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Larry and Carole
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Antique Surveying Compasses

Past Sales Archive

This is just a sample of the many antiques we have sold. Click link to see other Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Antiques  Contact Us.

For further info on consigning / selling your antiques with us please see our FAQ page, the Appraisal / Selling Page and the Selling Your Collection Pages.

Our current offering of Antiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.



Roach & Warner Surveyors CompassRoach & Warner Surveyors Compass    This surveyor's compass dates from the early to mid 1800's and is in very nice original condition.  Roach is a well known but relatively rare maker who started out his instrument making career on the East Coast in New York after he came here from Ireland.  He started out in the mid 1830's or so in a partnership with Warner, and that is how this instrument is marked.  By 1850 or so he was listed in the directories of San Francisco as a maker of scientific instruments and surveying equipment.  He was soon the best known and largest maker on the west coast. 

This compass is in very nice condition exhibiting large amounts of its original finish.  It appears that one vial has been refilled as the two have different color vials.   .  The labels inside the top indicate that this instrument was at one time in the Boston area being worked on or adjusted by the Leder and Probst  there.  Another tag says it was purchased from them in 1919, and then that fellow gave it to the next owner in 1959.  The original Roach & Warner label is still here as well giving the location of 292 Broadway New York.  The compass measures just under 16" overall, and the compass face is approx  6  3/4" with the needle being 6".  The compass face is very nicely engraved with a floral and vine motif.  The ball and socket mount for the Jacob staff is also present.  A rare and desirable instrument in condition not typically found.

Good . . . . .  $2000.00       SOLD



Frye & Shaw Surveyors CompassFrye & Shaw Surveyors Compass    This surveyor's compass dates from the mid 1800's and is in super original condition. The partnership of Frye & Shaw (1837-1845) was formed by Addington D. Frye and Robert Ludlow Shaw and was located in New York City. The dovetailed box is original and very nice. It will make a great display piece.  Very nice!

Good . . . . .  $1750.00       SOLD

There is a nice bio at the Smithsonian site  found Here:

 http://americanhistory2.si.edu/collections/surveying/object.cfm?recordnumber=745994





Gregg & Rupp Surveyors CompassGregg & Rupp Surveyors Compass    This surveyor's compass dates from the mid 1800's and is in super original condition.  This was a New York based outfit and it is done in that style.  The dovetailed box is original and very nice as well. It will make a great display piece.  Very nice!

Good + . . . . .  $1750.00       SOLD









Levi Colton Surveyors CompassLevi Colton Surveyors Compass   This surveyor's compass dates from the mid 1800's and is in super original condition.  Colton began his career in Washington, and then moved to New York and finally Connecticut.  This one is nicely engraved in the New York style of the period.  It is complete and in very nice original condition.  The dovetailed box is original and very nice as well. It is smaller than typically seen and will make a great display piece.  Very nice!

Good +. . . . .  $1995.00       SOLD

Below is biographical information from the Smithsonian site. 


Colton Levi Colton (1803-1885) was born in Massachusetts, and trained as a jeweler and silversmith. He may have learned the art of instrument making from Richard Patten, for whom he worked in Washington, D.C. in 1846, and who described him as a quite steady and industrious man. Around 1850 Colton was making compasses in New York City, and in the mid-1850s he was making compasses in Hartford, Connecticut.




William Young & Sons Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope Serial # 4798William Young & Sons Compass w/ Auxiliary Scope Serial # 4798    This is a wonderfully graphic piece of Early Americana and American Technology which dates from approx 1876 and the era of the American Centennial.  William Young was the first American instrument maker to own a dividing engine which he designed and built himself.  He is also credited with designing the first American Transit.  By the time this instrument was made one of his sons, Alfred had taken over the company, and it was right around this time that they fist began marking their instruments Young and Sons.  This early and famous firm was located in Philadelphia, producing a quality line of instruments right up until they were acquired by Keuffel and Esser around  1918. Even then K & E continued to offer a separate line of instruments with the young name so as to maintain that customer base which had been built up over the years. This compass is approx 16" long, and the compass measures 6" with a 5 1/2 inch needle which operates just fine.  The level vials are all full and appear to be original.  The optics of the 7 1/2" rare auxiliary scope are clear and bright.  There is one decorative small brass cover missing over the vernier adjust on the right hand side up against the compass.  This can be seen in one of the pics.  It is minor and does not affect operation.  The sight vanes are both present and nice.  The box has classic dovetail joints from the period and in general is very nice.

