French Gimballed Compass SI2432
French Gimballed Compass SI2432
French Gimballed Compass SI2432

Very unusual French gimballed mariner’s compass in lacquered brass case with push-fit lid by Houlliot c1920

Gimballed mariner’s compass comprising 2” printed floating card with nautical pattern semicircular scale divided in 1° increments, displaying cardinals and intercardinals, Houlliot stylised anchor indicating North. Card suspended on jewelled pivot, the verso with magnetic bar, and balanced with sealing wax. All within a lacquered brass bowl set on black painted gimballed mountings and contained within a drum-form case with push fit lid.

Inspected, checked and conserved, in good condition. Jewel intact, card with some signs of ageing, bowl swings easily within gimbals, the card finding horizontal easily. Outer case retaining much of its original lacquered finish, marks and patina commensurate with age and use.

The scale displayed by this compass is extremely unusual – instead of the common quadrant scale, 0-90-0-90-0, this compass card is divided into two semicircles with the scale 0-90-0. This is not a mistake, as we have seen one other compass with this scale over the years, and that a nautical pattern too, but obviously incredibly rare and at this time, and despite much research, we cannot say for what purpose a compass would display this range. Houlliot’s grandson commented, when contacted, that his grandfather tried several designs, but without technical reason or success!

A very well-engineered and rare antique compass for the compass collector and connoisseur alike.

Dimensions: 3½" diameter x 1⅞" deep

Stock No: SI2432

Price: £750