FAMOUS ADMIRAL GAGO COUTINHO
We are the premier
source for all versions of Plath's rarest sextants and have sourced and sold more unusual C. Plath sextants than
anyone in the world!
Presented is Serial
Number 14401, a pristine example originally made to Admiral Gago Cutinho's design as an aircraft bubble
sextant. The sextant was introduced by Theodore Plath at the Berlin Airshow of 1930 under license from
the Portuguese Navy, but was never sold in large quantities. C. Plath reports show only Lufthansa and Air France as being
the major users prior to the outbreak of World War Two.
Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine B.V. Hamburg, Germany, now the parent of C. Plath
has informed us that Serial Number 14401 was originally made in January 1936, as a bubble sextant, and that later it was converted
for marine navigation. The reason is unknown. Consequently, it is missing the
artificial horizon attachment which would allow it to be used from an aircraft. However, it is complete in all other
respects including the original round aluminum carrying case.
This instrument in its present form is the
equal of any “Collector Grade“ C. Plath “Classic“ with the added feature of being an especially rare
instrument. Below is a Plath factory photo showing the triangular artificial bubble horizon attachment, and an
earlier low powered telescope that was used in 1930.
| C. Plath photo
of the Coutinho sextant as shown at the 1930 Berlin Airshow|
This sextant is engraved on the index arm just like the original on three lines:
Gerat Lib - Sextant
System Admiral Gago Coutinho
Gewicht 1.85 kg Fertigstg Febr 1936
Even with the foregoing exception, it represents a real find for a
collector of navigation instruments or even for use in celestial navigation. If the bubble attachment is found,
this instrument would become a priceless treasure
Coutinho engraved index arm||
| Special micrometer drum and serial
| Near perfect large size 57 mm Horizon mirror||
| Almost square 46 mm Index mirror|
CONDITION SEXTANT: This instrument is in
remarkably fine condition considering its 75 year age. It has no index or side error. The index arm and the micrometer
wheel work smoothly. The micrometer wheel is calibrated from right to left or clockwise and counter clockwise in one second
intervals from “0“ to plus and minus 1 minute. The shades are perfect. All markings are sharp and
distinct. The index mirror has one pin size black spot, and the horizon mirror has a few very narrow black
marks only along its top and bottom vertical edge, both of which are only mentioned for the sake of completeness.
In the original design, a small lamp was fitted on a pedestal on the lower index arm above the viewing port. It was removed
earlier. The hollow handle has a cavity for close to a “D“ size battery. As noted, the artificial horizon
attachment has been replaced by the factory with three horizon shades or filters for marine astro-navigation. Since this
is an aluminum frame sextant, there is some very minor pitting which is primarily on the back of the index mirror frame and on
the sextant's back as seen in the image below. There are a few light Grey spots, all of which are of no consequence.
There is no inspection certificate, but instruments of this generation rarely had non-adjustable instrument error of more
than 20 arc seconds, which for all practical purposes, may be considered free of error for practical use.
CONDITION - ALUMINUM CASE: This case is original to the sextant and
is in good usable condition with all its original tools, comprised of a special adjustment wrench, screwdriver, brush, and
small container of grease present. There was a rectangular plaque mounted on its top which is missing and the leather strap
around its girth is broken. The two movable aluminum arms clip into the two locks. We did not test them.
copies of Customs Application, Form 4455 of October, 1937, for use when an article leaves the United States,
and is intended to be brought back was filled in, but never executed. The owner of this sextant was stated as Arthur
F. Hucht who obtained it at the Port of Baltimore from Edward Kinsky, a seaman. We obtained it in the normal course of business,
and was told the administrator of an Annapolis, MD estate represented the Hucht family in its sale. The forms will
be included with the sextant.
CONTEMPORARY ARTIFICIAL HORIZON:
Pictured below is this sextant fitted with a C. Plath Bubble Horizon made around 1955. This device has the ability to change
the size of the bubble which was discontinued in follow-on versions. Unfortunately, it is not in working condition, and
shown for illustration only. It is not included in this offer.
