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Round Sextant 4" Description
This brass round sextant is a wonderfully crafted nautical piece that brings an intriguing part of maritime history into any collection. Polished to a beautiful mirror-like shine, this round sextant brings an air of class and sophistication to any room in which it is displayed.
This small round sextant can be placed on nearly any desk, table, shelf, or display case to add a gorgeously constructed conversation piece to your home, office, or boat.
- Polished brass body and mechanisms
- Glass optics for a clear view (not plastic lenses)
- Fully functional sextant operates like a real navigational tool
- Solid rosewood box lined with felt to store sextant
- Brass anchor emblem inset in face of rosewood box
This functional sextant is crafted as a beautiful nautical décor item and is not calibrated, intended or recommended for actual navigational use
Sextants served a wide array of useful functions on nautical vessels before the advent of modern navigational equipment. Ship hands would use a sextant to accurately determine the angle of celestial bodies such as the sun and certain stars to determine their current position on a nautical chart or an accurate prediction of latitude. Many sailors also made use of sextants to judge the current time of day by calculating the angle of the moon in relation to other celestial objects.
Many cultures across the globe independently discovered triangulation of position, using stars, long before the advent of marine sextants. The seafaring Polynesians marked celestial latitude with a piece of bamboo affixed with a loop that would align with the horizon and a guiding star when the correct latitude was reached. The Arabs similarly used a kamal, which was a rectangle of wood attached to a knotted string. By holding the rectangle away from the body at the correct distance, as noted by knots in the rope, the correct latitude would be reached when the rectangle fit perfectly between horizon and star. While these two devices allowed sailors to find home port, they lacked the flexibility of marine sextants to take measurements aboard ship. Developed in the 14th century, the first ancestor of what would become marine sextants was the cross staff. Lining up the staff’s sight with the horizon and sliding a perpendicular “transom” to meet the celestial object allowed for an accurate reading at sea. Use of the cross staff also gave rise to the term “shooting” the sun because the staff resembled a crossbow being aimed at the heavens. Developed in the late 1500s, the backstaff followed the cross staff. With the same trigonometric principles of the cross staff, but with the sun’s shadow, the backstaff allowed sailors to take a measurement without having to stare towards the sun. The quadrant was also used to take celestial readings along with the backstaff and cross staff, though none of these tools were as accurate as nautical sextants would become. This fabulous sextant for sale is much more advanced than either the cross staff or backstaff, yet mostly unchanged in centuries.