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Surveyors Solar Compass by John Roach circa 1868

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Seller: klgavh (51) 100%, Location: Phoenix, Arizona, Ships to: US, Item: 272855003458 This is a very rare piece of America's history, a Surveyors Solar Compass hand made by John Roach. These were built and used for laying out the Trans-Continental Railroad, our first Roads and Highways, Original Maps, Mines, Towns and City Boundaries across the United States. Anything that needed extreme accuracy but without any previous map references. This is the only full size model known to be in existence. Described by the Curator of a Scientific Museum I spoke with, "as one of the rarest and most desirable of all 19th century surveying pieces." Inscribed on the face of the Compass is: John Roach / Maker / San Francisco. From the style of markings inscribed on the compass, and only that five have been verified to have been built, this was manufactured sometime between 1868 and 1875, taking approximately one year each to construct. The Instrument contains a large vernier compass with set clamps and a needle lock. The latitude and declination arcs have slow motion adjustment screws and set locks. It contains two bubble levels. The instrument is 11-1/2" long with 7-3/8" high Sight Vanes at each end. The Instrument is in good working order, with normal usage finish wear. It has a wood case, although it does not appear to be the original. Only one other Roach Solar Compass is known to be in existence, however it is half the size and known as a Roach Pocket Compass in the Macleay Museum, Australia. John Roach (1813–1891) was born in Ireland. By 1833 he was in New York, identifying himself as an instrument maker. He joined in partnership with Henry Warner soon thereafter. Advertising in the American Railroad Journal for 1837, Roach & Warner offered to supply "Wholesale Dealers and Country Merchants" with surveying compasses and other instruments "of their own manufacture, warranted accurate and at lower prices than can be had at any other establishment." This advertisement reflects an appreciation of the westward expansion of the country, as well as a concern for price at a time when America was experiencing a severe economic depression. By 1841 Roach was again in business on his own, offering daguerreotype materials (this photographic technique had been introduced in Paris in 1839) as well as other optical and philosophical apparatus. He moved to San Francisco in 1855, and was soon the leading instrument dealer on the West Coast. At his death, he was succeeded by his longtime employee, J. C. Sala. Data Source: Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center Condition: Complete, minus one screw. Very good original condition, has never been restored. Still has some original paint finish showing. All lens are intact and clear, bubble levels are still intact and work well. Compass swings easily and seems accurate. Adjustment screws are free and do work., Maker: John Roach, Original/Reproduction: Original 1867

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