Good . . . . .  $1750.00       SOLD




Randolph's 1879 Patent  Surveyors Telescopic LevelRandolph's 1879 Patent  Surveyors Telescopic Level  Theodore Randolph was a well known instrument maker in Ohio during his working period from roughly 1850 to near the turn of the century.  He won several awards at exhibitions and first drew a patent for this style of telescopic compass in 1879.  Randolph was born, raised, and operated his business in Cincinnati Ohio from the mid 1800's to just before the turn of the century.  This instrument has a detachable telescope that can be removed.  The optics are good / clear, and the compass is operational.  The level vials are full and appear to be original.  The silvered Vernier is nice, and the keeper works as well.  This piece was cleaned a long time ago and has a nice mellow look to it after years of aging.   A nice piece from a  hard to find maker that will make a very nice display.

Good . . . . .  $995.00       SOLD




Patented Surveying CompassRandolph's 1879 Patent  Surveyors Telescopic Level w/ Compass   This instrument has a detachable telescope that can be removed. The optics are good / clear. There are a couple of empty screw holes in the scope body that i do not know what went there. This can be seen in the pics. The compass is operational and the 2 level vials embedded in the compass face are full with green blue liquid and appear to be original. The outer silvered Vernier is nice. The compass face measures approx 5" and it has a 4" needle which is operational. The bronzed compass face is very nice, and the serial # is 4440. This piece has never been cleaned and has a nice patina. The bottom connector is present and is prepared to be fitted to a tripod or staff with the threaded adapter which has a spring loaded quick release feature.  

Good . . . . .  $695.00       SOLD





Patented 1871 T. F. Randolph Vernier Compass w/ 4' NeedlePatented T. F. Randolph Vernier Compass w/ 4' Needle  This surveying compass is marked with the maker name T. F. Randolph, and the location Cincinnati. Ohio as well as the patent date of June 12th 1871.  Theodore Randolph's working dates were from roughly 1850 to near the turn of the century. He was a well known and respected surveying instrument maker from Cincinnati Ohio. He won several awards at exhibitions and first drew a patent for this style of  compass in 1871.

This instrument has two thumbscrews on the bottom to attach an auxiliary telescope that can be removed and is missing. The compass is operational and the 2 level vials embedded in the compass face are full with green blue liquid and appear to be original. The outer silvered Vernier is nice. There is a keeper / numbered dial that is operational as well.  The compass face measures approx 5" and it has a 4" needle which is operational.  The locking feature for the needle works, but is close to being stripped and is fragile.   The bronzed compass face is very nice, and the serial # is 1121. This compass has never been cleaned and has a nice patina. The bottom knuckle joint connector has a spring loaded quick release feature and is prepared to be fitted to a staff .

A nice piece from a hard to find maker that will make a very nice display.

Good  . . . . . . $195.00     SOLD!




K & E CompassK & E Forrester Compass  These small compasses were made for work on the go out in the field.  Every major maker offered a version, and here is the Keuffel & Esser model in nice condition.   

Good . . . . .  $195.00       SOLD









c.1836 Robert Shaw Surveying CompassRobert Shaw Surveyor's Compass  Robert Shaw was born in New York City in 1817 and worked there throughout his career.  He died in 1876.  From what I have read he learned his trade and worked with from John H. Wheeler another early New York instrument maker prior to opening his own shop.  In Smarts' bio on him he says that Shaw was listed individually in 1836 as a instrument maker at the 222 Water St. location.  After that and until 1845 he was listed as having Addington Frye as a partner. r. Shaw 19th Century Surveyor's Compass   I suppose this surveyors compass with the location given could date from just after he first opened shop in 1836-1837, and before 1838 when he was in partnership with Addington Frye, or after 1845 when the partnership dissolved.  Later Directories indicate that Shaw was in business by himself at several other locations in the city after 1845 and in his later working years

Several years ago I had and sold a compasses marked with both names that was very similar in design and decoration to this compass.    There is a picture of that compass in the archives if you care to look. 

