This maritime instrument looks almost like a sextant, was used to measure the distance in yards a ship was away from the operator of the Stadimeter. Used mostly to maintain a safe or constant distance between ships traveling in a convoy. Other uses included measuring the distance of enemy ships to determine if they were in range of guns or torpedoes. The unit was used just like a Sextant, however the operator needed to know the height, or mast height of the ship they were measuring, setting its height on the graduated arc, holding the unit just like a sextant, and viewing the top of the ship's mast through the "HORIZON MIRROR/GLASS, then turning the "DRUM SCALE", which moves the rear "INDEX MIRROR", until the ship's mast and horizon lined up together in the "HORIZON MIRROR".
The operator would then read the ship's away distance in yards. The above unit can measure a ship between 50 and 200 feet high, at a distance of 200 to 10,000 yards away. The instrument is fully functional, and in excellent original condition, made of solid blackened brass, as well as other polished brass areas with a nice aged patina. Retains the original tags on both the box and Stadimeter. The box label states: U.S. NAVY-BUREAU OF SHIPS STADIMETER MARK 5, MODEL 0, NUMBER 15403, 1944. CONTRACT NO. NXSX- 56955 SCHICK INCORPORATED STAMFORD, CONN. (The stadimeter label is numbered 16181). Though the two are of the same time and by the same maker, the two did not start out together and is most likely an early replacement.
The unit is 9" wide x 9" tall x 4" high laying on its three brass legs with two brass locking hooks, and carrying handle. The inside of the box has the units operating and adjustment instructions. The box is made of nicely aged "red mahogany" and measures 11 1/2" long x 11 1/2" wide x 5 1/2" high. Weight 8.5 pounds.
THE JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION
The deed of gift from the family that donated this nautical object, stipulated that the proceeds of the sale would support the Jamestown Settlement sailing program. Private funding has an essential role in supporting the largely volunteer nature of this effort. Along with three paid staff members, up to 35 individuals volunteer 10,000 hours each year to maintain and sail these historic ships.
Jamestown Settlement’s Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery – re-creations of the three vessels that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – have been designated “the official fleet of the Commonwealth” by the Virginia General Assembly.
Each year one of the ships sails periodically to other ports to participate in commemorative and community events and host educational programs for students. Sailing program volunteer crew assist visitors and students in exploring the ships and learning about the 1607 voyage and 17th-century shipboard activities.
Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 and the Colonial Parkway. For more information and admission rates, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit www.historyisfun.org.
Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Art Gallery is proud to be selected as the marketing and selling agent for this donated collection of nautical items in order to raise funds to support the Jamestown Settlement sailing program. Please donate generously to the Jamestown Settlement to help keep this important piece of our American history flourishing.