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3.01 AMERICAN NAVIGATOR’s RULES. Very fine all brass parallel rules as used by the ship’s navigator for charting positions and courses. This fine example was made by the famous American instrument makers and ship chandlers “T. S. & J. D. NEGUS (New York)” as engraved in the lower limb. These 18 inch rules follow the English design of Captain Field’s patent in the mid-1800’s, with degrees and compass points engraved on all four edges. This pair dates to the early 1900’s. It has a smooth tight action and evidences careful use but no abuse. The lower surfaces have minor scratching from use and the top surfaces exhibit a rich age patina. Each rule is 1 9/16ths inches wide, total 3 1/8th inches. 195

The Negus firm first appeared in the New York City directories at 84 Wall Street in 1850. Thomas Stewart was trained as a chronometer maker in England and began working with his brother, John David in 1848, first under the name of Thos. S. Negus & Co. During the Civil War the firm moved to 100 Wall Street and the name changed to T.S. & J.D. Negus. The business of chronometer and navigational instrument making continued to grow, causing them to move to 69 Pearl Street in 1875. From the Civil War onward, Negus enjoyed the patronage of the U.S. Navy as the suppliers of chronometers and other navigational equipment.

William Andrew Field (1796-1871) was an English sea captain, navigator and scientist who introduced his “Improved Parallels” in 1854. The improvement consisted of marking compass headings in protractor form on the leading edges of the rules. This feature made it easier for the navigator to maintain the line of the ship’s course.


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8.51 BRONZE INCLINOMETER. Distinctive old ship’s pilot house inclinometer cast of heavy, solid bronze. This ship’s navigational instrument has an incised scale spanning an arc of 70 degrees, running from “0” at the center to 35 degrees port and starboard. It is calibrated by single degrees in 5 degree increments, and is marked with numerals in relief every 10 degrees. The massive pendulum-like bob is triangular in cross section and is pointed to indicate single degrees. It swings freely with a nice motion over the scale. The instrument itself measures slightly over a foot high by 14 ½ inches wide. It is mounted to its original mahogany backboard 15 inches high by 17 inches wide. The instrument and backboard were mounted to the bulkhead by two large brass wood screws running through both of the limbs. Nicely polished with a great old look. A very handsome example. This is a real ship’s relic, NOT a reproduction. 285


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13.18 RARE ENGINEROOM CLOCK. Early American ship’s engineroom clock made for the Ashcroft Steam Gauge & Valve Company as marked in the shield above the center arbor, “Ashcroft , New York.” Above the arbor is an arrow indicating the direction to wind it up. And just above it, below the 12, it is engraved “ENGINE ROOM.” Typical of Chelsea’s earliest production, movements were sold to existing makers with a 19th century history such as Ashcroft, Star Bronze, Crosby and others who housed these superb Chelsea movements in their own steam gauge cases. This very early example has a silvered brass dial hand-engraved with bold Arabic numerals. It has a minute chapter ring indicating single minutes. A subsidiary seconds bit is below the central arbor showing single seconds marked by 15’s. The classic ship’s clock case with flared hinged bezel is heavy solid brass. It hinges on the left, opening and locking on the right. The lovely all brass movement is Chelsea’s finest 11 jewel lever escapement. These movements are akin to the fine American railroad pocket watches of the era. They could actually be called “watches,” not clocks. The matching movement and case numbers XXXXXX* indicate a date of April 1918, 100 years ago! The dial, protected under its old wavy glass, is 5 ½ inches in diameter. The clock itself is 7 ¾ inches in diameter and 2 5/8 inches thick. An excellent runner. Complete with period winding key and case locking key. A scarce, very desirable old ship’s clock from the age of steam by the finest of makers. The best! SOLD

* For the security and privacy of the ultimate buyer this number is being withheld.





