As usual I enjoyed reading your ‘Message from the Bridge’ in the June 2016 issue of Sea Breezes.
Fancy you owning a Plath sextant. During my entire time at sea (1952-2007) I only once saw a Plath sextant aboard a ship, namely; my own.
‘Way back’ in the early 1960s, I received an unexpected promotion to Mate, unexpected because, at that time, I had not passed for Master. Anyway, I found that my old (1907) non-endless-tangent-screw vernier sextant was not really up to taking the morning and evening stars. This being because of its very small mirrors.
Consequently, since we were bound for Hamburg, I decided to purchase my present instrument there. Taking an afternoon off, I duly visited Charles Plath’s premises on the Gertigstrasse where I bought my sextant. The one down-side being that it came in a robust, but unsightly heavy duty plastic box
I had also decided to buy a ‘stella monocular’ and so I had to choose between it and a fine wooden box – I chose the former. A gadget that I would also have liked to buy, but couldn’t afford was called a ‘lenticulator’ (well, something like that!) that could have been fitted in addition to the horizon shades. This device served to elongate the stars and supposedly made it easier to achieve coincidence when a particular star was brought down to the horizon whilst taking sights.
I am naturally wondering what you are going to do with your sextant, the one with such an interesting history! I guess mine will remain tucked away in the spare bedroom wardrobe – a pity really, since my grandsons haven’t a nautical bone in their bodies.
I once read somewhere that Charles Plath, the German nautical instrument manufacturer and the founder of the firm which made our sextants, had gained his skills in the United Kingdom. Keep up the good work!
16 Stableford Drive, Pye’s Pa
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand