A Fine and Scarce Brass Cased Antique Mariners Compass by Richard Patten, New York c1820

Rare Georgian Mariners Compass by Richard Patten, New York c1820


Rare American antique brass pocket compass comprising 2″ floating quadrant card with hand-drawn nautical pattern, displaying cardinals and intercardinals, fleur-de-lys to North and decorated East point. Marked to centre by the maker “R. Patten, N. York.” Heavy card suspended on gemstone pivot, the verso with magnetic bar, wax balancing.

Original crystal maintained in sprung bezel. Well executed spun brass case, the lower part of low plain form, the push fit lid relieved longitudinally with finely detailed and engine turned rim.

A lovely example with the most finely executed hand-drawn compass rose that we have seen, seemingly signed by the artist as just below the fleur de lys are marked the initials “JR” and “Sc.”

The brass case in crisp, slightly worn condition, the crystal with a few fine scratches, the card remaining straight and crisp, finding north easily. It is noteworthy that these cards were almost all manufactured from re-cycled documents such as sales ledgers, in this case an advert or flyer for medical treatments. 

The highly respected maker Richard Patten (1792-1865) began his career manufacturing mathematical instruments in 1813 in New York, where he advertised himself as the “only Manufacturer of Sextants & Quadrants in New York.”  From 1840 onwards, he left New York to work in Washington and thence to Baltimore, and was active in the production of nautical charts and guides.  Patten ranks among the most prominent producers and importers of a wide variety of instruments in America in the first half of the 19th century, and his works are known for their elegant engraving. 

A truly wonderful antique compass from this rarely seen maker. Inspected, checked and conserved, certainly a lot for the compass collector and connoisseur alike.

Dimensions: 2⅛” diameter x ¾” deep

Stock No: SI1371

Price: £595






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