A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Steven Telsey
Date: 2017 Mar 23, 14:37 -0700
I inherited two 19th century octants and am seeking information about them. I have met with the curator at the Mystic Seaport Collections Research Center and we found almost nothing. I am hoping they ring a bell with one or more of you aficionados.
The first is an ebony frame, ivory arc (102 degrees) by Lewis Woolf of Liverpool. I know he made instruments that were sold by H. Duren, a dealer in nautical instruments at 39 Burling Slip, New York, New York, but my octant does not list him on the ivory nameplate. It just reads "Lewis.Woolf.Liverpool".
The second is a brass frame, ivory arc (113 degrees) by an unknown manufacturer. The only marking is "US Navy [symbol] 960" etched on the arc. The symbol looks like a circle with a lightning bolt or the letter N with serifs extending outside the circle. I don't know if "960" is a model or serial number.
I can provide pictures if that would help. What do we know of Lewis Woolf? When did he manufacture octants? Where might his instruments have been used? And any information on the Navy octant would be of interest. I thank you all for your assistance.