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19th Century Bald Eagle American Yacht Tiller Arm

This finely carved mahogany and brass tiller arm would have been used to steer one of the great American yachts of the period. This is of a size and quality as those found on the America's Cup schooners like AMERICA and COLUMBIA.

The striking head of a bald eagle sits above the brass collar which would have been used as a grip. The eagle's eyes are set in a fierce expression and his mouth sits open to show the sharp curves of his beak. The arm curves up gracefully into a column motif and then sweeps down with the final section adorned by a large stylized leaf shape, perhaps that of a stylized olive branch. Each section is deeply carved with excellent detail and decorative touches.

The arm has been French polished to bring out the deep, rich patina in the wood, a process which took an expert more than a week to complete. The last three photos included here show the arm before it was polished.

One of the finest tiller arms we have ever seen, this is a unique example of the work of a 19th century master of ship carving.

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A. Schraders Son US Navy Dive Helmet


Marked on nameplate with serial #1234, A. Schrader's Son, Inc., Manufacturers of Divers Apparatus, Brooklyn, N.Y." In excellent condition with a nice patina. Three wingnuts are missing, but the helmet is otherwise complete.

One of the rear valves bears the U.S. Navy Anchor Inspection stamp, indicating that it was owned and used by the US Navy. Below the inspection mark, on the same valve is another instance of the maker's mark, SCHRADER USA.

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A.J. Morse & Sons Dive Helmet
Serial No. 1846, Distributed by Mussens Ltd. of Canada

This nice, early commercial diving helmet bears two plaques: the maker's plaque- "A.J. Morse & Son, Inc., Boston, Mass." and beneath it the distributor's plaque, "Supplied by Mussens Limited Agents, Montreal, Canada".

The helmet is in excellent condition with a nice patina, very clean and complete.

The helmet bears matching serial numbers 1846 on the front and rear brails, and on the bonnet and breastplate. The front and rear brails are also stamped with additional maker's marks, "A.J. Morse & Son, Boston". Interestingly there are additional hand tooled marks on the brail the diver must have added for his own reference: RF, LF, RR and LR for right front, left front, right rear and left rear.

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AJ Morse Shallow Water Dive Helmet and Bronze Pump

This Morse Shallow Water Dive Helmet and the pump were used by the Warwick, Rhode Island Fire Department to teach diving to the officers.

The tag and style on both pieces place the date of manufacture from the mid-1920's to the early 1940's when the Morse company name was changed.

The pump also bears the A.J. Morse & Sons Plaque. Besides the wood handle the pump is all bronze.

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American Woman Ship's Carved Figurehead
Ruffled Dress and Coiled Hairstyle

A finely detailed carved wood figurehead, diminutive with classic features, the origin of this womanly ship icon is American. Telltale clues include that her regency-style, just-above-the-shoulder dress sleeves that “poof” and the modest neckline, especially when matched to the upswept, comb-held, coiled hairstyle and carved oval earrings. All these fashion elements are suggestive of American fashion, circa 1820s. The leading figurehead historian England and a distinguished maritime museum curator in America both concur.

Properly attired, she looks quite reserved. Set on a carved plinth with a geometric pattern and rolling scroll, it blends into a sash-ribbon tied around her torso. The detail of the hair tightly bound in an upswept coiled bun. Prim and poised, the woman figure is fairly vertical in position, indicating an installation on a smaller vessel, possibly the bow of a schooner or small brig from the first quarter of the 19th Century. It has the correct wood plugs to have been properly mounted. The simple white paint with the sea-foam green dress is most likely very close to her original color and just freshened up a bit over time.

It is recorded that the piece was salvaged from a sailing vessel that broke up in Stomness on Orkney in the 19th Century, and entered a British collection and passed through the family for three generations before being sold. It is a classic American ship’s figurehead of a quality, type and size seldom found.

A full report on this antique, carved figurehead by leading figurehead historian Richard Hunter of England is available.

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Brass Telescope on Mahogany Stand
Made by A. Bardou, Paris

For over 75 years and across several generations, the Bardou family were leading manufacturers of small telescopes for education and recreation.

This example is in excellent working condition with original box and all lenses including those for terrestrial and celestial observation. The large mahogany tripod base has its original finish and working gear system to easily raise and lower the height of the scope. Large telescopes, in this condition and with a tripod of this quality and substantial make are rare.

Established in Paris in 1818 by D.F. Bardou as Maison Bardou, the firm passed to his son P.G. Bardou in the mid 1800's becoming Bardou et Fils (Bardou & Sons). Grandson Albert Bardou took over in the late 1800's, putting his own name A. Bardou on instruments from that period forward until the firm passed out of the family in 1895.

Bardou and Sons came to the United States in 1876, displaying their instruments at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. There they caught the eye of James W. Queen & Co., foremost merchants of scientific instruments in the U.S. at the time, who soon began importing Bardou telescopes for sale in the United States.

A telescope by Albert Bardou is in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Lens diameter: 3 1/4 Inches, Telescope Body 48 Inches, Overall with tube extended 62 Inches.

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