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Barometers, Scientific & Optical Instruments >  Scientific & Optical Instruments

Early Victorian Cast Iron & Bone Desk Thermometer by T Buss of London
B5809
£295 / $456 / €413


A Mid Victorian Cased Travelling Thermometer by Dolland of London.
B5807
£295 / $456 / €413


A late eighteenth century Gregorian reflector or reflecting telescope by Wellington of Crown Court, Soho, London.

This large and magnificent brass terrestrial and astronomical library telescope is 30” long with a diameter of four and a quarter inches. Focus is achieved by means of a threaded length of brass which connects to an internal ratchet which in turn moves a small concave ellipsoid mirror within the barrel. Light is reflected onto this mirror by means of a concave paraboloid mirror at the top of the barrel and where it can then be viewed through the eyepiece. The telescope is mounted upon a heavy brass tripod which has retracting legs and the makers name “Wellington, Crown Court, Soho, London” is beautifully engraved at the base of the column. IT is complete with its original brass end cap.

Telescopes by this maker rarely appear on the market although the family traded from 1784 to 1827. The founder Alexander Wellington began work in Sherborne Lane, Lombard St, London in 1784 but had moved to their more commonly known address of 20 Crown Court, Soho, London by 1788 where the family continued to trade until the company closed its doors. Alexander Wellington died in 1812 whereafter the business was renamed Wellington and Son with his wife Mary managing the company s affairs. Evidently the son either died or left the business somewhere around 1816 as Mary Wellington traded alone until 1827. This telescope dates from the early period of the company and can therefore be attributed to the hands of Alexander Wellington and it remains in superb untouched condition.

A rare opportunity to own a large and early reflector by a quality eighteenth century maker.

Circa 1790 - 1800

B5828
£3,295 / $5,091 / €4,613


A very rare and complete early Victorian cased student s field telescope by WE & F Newton, Fleet Street, London.

This super little brass six draw telescope with one inch diameter objective lens has a rare red and black striped baleen covered barrel and original brass end cap. The case is covered in original dark red leather with eye hook closers and a red velvet sectioned interior. The contents also include the original stand with barrel clasp and end cap which reveals a threaded screw rather than legs, making it practical for use in the field where it may be screwed down into a tree branch for stability. The set is completed with an additional eye piece lens however it must be noted that there is a small chip present on this accessory. Focus can still be achieved but the chip does present itself when in use. Please note, that the main objective lens contained within the telescope is in perfect condition.

The Newton s have a long and distinguished history dating back to the start of the eighteenth century, the founder being a cousin of Sir Isaac Newton. Their heyday, however was during Queen Victoria s reign where from the 1850 s the cousins William Edward and Frederic Newton were situated at their 3 Fleet Street. Temple Bar, London address. This short lived partnership traded from 1851 to 1856 but provided the basis for the company, Newton & and Co which continued to trade from that address until the early part of the twentieth century. They were scientific instrument makers to the Queen and were prize medal winners at the Great Exhibition. Newton & Co instruments are more abundantly encountered owing to the length of its trading history. These early instrument are more seldomly seen especially in such complete condition.

Baleen is a material taken from the filter feeding systems inside the mouths of whales and was a by-product of the whaling industry that was employed in the manufacture of high end handheld telescopes during the early to mid-nineteenth century. They are rarely encountered today but the material must have been selected for its durability and its ability to take coloured dye. Examples have been seen in numerous colours including green, black and red and are always of the upmost quality.

A superb complete and very collectible little cased telescope produced to the highest standards and by a rare maker. Given the company s trading dates, the telescope can be confidently dated to between 1851 and 1856.  

B5812
£995 / $1,537 / €1,393


Early twentieth century humidity reader by Negretti & Zambra

Properly named in their 1950 catalogue as a hair hygrometer or hygroscope, this instrument was used to measure relative humidity in the air with a range of 10-100% humidity.

