Box Sextant


A box (or pocket) sextant works like a traditional sextant, but here the mechanism is enclosed in a brass box of about 3 inches diameter. William Jones, a leading instrument maker in London, introduced the form in 1797.

This example has a silvered scale that is graduated every 30 minutes from -5° to +145° and read by vernier to single minutes of arc. The inscription reads "H. HUGHES & SON, LTD. LONDON No 510 1918." The inscription on the leather case reads "T. J. WEEKS & SONS 1916."

Ref: William Jones, "Description of a New Pocket Box Sextant," in George Adams, Geometrical and Graphical Essays, 2nd ed. by William Jones, (London, 1797), pp. 283-285.

Date Made: early 20th centuryafter 1903

Maker: Hughes

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United Kingdom: England, London

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences, Navigation, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Howard Beall

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PH.336361Catalog Number: 336361Accession Number: 1977.1038

Object Name: box sextant

Measurements: overall: 3 in; 7.62 cmoverall: 3 5/8 in x 3 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in; 9.2075 cm x 8.255 cm x 5.715 cm


Record Id: nmah_1197883

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