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    Re: Can someone identify this
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2008 Nov 11, 17:44 -0500

    What a lovely work of art!  This model has a US Navy Stock No., so it
    was government property.  A Museum of Complication!
    On Nov 11, 2008, at 5:29 PM, George Huxtable wrote:
    > Bruce Hamilton asked-
    > "Anyone need something for their collection? What exactly is it?
    >  http://cgi.ebay.ca/ASTRONOMIC-CALCULATOR-SEXTANT-
    > theodolite_W0QQitemZ190265697439QQcmdZViewItem?
    > hash=item190265697439&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1215%7C66%
    > 3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318"|==================It's a
    > Zerbee "Fix Finder". Perhaps it's THE Zerbee Fix Finder. described
    > inthe US patent 2519532 , attached. It could be the prototype,
    > perhaps theone-and-only, because it's labelled serial number 1; the
    > invention of LouisB Zerbee, patent granted 1950. You can dial up
    > the details in GooglePatents.I've never seen one or even heard of
    > it before. It claims to be able tosolve one OR MORE spherical
    > triangles, simultaneously, so could presumablyresult in a fix from
    > a pair of star altitudes. I admit to not having studiedthe details
    > of the patent in any detail. These things are written in aspecial
    > arcane language that seems intended to obscure more than it
    > reveals.It seems to be a development of the armillary sphere, an
    > analoguerepresentation of the Earth and sky, allowing spherical
    > triangles to besolved. Such armillary spheres first appeared in
    > China in the first-centuryBC. The nearest thing to this device I've
    > seen (in print) is the Mariner'sCalculator, in Janet Taylor's
    > "Navigation simplified" of  1849, but thatcould solve only one
    > spherical triangle at a time.But this one is FAR more
    > sophisticated. Just look at the profusion of arcscales, each fitted
    > with its own micrometer readout. No expense has beenspared in its
    > construction; which may be why it wasn't developed further. Itwould
    > be interesting to discover what accuracy was achievable.It's the
    > sort of instrument I would love to own. You could play with it
    > forhours. I expect it will fetch a lot more than the present bid,
    > and shouldreally find a home in a museum. Perhaps a Museum of
    > Complication, if such aspeciality exists.George.contact George
    > Huxtable, now at george@hux.me.ukor at +44 1865 820222 (from UK,
    > 01865 820222)or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13
    > 5HX, UK.
    > >
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