A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2017 Mar 23, 08:17 -0700
Henry Halboth, you wrote:
"You will undoubtedly recall that on 11/11/15 I posted a blurb about HO 203 & 204 which included a reworking of some previous sights to demonstrate their use and relative accuracy."
Thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten about that earlier post and was hoping you would have something to say on this topic. For anyone who would like to read the messages in that earlier discussion, here's an index: http://www.fer3.com/arc/sort2.aspx?subj=203&author=&y=201511. Your summary matches what other sources from the era imply. You wrote:
"Unfortunately, HO 203 & 204 were published during a time when the navigation community were transitioning from time to d/m/s units; this, coupled with the bulky size of the volumes and the use of a poor quality paper, as well as an overly technical description of their use which included mistakes, militated against their general use – they never became popular and were soon relegated to the dust bin of navigational history."
Also, it's perhaps relevant that these tables were published at a time when there was no great need for them. The mid-1920s were years of relative global peace, and this was also just before the period of long-distance air naigation which brought so many changes to celestial navigation. As Mixter notes writing in 1940, the "old navigation" was still alive and well and wouldn't be swept away until the generation of navigators trained during the Second World War took over. Poorly executed, bulky tables for the "new navigation" couldn't flourish in the 1920s.