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Antique Maritime Navigation Instruments

The seafarers of antiquity used the sun and stars, the movement of birds and the swell of the ocean as navigation tools.   In the Medieval period navigational implements began to appear, tools such as celestial astrolabes in the Arab Empire, Viking records refer to solar or sun stones and Chinese mariners were developing a magnetic compass. 

It was during the Age of Exploration when European's initiated trade and exploration expeditions that significant progress was made in the sophistication of navigational instruments.  Sailors recognised the importance of accurately measuring, wind and current speed and direction as well as time and the altitude of the sun and stars.  Governments supported scientists to solve these problems and progress was made.

By the early 18th century the British were offering grants and rewards for solutions to navigational problems. Programs like this led to the development of the Quadrant, Octant, Sextant, Pelorus, Bearing and Magnetic Compasses and the precision timekeeping Marine Chronometer, life saving instruments that remain relevant in today's maritime navigation.


At Maritime Art & Antiques we offer a collection of exceptional quality Maritime Navigation instruments.

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