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    Re: Wanted: Small Craft Precision Sextant from Francis Barker
    From: Alexandre Eremenko
    Date: 2007 Jan 21, 11:42 -0500

    These seem to be really rare.
    I follow e-bay systematically,
    and I have never seen one of those
    on e-bay.
    In the photo it looks very similar
    to the box sextants of XIX century.
    These can be found on e-bay quite frequently.
    (I was lucky to buy one, by Troughton and Simms,
    a year ago for
    a very moderate price, and I find it really
    excellent. I mean the average of 4-5 observatiopns
    almost always gives me the result within 1'.
    Usually even much better than that.
    I think it is an outstanding performance for a
    "sextant" that fits in your T-shirt pocket.
    I can also cite historical evidence:
    Alexander von Humboldt writes:
    "I also have a two-inch sextant by Troughton,
    which I call my snuff-box sextant: it is really incredible
    what you can do with this little instrument.
    A single set of observations taken by it
    of the altitude of the Sun when passing the prime vertical
    will give the correct time within two or three seconds.
    Even if this accuracy is purely accidental, I must admit
    it happens very frequently."
    This is confirmed by my experience: I even managed
    to take some Lunars with it from a small boat:-)
    With accidentally very good results.
    P.S. One problem with these sextants on e-bay is
    that there are many fakes, which look VERY much
    like the real thing. You need really good photos to tell
    the difference.
    On Sat, 20 Jan 2007, Ken Gebhart wrote:
    > In the late 80s, we (Celestaire) bought the entire remaining stock, some 36
    > , from Francis Barker. These have all been long ago sold at retail, and I am
    > sure no dealer has them anymore.  I might mention that in the 36 units, all
    > had defective sunshades. Instead of installing half shade glasses in the
    > holders, they put solid sunshades, which prevented the horizon from being
    > visible. Thus the sextant was useless for sun sights. We discovered this
    > problem about half way through the sales, and sent the 18 units back to
    > Barker for correction, which they did. The others are still out there
    > somewhere, and surprisingly, no one complained. I mention this in case some
    > defective units may show up on ebay, and should be guarded against. It would
    > be very difficult to repair them on your own.
    > Ken
    > On 1/20/07 3:09 AM, "Geomat"  wrote:
    > >
    > > I know of the Small Craft Precision Sextant (a boxsextant) produced by
    > > the british firm Francis Barker & Son at the end of the 1980's. I've
    > > seen the sextant in two types: a dark-grey og a beige version. Normally
    > > the sextants are in a small leather case. Today the firm Francis Barker
    > > has been taken over by Pyser-SGI Limited, and they don't produce the
    > > sextant anymore (I've been in contact with the firm).
    > >
    > > I'm interested in buying a couple of these specific instruments from
    > > Francis Barker and from the 1980's, but they seem quite difficult to
    > > find on the net. Could anyone help me with a name/adress of a dealer?
    > >
    > > You can see a photo of this specific sextant on:
    > > http://www.gilai.com/scripts/more/sni664-navigational-Navigational+Instruments
    > > -no.html
    > >
    > > /Jesper (www.geomat.dk)
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
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