To quote the Negretti & Zambra catalogue, “The hair hygrometer or hygroscope range 0/100% relative humidity consists of a bundle of hairs or other organic tissue which changes in length when it absorbs moisture.

There are no springs, gears or cords in the mechanism, and errors due to backlash, friction etc, are thus reduced to a minimum.

The hygroscope can be readily checked from time to time, either by wetting the element with a camel hair brush, in which case it should be read approximately 95%: or better still, by means of the wet and dry bulb whirling hygrometer.”

Negretti & Zambra retailed two version of this instrument. This particular version was dubbed the “PH/1 4 inch dial Pocket Hair Hygrometer (Hygroscope) range 0/100% relative humidity; metal case, 4.5 inch diameter overall, finished eggshell black; dial enamelled white with black divisions and figures.” How convenient it was as a pocket instrument could be debated but it remains in complete working order and has great design qualities. Manufactured along the same principals as the hygrometers encountered on antique wheel barometers where a reed of barley was used to create a similar outcome, this updated and more accurate version shows the development of the instrument into the twentieth century.

Negretti & Zambra were a leading name in the production of meteorological and scientific instruments and have a company history dating back to 1850. Throughout their long and esteemed history they exhibited at British industrial fairs throughout and became makers to both Queen Victoria and Edward VII. Owing to changes in the business, the firm ceased the public retailing of scientific instruments sometime around the late 1960 s and continued with a focus on the aviation industry in numerous guises until its eventual liquidation in the year 2000. A sad end to a hundred and fifty years of quality manufacturing.

 

B5816
£149 / $230 / €209


A mid-Victorian parlour kaleidoscope on stand.

This stunning Victorian instrument is constructed from a hardboard tube with shagreen type detailing to the body and a wood and brass sectioned eyepiece and objective end. The objective end has brass spokes attached to the outer rim in order to allow for the circular hand operation. Inside the objective cell are contained numerous liquid filled glass ampules, glass canes and various metal pieces which form the kaleidoscope effect when viewed through the eyepiece and next to a light source. The kaleidoscope is complete on its original turned mahogany stand.

The kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by the physicist, Sir David Brewster with a patent granted to him in 1817, however he was to see little financial benefit from the invention as many were produced prior to him being awarded the rights. Undeterred by the issue, Brewster went on to release a book named, “The Kaleidoscope, its history, theory & construction with its application to the fine and useful arts” in 1819. Known for other scientific endeavours, Brewster also provided improvements for the stereoscope and was knighted by William IV for his contributions to science.

This particular example is unmarked but is almost identical to those that were produced in the US by Prussian born Charles G Bush in the early 1870 s. Bush is the credited with the next stage in the development of the kaleidoscope by introducing glass liquid filled ampules into the objective cell, however these were originally mentioned by Brewster in his treatise on the instrument. Nevertheless, it is these instruments that are the most highly prized for their vivid images and are what Bush was famed for producing. This particular example follows all of the same production methods of a Bush instrument however it does not contain his signature to the side so it is likely that this is an English version created by a competitor during the period.

A lovely example in superb order which maintains good colour and vibrancy to the internal image.   

B5815
£1,295 / $2,001 / €1,813


An early nineteenth century chondrometer or grain scale by Robert Brettell Bate of London.

The English chondrometer was devised following an Act of Parliament on the 1 st of January 1826 introducing the imperial form of measurement under George IV. This steelyard type scale was primarily used as a measure of the bulk density of grain and therefore quality of the product.

To use the scale, the brass measuring cylinder was placed upon the scale arm and filled to the brim with a sample of grain and levelled using a straightedge known as a strickle. The weight was identified by means of the sliding weight on the arm of the scale and was repeated a number of times to ensure accuracy of measurement. The outcome would determine price and space required to store the crop in question.

This early example is of superb quality and was manufactured by the most famous producers of these items during the period. It is housed within its original mahogany case with its original instructional label to the interior of the lid, giving bushel conversions for wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, small beans, Dutch clover, canary & rape seed. The scale is constructed from a turned brass stand, brass measuring cylinder and scale arm engraved with measurements in pounds and signed to Bate London. The weight is incorporated onto the arm and is further engraved with, “pounds per Bushel, Imperial”.

