Original WWII U.S. Army Air Corps Type A-1 Astrograph with Star Charts and Manual in Transit Chest - dated 1942

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice U.S. Army Air Corps Type A-1 Astrography, or Star Chart Projector, complete in its original transit case. These instruments were used in aircraft with a navigator crewman as an aid to determine the position and course of the aircraft during nighttime flying using celestial navigation.

The black projector was installed above a map table at the navigators station at the height specified by the height gauge included in the kit. The star chart for the intended course of the aircraft was selected from among the 7 canisters stored in the wooden case. Each chart had the star map for a given latitude across longitude, all look to be of the northern hemisphere. The start chart film was then installed within the projector so that the film could be transferred across the lighted rectangular glass lens to pinpoint the starting position and then track it across the sky when illuminated by the selected lamp. The film was advanced via the large knobs at the side, which would be facing the navigator at the map table. The lamp projected the star chart image onto the map table below, which would have the ground map of the terrain below.

There is a data plate on the side of the sextant which reads:

AIR CORPS -------- U.S. ARMY
SERIAL No. AC42 - 8865
ORDER No. W 535 - AC - 27347

The top of the wooden case is also marked, however the serial number was not marked on the chest data plate. This unit is in very good condition, and comes complete with the original operating manual, as well as padding. The top compartment has areas where the astrograph can be secured to using the spring-loaded hangers. There is also a small loop that holds a small aluminum height gauge, used to space the astrograph from the table.

The bottom of the to compartment opens up to the storage area in the bottom, where there are two of the ASTROGRAPH FILM navigation star charts, one of which is still sealed. Normally there would be 7 for a complete set, however those are missing. There are also 4 bulb housings, two short and two long, in their own slots on the upper right hand corner.

As far as we can tell, this should be a fully functional unit. The adjustment dials all work, however we have no way to test to see if the electronics still work. There is what looks to be a capacitor inside the unit, which shows oxidation on the outside, so it may have decomposed over the past 70+ years. The springs in all three hanger hooks are fully functional. There is little sign of use on this example, so we suspect it may have been spare, used to replace broken or lost charts.

Case measures approximately 14 1/2" x 11" x 10 ", and has a data tag with information matching the sextant, except for the serial number. The foam rubber padding inside the case is still soft, and the original leather carry strap is still intact, with almost no wear. Condition of the case is excellent, and looks almost unissued.

A great chance to own a piece of military history. Ready to display!

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