Circa 1860-1880. Torpedo shaped ship's log with four tail fins, enamel dial with captions "NEW PATENT FRICTIONLESS" at top and "IMPROVED LOG LLL EDWD. MASSEY PATENTEE" at bottom. Rotating slide shutter covering the white enamel register comprising three distance dials for tens of miles, miles and quarter miles, the outer case rotates, it moves the hands around the dials, the speed of a ship is determined as the log passes through water. The brass housing is engraved "LLL NEW PATENT FRICTIONLESS LOG, 7889." Length: 21 inches. Great original piece!
From the Edward L. Greenwood Maritime Collection
The first effective frictionless log model to be commercially produced was originally patented by Edward Massey (c 1768-1852) in 1802 called the perpetual log, it was later improved by Alexander Bain in 1846 until Thomas Walker (1805-73) and his son Thomas Ferdinand Walker (1837-1921),patented their Frictionless Harpoon log in 1861. Edward John Massey (jr) continued his father's business and patented a ships log in the United States in 1878. Both business's would merge by the end of the 19th century.
Designed to be attached to a rope and then thrown over the side of a ship, this item was to help to calculate the speed and distance of the boat using rotations of the dials.