Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 51

"[Brass Pocket Magnetic Compass with Sundial and Hardwood Case]",

Subject: Compass & Sundial

Period: 1850 (circa)



3.5 x 3.5 inches
8.9 x 8.9 cm
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This elegant pocket compass includes a sundial and was created by Louis Casella & Co. The sundial and curved latitude scale are hinged on top of the compass and can lay flat for compact storage. Time is calculated by orienting the compass north, aligning the sundial to the correct local latitude using the curved scale, and then viewing the sun's shadow cast on the numbers on the surrounding ring. The compass and sundial are made of brass and weigh 14 ounces (397 grams). The compass is housed in a leather-covered wooden case with a blue velvet interior and brass clasp (the second clasp is missing).

Louis Paschal Casella (1812-97) was an instrument maker in London who is best known for his thermometers. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Casella moved to London circa 1835 and began working for Caesar Tagliabue, an Italian instrument maker with an established company in the West End of London. After marrying Tagliabue's daughter in 1838, the two instrument makers formed a partnership and changed the company's name to Tagliabue and Casella. After Tagliabue's death, the company was renamed Louis Casella & Co. Casella was appointed instrument maker to the Admiralty in 1856 and to the East India Company and the Board of Trade in 1860.


Condition: B+

The compass and sundial are in nice working condition and could benefit from some polishing and cleaning. The case has deteriorated a bit with some scuffing to the leather and a chip in the side of the case where the second clasp used to be.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,400

Sold for: $2,200

Closed on 4/28/2021