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19th Century English Equinoctial Pocket Compass Inclining Sundial Steward London

By Steward, London (J.H. Steward 407 & 406 West Strand, London).


Silvered compass dial measuring 1.5”, Steel hand with clamp. Lacquered brass bowl with hinged sundial over with dual divisions inscribed “Inner circle of letter & Figures used in Southern latitudes”. Oxidised-brass gnomon. 2.5” x 2.5”.


It was designed for use in both hemispheres. Steward was known to supply the British Military. The assumption is that this type of compass was made for the British Artillery units, given its sundial.


Appears to be the same design as Lot 162 in Charles Miller LTD auction on 31st October 2012.


English pocket sundials from this period are extremely rare, with very few noted examples. There seems to be two other examples online by Steward.


It is lacking its protective case.


Steward London History:

James Henry Steward (1817-1896) established J.H. Steward in London in 1852. As “Head Optician” he would have been a qualified Oculist, but little is known about his early life and scholastic achievements. Given the variety of disciplines for which he undertook, he was also an accredited instrument maker.

J.H Steward became incorporated as J.H. Steward Limited on 1st February 1913. The business grew from modest beginnings, with Steward selling pocket watches and assorted items at the annual competition days of “The National Rifle Association of the United Kingdom (NRA)’ from a stall.

His first advertisement appeared in the NRA competition programme of 1865.  By 1889, when the NRA meetings were held in Brookwood, Surrey, Stewards operation had grown into a large marquee selling various optical and scientific instruments.


His offering included items for military use, advertised as instruments for ‘Reconnoitring, Sketching, Night Marching, Signally, Gun Laying’. In the mid 19th century, they were appointed optician to Her Majesty’s British & Foreign Governments, the National Rifle Associations of England, India, Canada & the Colonies, and the National Artillery Association.


Case dimensions:

Case width: 65mm

Case length: 65mm

Case Depth height point 18.5mm

Case depth main plate: 14.5mm

19th Century English Equinoctial Pocket Compass Inclining Sundial Steward London

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