HISTORY OF THE COUTINHO SEXTANT: After World
War One ended, the pioneer aviators of Europe and North America, were challenged by the task of making long distance
flights across oceans. This required the development of a means of establishing an artificial horizon from an aircraft
since at altitude the earth's horizon could not be used.
Preceding Lindberg's Trans Atlantic flight and the Dole Race from San Francisco to
Honolulu both by eight years, what may be the most important pioneering oceanic flight was made by two
famous Portuguese aviators, Sacadura Cabral, pilot, and Admiral Gago Coutinho, navigator, in 1919. They flew 11 and one half
hours from Cape Verde Islands to Rio de Janeiro using an artificial horizon sextant designed by Admiral Coutinho. The
design was based on two spirit level tubes – one to keep the sextant horizontal and the other to keep the sextant vertical.
The Portuguese Navy, who owned
the rights to the design, contracted with the German firm of C. Plath of Hamburg, Germany for the production
of this instrument.
Plath's first instrument was tested on a flight in 1927 of the Dornier-Wal flying boat, Argos, from Lisbon to Rio de
Janeiro using only astro-navigation by Captain Jorge Castilho. In 1929, Captain Wittenman navigated the Graf Zeppelin around
the world using a Coutinho sextant. With this spectacular record, the design was introduced at the 1930 Berlin Air
Show. It was used primarily by Lufthansa and just prior to WW II, Air France acquired a few of them.
do not know how many of these sextants were made, but in our thirty some odd years of using celestial navigation at sea and being
in the sextant business, this is the only one that we have seen outside a book.
PLATH ADMIRAL GAGO COUTINHO SEXTANT SYSTEM EX ARTIFICIAL HORIZON
Measuring range -5 to 105 degrees
Tested accuracy UNKNOWN, but of the period < 20 arc seconds
x 40 mm
Frame: Aluminum with black enamel paint.
Micrometer Drum. No vernier Scale: reads to one minute of
Index arm measures 8 5/8”
Index Mirror: 46 x 45 mm. aluminized on front side.
Horizon Mirror: 57mm diameter split
4 for index mirror
3 for horizon mirror
Adjustable vernier for zero
Weight sextant: 2 lbs 11 oz Weight
case 6 lbs 2 oz. Total weight 8 lbs 13 oz
1 Sextant Plath Classic ladder
1 4 x 40 Scope
1 Special mirror adjustment tool
1 Screw Driver
aluminum sextant case
2 locks, but no key
C. PLATH COMPANY HISTORY: In brief, Carl Plath started
manufacturing sextants, in addition to other nautical products, in Hamburg Germany in 1862 though the company's origin dates
back to 1837. As a result WW II, C.Plath was dismantled completely by the occupation forces. Around 1950, various
prohibitions were lifted, and C. Plath was allowed to begin production again of sextants and other nautical instruments. Also
in 1949,C.Plath was offered a gyrocompass patent and in 1951 the first gyrocompass designed to this patent was presented to
the public. C.Plath progressed from the role of instrument maker to that of a modern marine navigation equipment manufacturer.
In the following years the product range was expanded by many more modern designs such as autopilots, speed logs, radio direction
In 1962 C. Plath was acquired by Litton Industries,
a large American concern.The C. Plath North American Division was set up in 1978 in College Park near Washington. 1996
saw the introduction of the world's first fiber-optic solid-state gyrocompass by C. Plath. The first ever gyrocompass with
no moving parts. Sperry Marine was formed in 1997 with the combination of C.Plath, Decca Marine and Sperry Marine with more
organizational changes yet to come. After 163 years, C.Plath changes its name to Sperry Marine in May 2000. In 2001 Sperry
Marine becomes part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE:
If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging
if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the
return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer if an error is due to our fault within
the Continental United States. .
International buyers welcome, but should
inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British
Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France,
Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia,
Martinique, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi
Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, St. Maarten, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates,
USVI and the Eastern Caribbean.
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer,
cashier's check, money order, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. No checks from overseas
buyers, no credit cards or PayPal accepted on this item.
Copyright 2011 by Land And Sea Collection™. All Rights