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    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:
    http://www.celestaire.com/vmchk/General-Navigation/The-Nautical-Sextant/vmj_estore.tpl.html

    -FER


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