Fine lattice frame sextant – Berge London, late Ramsden.

Fine lattice frame sextant – Berge London, late Ramsden.




Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Scientific, Surveying Instruments & Mining


A full size, lattice frame lacquered brass sextant, signed on the arc, ‘ Berge London, late Ramsden‘.
The silver scale reads from 0 -130 with the vernier reading to 15 arc seconds, the vernier arm adjustable by screw and tangent thumb screws and fitted with a worm drive adjustable magnifyer.The mirrors and shades are excellent and the instrument retains 100% lacquer; it is quite possible the sextant is unused – and all in original condition.The case holds one sighting tube, two telescopes (one high power, one low) both with cross hairs that give inverted images when viewed, an eye-piece with a revolving stop of coloured sun shades, and an adjusing pin.
The case has a working lock (no key) and two hook & eye fasteners. There are no cracks or damage but a wooden insert is missing to the inside.
This instrument became available on the market following the closure of four museums in the Burnley area of Lancashire, U.K. in 2016 as part of local government cuts.
Mathew Berge took over the business of Jesse Ramsden in 1800 and worked until 1819. Later instruments were signed, ‘Berge,London’ but earlier ones included the words, ‘Late Ramsden’.
N.B.   The last recorded instrument with the engraving ‘Berge, London, late Ramsden’, was with the Palermo Observatory when a theodolite (ordered by the Observatory to Ramsdens workshop) was completed in 1812 and delivered in Jan 1813. Although a steel measuring chain, also ordered by the Observatory arrived in 1809, signed, ‘Berge, London’.

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GB Scientific Inspirations

Scientific Inspirations

I live in Lancashire (U.K.) and have been a dealer and collector of scientific and nautical instruments for a number of years. My stock has included some fine items from museums and colleges, which were surplus to their requirements. I occasionally purchase some interesting items from abroad, having established some reliable sources.

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