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    Ebony and Ivory Octant
    From: Chuck Taylor
    Date: 2002 Feb 11, 08:20 US/PACIFIC

    In an antique store yesterday I noticed an old octant.  The frame, limb, and
    index arm were made of ebony, and the scales were ivory.  The clamp screw and
    various other parts were brass. The dealer guessed it was from the late 19th
    century.
    
    The eyepiece was brass, with two peepholes, one for the horizon and one for the
    mirror.  There were filters for the index mirror, but not for the horizon.
    
    There was no handle per se, but near the top of the front of the frame there was
    a brass piece with indentations for the fingers. There were "feet" of ebony for
    setting the octant on a flat surface.
    
    The limb was calibrated to whole degrees and 20-minute fractions of a degree.
    The vernier scale had 20 divisions, so the instrument could be read to the
    nearest whole minute.
    
    The mirrors could use re-silvering, but otherwise it appeared to be functional.
    The wooden case had been repaired.
    
    Asking price was US$795.  I passed, but I did buy a handheld pelorus, plastic
    case with painted aluminum face, but functional.  It will be useful for making
    deviation tables as well as for taking visual fixes.
    
    Chuck Taylor
    Seascape GB 32-2
    
    
    

       
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