following Burt's directions, the first solar compass in 1840. Young and other makers continued manufacturing "Burt's solar compasses" through the early 1900s and a few instruments were still in use in government land surveys as late as the 1960s, they were used to survey most of the western United States. This lot was presented by William B. Barr to the office of the Surveyor General of Oregon on September 8, 1880, for examination and approval, was approved on that date and used by Barr in surveys in Oregon through 1884.
Estimate $3,000-5,000

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Philadelphia, United States, Barr, Compass, Economy, Orientation, Science and technology, Solar compass, Surveying, Technology, Young & Sons