Robert Brettell Bate was a very high quality manufacturer of scientific instruments working in the early part of the Nineteenth Century. Born in 1782, he took over the business from his Uncle in 1804 who had already received a commission from the Government s revenue department to produce hydrometers. This relation continued under Bate s stewardship and appears on his trade cards of the period and in 1824 was further commissioned by the Board of Excise & Ordnance to make the new national standard measures for weight & capacity. This chondrometer is an example of Bate s output following his appointment. His quality of manufacture led him to receive Royal Appointments from George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria where he acted as Optician and he further served as the Master f the Spectacle Maker s Guild in 1833. He was also known to have acted for the Admiralty as its main chart agent with numerous sub agents acting below him such as the instrument maker, George Stebbing. Bate traded from numerous addresses in Poultry street, London from 1808 to 1846 whereafter he moved to number 33 Royal Exchange in 1846 until his death in 1847.

A superb quality example of an early chondrometer by the maker who was commissioned to create the new national standard for measures at the introduction of the imperial system.

B5808
£325 / $502 / €455


A cased Victorian naval station pointer or three arm protractor by Henry Hughes of 59 Fenchurch Street, London.

Used for coastal navigation, this superbly crafted brass station pointer has a circular silver scale with central indented cross bar for fixing a central position on a map. The central arm is fixed to a first coastal position whilst the two outer arms are fixed to two other coastal positions with the use of a sextant. The triangulation of these points would have allowed for accurate positioning whilst a vessel is nearing landfall. This quality example has the addition of two beautifully engineered drum micrometers for adjusting the angle of the outer arms and three brass extending arms which may be screwed to the main unit for measuring longer distances or for larger scale maps. The station pointer is complete with its original mahogany box with original fitted and baized interior and has a working replacement key. Inside the box is an ivorine name plate for H Hughes & Son Opticians, 59 Fenchurch St, London.  

This is an early example of a Hughes station pointer being engraved with the serial, “No 627”, and it is further engraved, “Henry Hughes & Son. 59 Fenchurch St, London”. The maker Henry Hughes founded the business in 1828. Noted for its life size wooden figure of a seaman with sextant displayed outside the front door, Hughes premises at Fenchurch Street was a popular destination for merchant and Royal Navy seaman alike and Hughes gained much business from the Admiralty in the nineteenth century due to the quality and precision of his instruments. The business was incorporated as Henry Hughes & Son Ltd in 1903 and ran successfully until its premises were destroyed during the blitz in 1941. Owing to the devastation, Hughes entered into a collaboration with Kelvin, Bottomley & Baird in the same year and later amalgamated in 1947 to become Kelvin & Hughes. They continue to operate to this day under the name Kelvin Hughes Ltd under part ownership by ECI Partners.

Station Pointers of this age are rare to find and this example is of the utmost quality. Hughes instruments are always beautifully manufactured and this is no exception. A lovely piece of maritime navigational equipment and in superb order.

Circa 1880

B5814
£625 / $966 / €875


World War II period March V Military Heleograph with tripod.


B5023
£895 / $1,383 / €1,253


A large leather bound brass 4 draw telescope by "S&B Solomons" London.

Circa 1890.
B4857
£380 / $587 / €532


Mid 19th Century table top celestial globe on stand by Thomas Malby & Co.
B4077
£5,995 / $9,262 / €8,393


A large Victorian table telescope standing on a brass stem with iron cabriole triform legs. Unsigned.

Circa 1870.

Height includes Tripod.
Tripod Diameter 37cm.
B4008
£480 / $742 / €672


French monocular telescope by Maison de L'Ing, Chevalier, Optician.

Place du Pont Neuf, Cannes 15, Paris.

Circa 1890.
B3679
£325 / $502 / €455

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