The overall condition of this surveying compass is superb.   The vanes fit nicely, and the knuckle joint is present.  It is all original and its patina has developed to a warm glow only possible after 150 years of careful storage.  The compass face has very detailed and nicely done  engraving around the ring and at the points.   Early New York instrument makers were proud of their work, and it shows in the level of quality and detail that was put into this piece. The box is proper and a very nicely figured burled / flamed Walnut.  It has a iridescence or shimmering quality even today nearly 150 years after it was made from the wood.  Several years ago I had a Shaw & Frye Compass, but otherwise they are very hard to find today, and are considered rare in most instances.  A very nice piece that is highly recommended!

Fine . . . . . . . $1495.00        SOLD!





Gurley Pocket Solar CompassW. & L. E. Gurley # 276 Pocket Solar Compass  Gurley pocket solar compasses are a rare and unusual surveying instrument.  The condition of this example is second to none.  It is near mint!!

The basic idea behind solar attachments and their use in surveying was first developed by William Burt in the 1830's.  Gurley bought the rights to use his idea and incorporated it into both their transits and their line of compasses. Gurley first introduced this near miniature solar size compass in 1880.  It was discontinued in about 1918 when it no longer appeared in their catalogs. In their catalog description Gurley claimed that this style compass was nearly as accurate as their larger models, far lighter and easier to carry into the field.  It weighs in at under 5 lbs, while the standard size compass was closer to 15 lbs.

Solar compasses were developed to be used in place of regular compasses that were subject to error due to large deposits of iron that would adversely affect a regular compass.  The idea  was to use the sun and horizon to accurately find ones position.  Much as sea faring adventures had done, and did with instruments like sextants and octants.   
Gurley Pocket Solar Compass
The overall condition is near mint with original patina.  The lacquer finish is near perfect with just minor losses, i.e.. scratches on the bottom. It has never been cleaned, and when you move the hour arc you can see the original polished silver scales under the clamps.  This points to just how little this instrument was ever used.  All motions operate freely, and the plate and both verniers move freely.  The 3" needle swings freely.  The compass face is inscribed with the Gurley name and Troy NY location.  There is no serial # which would indicate this dates from before 1908.  There is an example of one of these pictured in the Skerritt book that illustrates Charles Smart's collection of surveying instruments.  In it he states that Smart's Pocket Solar Compass was Smarts favorite instrument in the collection.

This style instrument was designed to be used on either a staff or tripod.  There is no leveling head other than the swivel ball joint stored in the box.  I do have a small light weight tripod that will fit the mount that can be purchased separately.  I also have NOS staffs that will work well with this instrument listed on another page. 

An important surveying related instrument ready for inclusion in the finest collection of surveying instruments, Scientific instruments, or significant Americana.   Highly recommended. 

Fine . . . . . . $SOLD!!


Draper Surveyor's CompassEdmund Draper Surveyor's Compass   Edmund Draper was an early and important Philadelphia instrument maker, Edmund Draper (1805-1882) apprenticed to Benjamin Stancliffe before going out on his own beginning in the early 1830's.  He is said to have made an accurate dividing engine at a time when on Young also of Philadelphia had the only other one.   He manufactured surveying compasses, some of which were fitted with telescopes, as well as some early transits. It is unknown how many he made, but the Smithsonian site estimated that the made approximately 28 instruments a year.

This compass plate is 15 inches long, with crossed spirit levels on the right side. Both are full.   The 7 inch sight vanes are attached with knurled thumbscrews.  There is a nice even patina, and this instrument has never been cleaned or buffed.  It look wonderful.   The silvered compass face is signed in script "Edmund Draper Philada 375, Warranted". North is marked with an unusual seven pointed star.  The compass circle is divided in quadrants and marked in 1/2 degrees.  The silvered face is fine and the glass appears to be original. The compass needle and clamp work well. The 6 1/2 inch diameter, slightly domed compass cover is made of heavy brass. Complete with original hand dovetailed walnut box.  The Heller & Brightly tag is probably a repair tag put there when this was sent there for adjustment or a repair.  Recommended. 
 

Good + . . . . . . $1295.00     SOLD!




