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J. H. Steward Ltd, Military Instruments Catalogue (1916)

Price $364.00 Sale


J. H. Steward Ltd

J. H. STEWARD Ltd, 406 Strand & 457 West Strand, London, c.1916

A very rare, original, WW1 edition of the J. H. Steward catalogue of Military Instruments, printed c.1916. Although undated, it was certainly produced during WW1, as there are details of extra postage costs for delivery of various items 'to The Front'. The catalogue features the well-known inventions of Lt-Col. Willoughby Verner, including his Prismatic Service Compass, Sergeant's Compass, and Cavalry Sketching Board. Many other instruments and items of officers kit are included in the catalogue - such as liquid-filled prismatic compasses, wrist compasses, luminous watches, barometers, binoculars, signalling lamps, the famous 'Orilux' Trench lamp, heliographs, rangefinders, drawing instruments, protratctors, the 'Maxim' Fire Director, and wrist altimeters and 'Triplex' googles intended for use by the Royal Flying Corps. There are also details of various types of trench periscopes which were specifically developed as a result of the experience of trench warfare during WW1. The Duerr 'Lifeguard' periscope is one of the periscopes that are featured.

J. H. Steward's military instruments saw service throughout the British Empire in the colonial wars of the Victorian era, in the Boer War, and during WW1, as both official govenment issue and officers private purchase items.

This catalogue is an invaluable reference work for anyone collecting WW1 era military instruments, compasses, and officers kit. It is very well illustrated throughout and includes descriptions, instructions, prices and specifications.

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.

Lt-Colonel William Willoughby Cole Verner (1852-1922) served on the staff in the Egyptian campaign of 1884-85 and during the Boer War. He retired as a Lt-Colonel in May 1904. The earliest Verner designs were simple pocket compasses, with the various models of the Service Pattern, MK III to MK VII, appearing between c.1895-1918. His prismatic service compasses were essentially a development of the Schmalcalder patent design of the early 19th century, but they remained the standard service compass of the British Army until the start of WW2. As well as designing compasses, Verner was a prolific author, military historian, and chronicler of the Rifle Brigade.


In very good condition. The card cover is in good condition, with minor signs of use, a couple of marks and a creased corner. The binding is good and secure. The text and illustrations are in very good condition, with a couple of marks and some slightly creased corners. Some of the prices have neat handwritten amendements in red ink.

Published: c.1916
Brown card covers with black titling
Fully illustrated with numerous line drawings
Dimensions: 135mm x 210mm
Pages: 84