Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.


A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Add Images & Files
    Re: Troughton and Simms
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2013 Jan 8, 19:31 -0800

    Norm, you wrote:
    "I am now the proud owner of a Troughton and Simms Pillar Sextant and would love to know how old it is. Any ideas?"

    Wow! You SHOULD be proud. I don't have exact dates on those in front of me, but yes, we can probably pin it down for you to within a few years. The most important item here is a serial number. It should have one, on or near the arc, unless it's been worn down (or ground down).

    You asked:
    "Also, some of the numbers have been worn down. Is it advisable to find a skilled engraver to 'refresh' them?"

    Unless you really need to in order to use it, I would recommend against that. That type of sextant has significant collectible value as an antique, and you would diminish that with any re-engraving. The biggest issue with those older instruments is the arc near zero. Sometimes they've been used so much that the zero point is no longer visible. This presents a bit of a challenge since it means you'll have to do something like a lunar or a star-to-star sight just to get an estimate of index correction. But if you can see the fine marks on the scale near zero, you're all set.

    By the way, be sure to get yourself a fresh pair of reading glasses and maybe a modern hand magnifier. Those vernier scales can be a real challenge to your vision.

    And you asked:
    "Finally, how much 'cleaning up' should I do? I certainly don't want it shiny. I'd like it to look lovingly used."

    Again, for antique value, as little cleaning as possible.

    Bill Morris is our resident expert on sextant construction, repairs, maintenance, etc. He practically wrote the book on the subject! ...wait, he DID write the book on the subject. :)

    You may want to get yourself a copy:


    NavList message boards and member settings: www.fer3.com/NavList
    Members may optionally receive posts by email.
    To cancel email delivery, send a message to NoMail[at]fer3.com

    Browse Files

    Drop Files


    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site