John Roach Vernier Mining Compass w/ Clinometer Sighting FeatureJohn Roach Mining Compass w/ Vernier & Clinometer Sighting Feature  This is an interesting and unusual surveying instrument.  John Roach was originally from Scotland and relocated to NY in the 1830's.  He opened up a scientific instrument shop there first as a sole operator and later in partnership with a fellow named Warner.  Shortly after the California Gold rush of 1849 began  he pulled up his stakes and moved to California setting up shop in SF by 1855. He was soon the largest and most prolific maker of surveying and scientific instruments there.  He died in 1891.

This is a very unusual form and size surveying instrument.  I do not have access to any of Roach's catalogs and so can only guess that it was intended for use in mining situations or other close in situations.  It stands just a mere 39" tall on its original tripod to the top of the auxiliary sight.  Joseph Sala who was Roaches assistant, and then successor after Roach's death offered a somewhat similar looking instrument and called it a Clinometer Compass.

The needle is original and approx 4".  The maker name and location are on the silvered face of the compass.  The needle swings freely and points north.  There is a needle hold feature, but the arm to actuate it is missing.  The Clinometer sighting feature is graduated to 90 degrees and has the ability to look over the edge of the compass for mining applications.  The level vial is full.

There is a box which is not shown.  It is missing a section of the lid and one side, and is in need of restoration.  The tripod legs are a mere 30" long and have a great taper design.  One of the legs is missing the bottom foot.  The leveling head looks OK, and is all here, but the screw holding the two halves together is stripped and so if adjusted too much it tends to come apart.  It is set up now with tape to take up the slack, and is stable, but not really useable.  Instruments by Roach are pretty unusual and this is a form mining compass I have never seen before.  It was made by California's premier instrument maker during it glory days of the mid to late 1800's.  An important surveying / mining piece ready for inclusion in the finest collection.    

Good  . . . . . . $SOLD!




Wm. J. Young Solar CompassWm. J. Young Solar Compass w/ Leveling Head & Tripod  William Young hailed from Pennsylvania.  He was born in 1800 and died in 1870.  He was Pennsylvania's most famous maker of scientific and surveying related instruments. Young originally apprenticed to Thomas Whitney at the age of 13.  He went into business for himself in the 1820's.  There is an extensive Bio on him at the Smithsonian site, as well as examples of two similar solar compasses in the collection there.  Here is a link  http://amhistory.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=38.  Young is credited by many to be the first to develop and introduce the concept of a transit in America and made the first dividing engine used in America. 

This solar compass is an early and significant type of surveying instrument. The idea was first developed by William Burt in the 1830's.  They were developed to be used in place of regular compasses that were subject to error due to large deposits of iron that would adversely affect a regular compass.  The idea  was to use the sun and horizon to accurately find ones position.  Young made the first example for Burt to submit to the Patent Office.  The Smithsonian has information on this story at the link below http://amhistory.si.edu/surveying/ype.cfm?typeid=17  Young first started producing them for sale in 1840 and went on to refine the idea adding features and perfecting the design for this specialized form instrument.  There is a serial number inside the glass compass of 3554 which would date it from approx. 1853.  Young first started using serial numbers in 1850 William Young Solar Compass starting the numbering at 3000.

The box is mahogany box has a later label in it from Young and Sons.  It was probably affixed after a repair or adjustment.  There are 2 adjusting bars still present inside the box. There is a space in the box for what may have been a scope but that space is empty The compass plate has extra holes under one sight vane that may have been for mounting a scope. A similar instrument w/ scope sold for approx. 30,000 a few years ago on eBay.   

The overall condition is very nice with original patina.  All motions operate, and the plate moves freely.  The vernier scale has 2 windows covering the silver scale there. Both level vials are good.  The plate on one end is marked "Made by Wm. J. Young Philada".  The plate at the other end is Marked Burt's Patent.   The tripod and leveling head are in very nice condition, fit well and seem to be original.  An important surveying related instrument ready for inclusion in the finest collection.    

Fine . . . . . . $SOLD!!



BACK

This is just a sample of the many antiques we have sold. Click link to see other Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Antiques  Contact Us.

For further info on consigning / selling your antiques with us please see our FAQ page, the Appraisal / Selling Page and the Selling Your Collection Pages.

Our current offering of Antiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.


This website is Copyrighted
(1998 - 2014)
Larry & Carole Meeker