Patten Octant

This octant has an ebony frame and reinforced brass index arm. The brass scale is graduated every 20 minutes from -2° to +100° and read by vernier and tangent screw to single minutes of arc. The "Richard Patten New York" inscription refers to Richard Patten (1792-1865), an instrument maker who began in business in New York City in 1813 and was soon the proprietor of a Navigation Warehouse. By 1820 he was advertising that he was a "manufacturer of mathematical instruments . . . equal to any in the City of London." Elsewhere he claimed to be the "only manufacturers of Sextans [sic] and Quadrants in New York," and that "All instruments in the above line [are] made to order & warranted, being divided on an engine after the Plan of Ramsden’s."
Ref: Deborah J. Warner, "Richard Patten (1792-1865)," Rittenhouse 6 (1989): 57-63.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Patten octant
Patten, Richard
Physical Description
ebony (overall material)
brass (overall material)
average spatial: 8.2 cm x 25.4 cm x 30.5 cm; 3 1/4 in x 10 in x 12 in
place made
United States: New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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