RARE C.PLATH PLATH BUBBLE HORIZON
the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition
LAST of BREED ~ 5 Stars
Presented is one of the few C. Plath Bubble Horizons of the final evolution made, and the second of this type
we have had for sale. It comes in the original die cut foam insert box with a Litton - C. Plath, Annapolis label marked
"New Style". This bubble was found with Paul Schurke's Navistar Classic sextant and was said to be part of his navigation
kit. Schurke was the navigator and co-leader of the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition shown at the right. Our
research shows that it was not used by him during the expedition, and was more likely carried as a backup. Click here for
details of that heroic effort which met with worldwide acclaim. http://landandseacollection.com/id849.html
This bubble has been in storage in the north woods of upper Minnesota near the
Canadian border for the last twenty years and has come through in excellent condition. For all intents and purposes,
it can be considered "As Near New".
This is the last bubble horizon design made by C. Plath and has an internal
power supply consisting of two 1.5 volt Duracell 357 batteries. This makes it usable on a wide variety of sextants such as
Tamaya, Astra, and the Russian CHOT/SNOT.
Like all Plath bubbles, except for the one produced directly after WW II, the size
of the bubble is not adjustable. The ocular lens is adjustable for focus. In 2008,
Ken Gebhart of Celestaire who had distributed these devices wrote us that this unit was discontinued around
2001, and sold new for $1,700.00.
There is no instruction booklet, but there is a copy of a C. Plath letter explaining
its use. The device is simple to use and provides an artificial horizon using a circular illuminated bubble as a substitute
for a horizon reference. The bubble is centered at the midpoint of the viewing area and the celestial body is brought into
coincidence with the bubble's center.
MARINE USE: The C. Plath artificial bubble horizon dates back to WW II
and more than likely earlier. It was widely used throughout the German Navy and Merchant Marine during the War, and re-introduced
after the War in 1957 in a slightly different form. During the period 1950-1960, the German Navy requested the earlier
design be used in the "Libellenhorizont" and in the 1970 through 1980 period, similar devices were issued to US Submarines.
They also were much in demand by the world's merchant mariners. You may read
on the internet, that a bubble horizon cannot be successfully used at sea, but that it shear foolishness.
OUR QUALIFICATIONS: We are one of the few company's
still selling navigation instruments that know anything about them. For purposes of judging whether Joel's opinion counts,
he was the editor of the chapter on sextants of the 1977 Edition of "Bowditch", The American Practical Navigator, NAVPUB 9;
a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Navigation Symposium, 1975 -1978; the author of a book on marine sextants, Cornell Maritime
Press,1975, and the founding president of Nautech Maritime Corporation which partnered with Tamaya of Japan in the introduction
of the MS 733 Spica, the MS 833, Jupiter, MS 933 Venus sextants and the famous NC-2 navigation computer, in the U.S. market.
Joel is a retired Master Upon Oceans, and held a U.S. Navy "D" Qualification as a Senior Skipper - Oceans. For
six years he was a Varsity Offshore Sailing Team Coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. Some of
his memberships have included the: Association of Naval Aviation, Silver Wings, The Tailhook Association, Naval Academy Sailing
Squadron, McCampbell's Aces Squadron, Naval Historical Foundation, and the Naval Order of the United States.
CONDITION: A slip on green filter that goes on the objective was
furnished with Plath's model prior to this one. They apparently decided not to include it with the last version as reported
to us by a knowledgable collector of these devices. This is not a problem since the sextant's shades serve the same purpose
and provide a greater range of filtration. That said, we have sold five of the Plath horizons of all designs of which a
number were said to have been unused. The last one was a post WW II fully adjustable version that was certified as being
new in its original packaging. From our experience, we believe this bubble was a back-up to the sextant used on the Polar
expedition and never saw service. Hence, we classify it "As Near New". The U.S. equivalent for the batteries, if a replacement
is required, is Duracell 357, and two new ones have been fitted.
Above the front lens: C PLATH,
Under the rotary switch: Off On
Pictured below is an example of a C. Plath Navistar Classic sextant. It also
fits Astra, Cassens & Plath, Tamaya, Freiberger, and the Russian CHOT/SNOT.
A similar bubble shown mounted on a 1983 Plath Navistar
We have the 1984 Steger International Polar Expedition Sextant
FOR SALE! See:
1984 C. Plath 1986 Polar Expedition Navistar Classic Sextant
USE: The bubble horizon has a 2.5 power optical system and a smaller than normal field
of view. The internal dampening mechanism of the bubble is greater than will be found on less costly alternatives, but requires
some practice in getting used to. The Plath Bubble Horizon is far superior to a normal artificial horizon which can only be
used for objects with altitudes of less than 60 degrees and can not be used for twilight sights. This makes it ideally suited
for land based training applications, for land navigation and for use at sea during most weather conditions encountered.
Interestingly, in the 1970-80's this device, in an earlier form, was issued to U.S. submarines for back-up
celestial navigation. Ref. Dutton's Seamanship & Navigation, 12th Edition, Article 2206, page 385.
28 mm Objective lens & standard rising piece
Markings and "On/Off" rotary switch
C. PLATH #70-045 BUBBLE HORIZON SPECIFICATIONS:
Magnification 2.5 X
28 mm objective lens
4" 3/4 H x 4" L x 1 7/8" W
Slip-on green filter missing
Weight: 7 oz
device is suited for someone who can appreciate the fine points of its design, and is willing to pay an appropriate price
for this level of C. Plath quality and excellence.
In brief, Carl Plath started manufacturing sextants, in addition to other nautical products, in Hamburg Germany in 1862 though
the purchase of the David Filby instrument company 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 finders, etc.
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. In the 1990's Plath came out with a series of new sextant designs with overlapping designs
and confusing names. Shortly thereafter, C. Plath quit producing sextants. The parent company has completely liquidated everything
including machinery, equipment and spare parts.
OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE
GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days
of receipt in its original packaging. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization
by us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer if the error is due to our fault within the
continental United States.
International buyers welcome,
but 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, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico,
New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia,
Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI and
the Eastern Caribbean.
SHIPPING & PACKING: Extra protective packaging
is provided for shipment. The cost of shipping, packing, handling, and insurance to your destination is an additional charge.
You may email us beforehand to get these costs. We price shipping honestly, but expect to be reimbursed for the nominal cost
of packaging materials and handling.
ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT
are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. No credit cards
or PayPal accepted on this item. Our prices are quoted net to seller, but credit
cards may be accepted through PayPal for verified members by special arrangement.
times before have we offered a C. Plath Bubble Horizon. It will be equally home at sea or in a collection of only the finest.
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