Original WWII U.S. Navy Bu. Aero Bubble Sextant Type AN 5854-1 in Padded Carry Bag
Original Item: Only One Available. This a a very rare navigational instrument used on American bombers and fighters during WWII. This bubble sextant is the same one used by the U.S. Army Air Forces, but in this case was ordered by the U.S. Navy. The organizations that were largely responsible for procurement in the 1940s were designated Bureaus, each commanded by a Rear Admiral. These Bureaus included: Aeronautics, Engineering, Navigation, Ordnance, and Ships. All items related to flight were procured by the Bu. Aero..
The data plate on both the sextant itself reads:
SEXTANT - BUBBLE TYPE
BU AERO - U.S. NAVY
AN 5854-1 F.S.S.C. NO. 88-S-375
MFG. PART NO. 29710
MFG. SERIAL NO. VZ3285
CONTRACT NO a(s) 539
BAUSCH & LOMB OPTICAL CO.
ROCHESTER, N.Y., U.S.A
This is an excellent condition World War II sextant manufactured by Bausch & Lomb. It comes in the correct U.S. Navy carry case, complete with the battery compartment attachment as well as the hanger for use in the navigation center of the airplane.
Celestial altitudes are measured by reference to an artificial bubble horizon. The bubble is electrically lighted for night use by standard C size batteries. The sextant is very unique in that it has two different optical paths that can be used. In one, the observer looks down into the sextant and sees the reflected image of the star overhead. We suspect this is the mode designed for open cockpits. In the other mode, the observer holds the sextant at arm’s length and sees the bubble reflected on a glass surface as an illuminated ring against the night sky. Readings are taken from a vernier scale.
A nearly identical example can be found in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum at this link.
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