Stock Number: 9178


For sale, a WWII period navigation instrument for distance-ranging during WWII. An elaborate instrument complete with wood case and handle.


10-3/4 (27 cm) overall


c. 1942

Country of manufacture

North America

Categories: Maritime, Navigational instruments


U.S. NAVY TELESCOPIC STADIMETER, American, c. 1942, signed on plaques “Schick, Inc., Stamford, Conn.” and “U.S. Navy-Bu. Ships, #2244 – 1942,” and “Repaired by Boston Naval Shipyard.” This elaborate distance measuring device, 10-3/4″ (27 cm) overall, is made of brass with black crinkle, clear lacquer, and plated finishes, with a shaped mahogany handle. It works something like a sextant but limited to small angular separations, and with readout directly in distance rather than in angle. One sets the size of a known object (ship height or length, e.g.) on one scale (from 50 to 200 feet), and turns a calibrated micrometer knob until coincident images give the distance away in yards (from 200 to infinity). It is a rather sophisticated form of distance ranger, in fine condition, equipped with three legs, twin mirrors, spare mirror, scale magnifier, large-light-gathering-power telescope, and original fitted mahogany case. This is a very good example of the innovative form developed in the 1890’s by Lieutenant Bradley Allen Fiske. 

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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at [email protected].

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