18.88 SHIP’s CABIN LAMPS. Stunning, matched pair of English cabin lamps from the 1920’s or earlier, made by the lamp making firm of “VIKING, Registered Trademark” as boldly embossed on the oval brass maker’s label on the front of the chimneys. These pristine, original oil-fired lamps were made entirely of the finest quality thick-walled sheet brass. Attesting to their quality, the front panel is thick beveled glass and is made removable by loosening one screw for cleaning. The right side of each lamp is equipped with a sliding door which lifts up to access the original fonts within. The complex fonts are double-walled for maximum aspiration of the burner and have “breather holes” on two sides. There is a handle on the font for its easy insertion and removal to accommodate servicing and filling. To these ends, each has an oil filler hole in the font with screw-on cap and a wick advance knob on the burner. The bottoms of the lamp bodies also have breather holes. These are covered by the sliding door which is equipped with a hasp for secure locking when required. The back wall of each lamp is covered with a unique silvered dual panel with reflects the light emitted from the flame to the left and right. The top of each lamp has a hemispherical hinged chimney cover and the back is equipped with very substantial cast brass male hanging bracket. In addition, the sides of the lamps have square tubular fittings which were designed to fit over support prongs on either side of the lamp body. The lower backs of each also have a concealed triangular air inlet abutting the bulkhead. Incredible, virtually pristine condition in lustrous bright brass surfaces with no flaws! These are the nicest lamps of their type we have ever encountered in our 39 years. They would make an awesome statement in an entrance way. That noted, we would highly discourage modifying them by drilling or other permanent changes for electrification, since they are very rare survivors from such devaluating practices begun in the 1920’s onward. 19 ½ inches high by 9 3/8 wide and 7 ½ deep. Each weighs an amazing 12 pounds! Bargain priced. A few years ago a pair of lamps of this age and condition would easily have fetched $3,000. 1895

A substantial number of reproduction “Viking Cabin Lamps” were made in Taiwan from 1970 through the early 1990’s. There is no comparison to them and the real thing. The differences in quality are easily recognizable.



font and burner
burner detail

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 AUTHENTIC LIGHTHOUSE.   This is the ultimate!  Here is an exceptional opportunity to own a very historic relic of America’s rich maritime heritage embodied in the original lamp room from the famous Ballast Point Lighthouse, which served its sentinel duties in the channel of San Diego Bay from 1890 until 1960.  This incredibly well-preserved piece of history was built according to specifications laid out by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1885.  A copy of the original specifications are included as are much printed references and photographs.  Erected in 1890, the 5th Order lighthouse was a significant aid to navigation in conjunction with the Point Loma Lighthouse (1850) poised at the entrance to San Diego Bay.   Ballast Point Light was situated further inside the massive bay on a point which jutted into the seaway which posed a hazard to shipping.  13 feet 10 inches high with a maximum width of 8 feet 8 inches.  Weight approximately 5 tons. It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for transport.  127 years old!  Price Request Special PackagingBack to Top

Serious inquiries only please.  No telephone quotes.  This item has been nominated as a candidate for the National Historic Register, and is currently being considered by a number of museums, private lighthouse restoration groups and the U.S. Navy.   Clear title is guaranteed.  Please provide your qualifications for ownership and your intentions for use.  We reserve the right to select a deserving owner.   We have already soundly rejected a low ball offer of $25,000 – that being the original price of the lamp room in 1890!   A single 5th Order light house lens recently sold for $125,000.  This is the entire lamp room, much rarer, and probably the only one of its kind to ever be for sale again!


