19th Century Octant, Spencer, Browning & Rust)
Case with label of DeMORY GRAY, New York
SECOND HAND [sic] INSTRUMENTS BOUGHT AND SOLD
Spencer Browning Rust worked in London from 1724 to 1840 when the name was
changed to Spencer Browning & Co. after the death of Ebenezer Rust. The successor,
Spencer Browning maintained offices at several addresses on Wapping High Street,
London and were in business until 1870. Ebony frame, ivory plate, and scale; inset ivory
is marked with the makers name and the owners name – H. DUREN / NEW YORK. The
scale engraved with initials SBR for Spencer, Browning and Rust. Brass 10-inch vernier
arm and ivory arc calibrated to 105 degrees, mirrors, shades and with an ebony handle.
Dovetailed mahogany Case with vacant brass plaque. Generally, very good, tarnishing.
(Case: 5" x 13.5" x 12")
Ambrotype, Ships Master with Ebony Octant, Anonymous, 1850s to Mid-1860s
An exceedingly rare image…the subject wearing a chinstrap beard and gold watchchain
holds an octant that appears to be ebony with an ivory Vernier, pencil and nameplate;
he is seated at a table covered with a paisley cloth. The image is housed within a
Florence Manufacturing Company [Florence, Massachusetts] case.
Single Draw Two Inch 18th Century Telescope, Spyglass, Overall Length: 59”
Brass and mahogany, length: 47.25”, 59” extended - SOLD
Slightly tapered two-inch main tube with an unsigned single-draw brass tube, original
lenses and components are intact including rings, eyepiece and objective lens with
sliding dust shades. Optical condition is excellent, instrument focuses well, distant
images are magnified sharply. Overall condition is very good, commensurate with age
and use. Small tight shrinkage fissures and miniscule areas of fill at screws.
Compass from the Robert Edwards Whaleboat of New Bedford
Gimbled Dry Card Ship Compass, C.R. Sherman & Co., New Bedford Date/Period: 19th Century, Likely Late 1860s
Measurement: The box: 5" x 8" x 7.5"
Material: Brass, wood, paper
Condition: Generally good, commensurate with age and use; typical shrinkage crack to
rim of bowl, original green, and red paint; Masonic compass and square in
black. One hanging cleat missing.
Additional Information: Compass from the Larboard whaleboat of the Whaleship
Robert Edwards of New Bedford. A rare example of an American whaleboat compass
with early painted LB for Larboard boat on chamfered sliding lid; Masonic compass and
square painted of the front of compass box. On the underside of wooden lid is a pencil
written legend stating “Ship Robert Edwards” with several numbers follow which appear
to report barrels of sperm oil taken. There is also a signature at the bottom. This
nautical dry-card compass within a turned wooden bowl gimbal mounted in a wooden
slide lid box.
The Robert Edwards had a long and varied history. Being built in New York in 1817,
and continued in service for much, or possible all, of its career as a New Bedford
Whaler until burned by its crew several hundred miles off Rio Janeiro [sic]. The
Whalemen’s Shipping List first reports on September 13th, 1870 that the Robert
Edwards was burned at sea on July 24th, and the crew rescued by the Mary Rico of
Baltimore. On October 25th, 1870, the same reported the Robert Edwards was set on
fire by 4 of her crew who were taken into custody in Rio to be sent to the United States.
One of the perpetrators, John Jansen, jumped overboard and disappeared while the
rest of the crew fought the blaze. On March 14th of 1871 it was reported that three
remaining seamen had been to trial with one being found guilty, and the jury was unable
to agree on the other 2 defendants. The penalty for the offence is death!
Charles R. Sherman, (flourished 1865-1905) dealer in nautical, mathematical, and
optical instruments, charts, nautical books, patent logs, stationery, &c., no. 49 North
Water Street, New Bedford Charles Sherman was active as an instrument maker in
New Bedford from 1849-1865 thereafter adding ‘& Co’.
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