Equatorial Sextant

Description
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 better remembered for the solar compass that he introduced in the 1830s.
Ref: John S. Burt, They Left Their Mark. A Biography of William Austin Burt (Rancho Cordova, Ca., 1985), pp. 128-130.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
equatorial sextant
date made
1856
maker
Burt, William A.
Measurements
overall: 11 7/8 in x 10 1/4 in x 5 5/8 in; 30.1625 cm x 26.035 cm x 14.2875 cm
ID Number
PH*309166
catalog number
309166
accession number
89797
patent number
16,002
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Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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