On October 2, 1888, recognizing the need for a harbor light in the increasingly congested channel of San Diego Bay, Congress authorized $25,000 for the construction of a lighthouse to be built on Ballast Point.  Fashioned in the late Victorian style, the entire structure took 3 months to build beginning in March 1890.  The light was first lit on August 1st.  It was a sister of the lights at San Luis Obispo and Table Bluff, south of Humboldt Bay.  All were wood framed structures with attached living quarters.  The ironwork for the lantern was forged in San Francisco and carried south to San Diego by ship.  The French firm of Sautter, Lemmonier, & Cie. manufactured the Freznel lens for the Ballast Point Light in 1886.  The fixed 5th Order lens was visible for a distance of at least 11 miles.
When California was still part of Mexico the peninsula jutting into San Diego Bay was known as Punta del los Guijarros or “Pebble Point.”  For centuries cobblestones washed down by the San Diego River had been deposited on the point.  When California gained statehood in 1850 the point was renamed Middle Ground Shoal.  As time went on and merchant traffic in the harbor increased, many sailing ships found it convenient to load or discharge the stones as ballast.  The practice continued and eventually the name “Ballast Point” stuck.
Accompanying the Ballast Point lighthouse was a huge 2,000 pound fog bell in a wooden tower.  In 1928 it was supplanted by a single tone electric diaphone horn.

The first keeper of the light was John M. Nilsson, assigned duty on July 15, 1890.  The second was Henry Hall, who took the job on December 1, 1892.  Perhaps the most famous keeper was Irish born David R. Splaine, a Civil War veteran and veteran lighthouse keeper, who assumed the post in 1894, having served at Point Conception, the Farallons and San Diego’s own Point Loma light from 1886-1889.

In 1913 the original old kerosene lamp was replaced with an acetylene burner.  Acetylene gave way to electricity in 1928.  In 1938 a filter was fitted inside the 5th Order Freznel lens giving the light a distinctive green hue for recognition.  One of the last keepers of the light was Radford Franke who recalled receiving the order to “douse the light” upon the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

By early 1960 the light was deemed to be of no further service, so in June of that year the lantern room was removed to a salvage yard.  The wooden tower and its brick and mortar foundation remained a couple of years later until they too were declared structurally unsafe and demolished.  The bell tower continued to survive, mounted with a 375 mm high intensity lamp on its roof.  However the value of maintaining any light on Ballast Point diminished with the installation of harbor entrance range lights.  In the late 1960’s the bell and its tower were dismantled.  The tower found its way to a private residence in Lakeside, California.  The bell had a more circuitous later life.  It was purchased from a San Diego area junk yard in 1969 for its scrap value of 5 cents per pound!  The one ton bell remained on local private property until 1991, when it was put on loan to the San Diego Maritime Museum.  In 1999 the bell was transported to the son of the original buyer, living in Colorado.  Then in 2002, the bell finally found its way to the home of the owner’s granddaughter living in Vermont, where it rests to this day.
The story of the lantern’s later life is even more fascinating.  The nation was just recovering from the Cuban Missile Crisis between JFK and Khrushchev, when in 1964 the Cuban government cut off the fresh water supply to the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay.  By that time, an experimental desalinization plant had been in operation at Point Loma for 2 years.  The Navy hastily ordered it to be disassembled and shipped through the Panama Canal to Cuba.  A gentleman working as a crane operator during the process noted the shabby lantern room in a trash heap nearby.  He inquired as to the fate of the relic and was told it was salvage.  Asking if he could purchase it,  the yard foreman told him he could “have it” if he would haul it away.  With that, for the next 34 years the lantern room served as a gazebo in the backyard of the man’s residence in Bonita, California.  It was purchased by the present owners in 1998, fully refurbished, and then placed on public display ever since.  Now it is time for it to find its next new home.  According to the crane operator who delivered the lamp room it weighs approximately 5 tons.  It will require a crane and a flat bed truck for removal.

F. Ross Holland, “The Old Point Loma Lighthouse,” 1978, Cabrillo Historical Association, San Diego, California
Jim Gibbs, “The Twilight of Lighthouses,” 1996, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA.
Kin Fahlen and Karen Scanlon, “Lighthouse of San Diego,” 2008, Arcadia Publishing, San Francisco
Kraig Anderson, “Forgotten Ballast Point “Lighthouse” Seeks New Home,” article in “Lighthouse Digest,” East Machias, Maine,  September – October 2011,  Vol. XX, no. 5 pages 34 – 37.
“Mains’l Haul,” a periodic publication of the San Diego Maritime Association, Summer 1990, Vol. XXVI,  No. 4, pp. 11-12.







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