Nautical instruments

Very rare Reynolds’ Patent Towing Log – London ca. 1890

From the 17th century onwards people had made many attempts to devise a mechanical log which would automatically record the ships distance done. Edward Massey invented a mechanical log in 1802 with four blades which was used by the Admiralty from 1807-1815. When dragged behind the ship the log vins rotates and the revolutions were transformed in miles on the dials, to be read after the log was brought in. The design of Massey was further refined by Thomas Walker and Son, who took out a patent for the A1 Harpoon Log in 1861.

Information about this Reynolds’ log cannot be found. Not even in maritime museums and in Distance Run of Sharp. The conclusion is therefore that only a few copies have been made of this log. Sharp does describe under number 36 a taffrail log of Reynolds.

This Reynolds’ log is more robust than the A1 towing log of Walker. Rotary slide twists to reveal three dials on enamelled face. The first registers the miles up to 100, the second registers the units up to 10 mile, the third registers quarters of a mile. Three propellor blades on a wooden shaft. A solder joint of the slide has come loose, see picture.

Date: 1860-1870
LD: 50×12 cm
HWL chest: 18x56x15.5 cm
Signed: Reynold’s, London
Origin: England
Condition: in good condition, wear consistent with age and use

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