H. Hughes & Son Ltd. Sextant

This sextant has a frame of blackened brass. The inscriptions read "H. HUGHES & SON LTD. LONDON" and "44164" and "MADE IN ENGLAND." The silvered scale is graduated every degree from -5° to +130° and read by ivory micrometer with electric light to 10 seconds of arc. The batteries for the light are in the handle of the instrument. Hughes was making micrometer sextants by the early 1930s.
Steven Memoli bought this sextant in Cardiff, Wales, in 1944. He spent the war years transporting troops from the U.S. to Europe and North Africa, and also participated in the Normandy invasion. Several years after the war, having been prodded by the U.S. Circuit Court, the Department of Defense granted veteran’s status to Memoli and other merchant seamen of his ilk.
Ref: Henry Hughes & Son, Ltd., Sextants and General Navigational Instruments (London, 1938).
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
H. Hughes & Son, Ltd.
Physical Description
mahogany (overall material)
brass (overall material)
radius: 6 in; 15.24 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
World War II
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Steven Memoli

Visitor Comments

7/12/2015 5:46:15 AM
Lachlan Mac Neil
I have a Hughes & Son sextant made in 1940. I am using it as a workable instrument.
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