J. H. Steward Captain Dixon's Military Compass c.1900
A very rare J. H. Steward 'Captain Dixons' Patent Military Compass. dating from c.1900, the compass is in lovely, original condition, featuring a blackened or oxidised finish brass case with hand painted glass viewing windows, blued needle and jewelled pivot. The compass card is signed by J. H. Steward, and marked 'Captain Dixons Military Compass, No. 13'. It comes complete with its original fitted leather case.
This is a 'Trough' or 'Plane Table' compass, a type of instrument first used in the early 19th century, and which saw extensive use during WW1. According to compassmuseum, 'A trough compass consists of a long, narrow rectangular box, covered with glass. Inside the box, at its centre, there is a magnetic needle resting on the pivot. At the extremities of the trough compass, there are (sometimes but not always) graduated scales with zero at the centre and degree markings on either side of the zero line. The trough compass is used for marking the magnetic north line on the drawing sheet of the plane table. In this case, the magnetic needle points to 0° - 0° of the graduated scale and a line drawn parallel to the edge of the trough compass is along the magnetic meridian. A trough compass is also used to orient the plane table with respect to the magnetic meridian'. During WW1 this type of compass was used for artillery work. A later example of the Dixon's Military compass can be seen at compassmuseum.com.
J. H. Steward Ltd: James Henry Steward (1817-1896) established his business in London in 1852 as a maker and retailer of optical, scientific, military and surveying instruments. J.H. Steward was the head optician of the company and had businesses at 406 Strand, 457 West Strand and 54 Cornhill in London. In the mid 1800s he became the optician to Her Majesty's Government and the National Rifle, and National Artillery Associations. James Henry Steward died in 1896. J. H. Steward Ltd was incorporated in 1912 and continued in business in London until 1973. The main London office was sold in 1971, and from 1971-1973 the company rented premises in Catherine Street. All the remaining stock and long serving staff member George Goble (c.1916-1975) were moved to Catherine Street. The business finally moved to 154a Church Road, Hove, Sussex in 1973, before finally ceasing trading in 1975.
The compass is in very good condition, full working order and finds North very well. The original blackened finish of the case is in very good condition. The glass windows and needle are in very good condition. The leather case is in very good condition.