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Equatorial Sextant

Catalogue number:

diameter of circles, 10 inches

William Austin Burt submitted this model of his new equatorial sextant to the U.S. Patent Office in 1856. According to the published patent (#16,002), this instrument could be used to take azimuths, altitude, and time with one observation, and thus enable one to easily obtain the position and bearing of a ship at sea. Burt’s design was ingenious, but this instrument never found much of a market. Burt is best remembered for the solar compass that he introduced in the 1830s.

Ref: John S. Burt, The Left Their Mark. A Biography of William Austin Burt (Rancho Cordova, Ca., 1985), pp. 128-130.

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