Octant

Based on the same principle as the sextant, this navigational instrument was used to work out the latitude, north or south, of a ship’s position at sea by measuring the angle between the horizon and the height of the sun at mid-day.   The port of Dumfries included Dumfries, Carsethorn, Kingholm Quay, Kelton and Glencaple.  At one time it stretched as far east as the River Annan and as far west as the River Urr.  Much of the shipping to and from the port was local coastal trade, and the farm produce of the area, cattle, sheep, pigs, potatoes and barley, was the main export.   Shipping from the port of Dumfries increased greatly in the early 1700s when the town made links with the new British colonies in North America.    Emigration to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and particularly to Canada became the main trade from the port of Dumfries in the 1800s.  Shipping in the port of Dumfries reached its peak in the 1840s, mostly with coastal trade, although there were several large ships crossing to Canada.    The cost of keeping the channel of the River Nith clear for shipping was becoming expensive.  When the railway reached Dumfries in 1850 a slow decline in the port began.  The First World War brought the port to a standstill and by the end of the Second World War all shipping had ceased.
Object no :
DMSH003a, DMSH003b
Collection :
Creator :
NA
Place of Production :
NA
Dimensions :
radius: 250 mm
Materials :
wood & mahogany [ebony?], ivory (inlay), metal & brass (fittings)
Location :
NA
Related site :
Accession number :
DUMFM:0198.71
Copyright :
Dumfries & Galloway Council
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