A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2020 Dec 7, 01:41 -0800
Further examination of this batch of items for sale on eBay including items from the Bob Benner collection has revealed another little gem namely this Sextant with Ivory Scale Serial No 577 by G.A. Berry, Hartlepool ANTIQUE G.A. BERRY & SON # 10 SEXTANT AND CASE - APPRAISED AT $1400 - VERY NICE | eBay
Hartlepool and West Hartlepool were quite a small, twin towns in the 19th century despite having relatively large Fish, Coal and Timber Docks (coal out-pit props in) and ship yards. As a Hartlepool lad myself (my dad sailed first as a 15 year old apprentice in a new Hartlepool built ship (SS Dunelmia), and sailed in his first command in another new Hartlepool built ship (MV Orelia)), I’d never heard of G. A. Berry & Son. I seems strange that a company big enough to produce at least 577 sextants could emerge in such a relatively small town. They could of course have been a chandlery buying sextants elsewhere stamped with their own name
Has any NavList member ever heard of G.A Berry & Son sextants, or do they recognise the sextant’s design as emanating from a more well-known manufacturer. Cooke & Son, Hull might be a possibility. There was also a general cargo trade between Hartlepool and Germany, so Germany might be a place to consider.
Another query, how common was an ivory arc scale? I used ABS plastic for the scale on the plywood sextant I made and found it remarkably easy to scribe with a dividing mechanism on an ordinary metalwork lathe (or at least the lab-technician did. I just stood watching in awe and wonder.) DaveP