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    Re: Dating Hughes and Son sextants
    From: Fred Hebard
    Date: 2020 Jan 5, 00:06 -0500
    I started having doubts about my claim and looked at all the sextants on Ebay, for the first time in a long time.  There are some Husuns without the black crinkle, especially older ones with a lattice frame.  The different  arc inscription appears on the larger, lattice-framed sextants, which are usually vernier sextants.  The Husun emblem on the index arm of micrometer sextants can be brass colored rather than silverish.  (The holes for the screws holding the emblem could also hold the arm for a magnifier, by the way.  They may have placed the emblem there to fill the holes).  

    Regarding  Frank’s hypothesis that this is a custom-built sextant, most pre-war Husuns had perfect arcs.  Why would this one  not be perfect yet the sextant be custom built?

     All-in-all, there is no smoking gun indicating this is a fake, although the wooden handle with a light comes close, as does the lack of felt and varnish on the interior of the box.  However, given its perfect condition, including the box, the most reasonable hypothesis is that it was assembled recently from spare parts.

    Fred Hebard

    On Jan 4, 2020, at 18:46, David Pike <NoReply_DavidPike@fer3.com> wrote:

    Re the continuing debate:

    I was unhappy about this sextant, but I thought I’d wait and see what others said.  There are a lot of Hughes parts there, but it all seems too perfect and some bits don’t seem quite right.  It’s certainly modelled on a Hughes three circle sextant, but it’s not a ‘Mates’.  Apart from the 135 degree arc compared to 130, there are many other tiny differences which become apparent when two 24” monitors are placed together and Niall’s photo compared to a real ‘Mate’s’.  The real ‘Mate’s’, crinkle black and later ‘curdled silver’ painted, had what appear to be cast frames with quite small triangular holes.  Niall's is a very fine cut frame and possibly larger frame.  Also, the micrometre guard is a tighter curve and might have been re-shaped.  The ‘Mate’s’ arc is inscribed H.Hughes & Son Ltd. London., whereas Niall’s arc is inscribed H. Hughes & Son Ltd. ?? Fenchurch St.  Did the ‘Mates’ ever have a more expensive brother; the ‘Master’ perhaps? It’s also possible this was a special model produced for J Sewill Ltd who certainly existed, see photo.

    The silly thing is, although apparently non-standard, so many of the bits will have been around the Hughes factory.  E.g. those box closing knobs appear on Hughes Seaplane Sextant Boxes.  The scopes are not the standard Hughes 2.5x star and 5x Inverting, but I’ve seen that black chunky star scope and what look like two inverting telescopes in some sale room ads for Hughes sextants, typically https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/658862620455901400/ .  My main worry though was that for a 1939 sextant everything is just too 'clean and new' looking.  Everything is there, and the box is just too undamaged.  Most boxes, apart from being unvarnished inside, have the remnants of 80 years wear and sticky labels on the outside, and 45 degree chiselled mitres on the scope housings, not nicely rounded corners.  To put the best interpretation on it, this sextant has either been kept in perfect conditions and seen very little use, or has been professionally restored in the last 30 years or so.  I’d be interested to see what Bill Morris has to say about it.  DaveP.





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