A very scarce double-sided gilt brass gimballed nautical pocket compass retailed by Negretti & Zambra, London c1890
Gimballed pocket compass having 1¾” mother of pearl hand painted Singers pattern compass card, displaying cardinals, intercardinals, and false points. Jewelled suspension under bevelled glass, the verso with bevelled glass and North lubber line. Side mounted compass transit lock. Supported in full gimbals, the outer engraved “Negretti & Zambra, London,” extension post, suspension loop, and opposing steady or rest.
All contained within its original burgundy leather over timber, blue satin and velvet lined travel case, the inner lid with “Negretti & Zambra” gold block logogram. Snap closure on a button release.
Condition: Generally fine, the compass finding North easily, the gimbals swinging freely. The compass lock working correctly with full lock up. Retaining a very high proportion of original gilding, some minor marks and losses, light abrasions. Both glasses original and intact, remaining clear and crisp. The card with minor losses, essentially crisp.
The travel case structurally sound with good outer surface graining, shine and colour. Repair to leather at release button which has been replaced.
Comments: An aesthetically very appealing instrument, capable of working as intended but more probably ideal as a special gift. These gimballed instruments are hard to find, and this double-sided one particularly so, this design enabling the compass to be read not only when in its travel case, but when removed and hung above a bunk. This antique compass reflects a period during which Negretti & Zambra were actively promoting well made and attractive instruments, often the work of other makers.
A wonderful example of these very rare compasses, a very similar example, retailed by JH Steward and dating to 1880, appears in Kornelia Takacs’ “Compass Chronicles.”
Dimensions: Gimballed Compass - 2⅛" diameter x ½" deep; Travel Case - 2¾" diameter x 1" deep
Stock No: SI1456