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    Re: Sextants in Little Rock
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 Jan 5, 00:30 -0800


    I asked about the sextant that was labeled "US Navy ETS sextant" and you replied, "It stands for "Endless tangent screw."

    Thanks. Though I've heard the expression before, it never occurred to me in this context. Would you agree that this is a "bad" label for the instrument in the sense that calling it an "ETS" sextant is anachronistic or perhaps merely obvious for a sextant from that period? I don't think anyone during the Second World War (and the many years after when they were still in use) would have picked up a US Navy Mk II and said, "aha! It's an ETS sextant!" I suspect that they got this identification from an advisor from the Smithsonian since their web site is the first hit on the Internet that I can find that refers to these as "ETS sextants".

    I should say that this was still a considerably better than average display of sextants among the smaller maritime museums I've visited, and they only opened last year. There's an older maritime museum in Buffalo, New York with a sextant, fitted backwards in its case, labeled "USN Mk II sextant," but it is quite clearly a Husun sextant. It's from the right period at least. Most of these smaller maritime museums throw whatever they have into glass cases and hope for the best.


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