A brass box J. H. Steward pocket compass, with a press fit lid, dating from c.1890-1900. In lovely, original condition, this compass features a blackened or oxidised finish brass case with lid, aluminium compass card, English bar needle and jewelled pivot. There is an automatic transit lock operated by a tiny lever on the edge of the case. The compass card is signed by J. H. Steward, London.
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. There is some minor wear to the original blackened finish of the case. The automatic transit lock is activated when the lid is replaced and is in perfect working order. The lid fits perfectly.