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Click to enlargeVery Early  Antique 6" Ritchie Compass

A very nice example of one of the earliest liquid filled compasses made by the company that patented the liquid filled compass in 1862. According to the original serial number records at E.S. Ritchie this compass was manufactured in 1890 and sold on August 28th of that year to Troop & McLauchlan, a ship chandler on Water St in Saint John, New Brunswick Canada. A close look at the Ritchie serial number log (click on the photo below to see the original entry.) also shows when this compass came back to the factory for repair, the last time for the Harris Co. of Portland, Maine in 1934. This compass was acquired by the owner of E.S Ritchie in 2009 and brought back to the factory for preservation. Extreme care was taken to preserve the original hand painted dial as well as preserving the original egg paint on the interior of the compass. The gaskets were replaced with the original gum rubber material and the compass was refilled with the proper alcohol/water mixture.

This very rare piece of nautical history will be acompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the owner of E.S. Ritchie as well as copies of the original patents that pertain to its unique nature.

This compass sold July 2010.


Ritchie Serial Number 18074Ritchie Serial Number 18074Each compass manufactured by E.S. Ritchie was serial numbered and the numbers were all logged into the serial number record books. These books are still in existance at E.S. Ritchie. This picture of a page in the log shows the record of this 6" compass #18074 which was sold August 28th 1890 to Troop & Mclauchlan. The record also shows when it was in the factory for repairs.