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Brass Clocks 101

November 3rd, 2010

Brass Nautical Clock

In addition to collecting model ships and the like, nautical enthusiasts will find many other quality nautical items such as brass clocks. Brass nautical clocks are superb additions to one’s extensive nautical collection, and serve to accentuate the nautical room to a higher degree than most other items. Brass clocks are quality made and are fully functional. In addition, you do not have to be a nautical enthusiast to enjoy the quality of a nice brass clock. They can add class to any area of your home, whether or not there are other nautical items present. In order to make a great purchase on a brass clock you must be informed of what to look for. Therefore, this article will examine quality brass clocks to acquaint you with what to look for in your purchase.

The brass porthole clock is a novelty styled clock that adds atmosphere to any wall that it touches. The brass porthole clock is made from solid brass and is polished to a high shine. Furthermore, this beautiful clock is styled with roman numerals that add class to its already exquisite look. In the front exists a hinge that allows the clock to be opened up. This testifies to its superior quality over other clocks made of less quality materials, such as plastic or low grade woods. The polished finish of the brass porthole clock is so fine that it reflects back images in a quality unlike most clocks, and more like a mirror. Furthermore, the style of a porthole gives authenticity to the nautical themed room that it graces.

If you are looking to find a wall clock that features a more subdued brass look, then the Rosewood wall clock is just the type that you should be interested in. This clock is comprised of a rosewood composition mainly, but with a brass trim that really highlights the elegance of the clock as a whole. It is not too flashy, but is a true piece of classiness that will go well in any interior of your home. Similar to the brass porthole clock, the rosewood wall clock features roman numerals that grace its front plate. Furthermore, this clock also features snazzy brass nameplate located on its backside that reads “Hampton Nautical” – a toast to its all around class. You can even customize the nameplate to read whatever you would like it to, making it an excellent gift to someone that they will treasure forever.

These are just a few of the types of brass clocks that you can find with a little bit of persistence. You should never settle for anything less than true quality, and that will cost you about $40 at least. Not too shabby for a quality wall clock made with the shiniest brass and classiest style.

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Brass Nautical Keychains Vs. Plastic Keychains

November 1st, 2010

Brass Telescope Key Chain

When it comes to nautical key chains there are two main types – brass (metal) and plastic. The quality of your nautical key chain will rely on its composition. Plastic is quickly surpassing metal as the main element in creating many items, including key chains. But does that necessarily make it the better choice? In order to find this out, we will have to discover the main strengths and weaknesses of both.

Metal key chains are manufactured as brass key chains mainly. Key chains made from brass are very strong, and tend to last longer than plastic key chains. This is because metal is a more resilient element that can weather through the toughest of conditions. However, key chains made from metal are susceptible to rust and other long term effects. The key to maintaining a brass metal key chain is to make sure that you polish it when necessary. To this end, using a brass polisher will do. This can be very messy, and the smell of which is not pleasant. Though, cleaning your key chain with the appropriate polish will ensure a more brilliant shine time and time again. If you do not polish your key chain then the rust that builds up can cause extreme wear that will either tarnish your nautical key chain or possible break it.

Plastic is used to replace metal in a variety of different manufacturing areas. For instance, cars are now being made with plastic for their body trims and other areas due to plastics low cost and maneuverability. Plastic does not need to be as rigorously up kept as metal either. This means that your plastic key chain will be extremely low maintenance. However, while this is true, plastic is not nearly as strong as metal. It is much more likely that you will accidentally bend your key chain, or even completely break it with a minor moment of neglect. Also, plastic key chains just do not have the same brilliance exuded by key chains made from metal. There is no shine to a plastic key chain, making them come across as more of a toy than a nautical item meant to be taken seriously.

Both metal and plastic have their advantages and disadvantages. However, in spite of the maintenance needed to keep your key chain in prime condition, it is metal that creates the most authentic and luxurious key chains. While plastic key chains do not live up to the same standard that metal brass key chains do. There are several different types of key chains, and really it will come down to what you are looking for in a key chain when deciding brass metal or plastic. Metal is certainly the way to go for those that want a beautiful shine and more authentic key chain to hold their car and house keys, among other valuable items. Plastic key chains are more for children, and are not meant to have the same quality as metal.

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History Of Diving Helmets

October 29th, 2010

Copper Divers Helmet

The diving helmet which is worn by professional divers is incredibly adaptable for use in extreme circumstances. The diver’s helmet completely secures the head of the diver and allows for extensive voice communication with the operation team above water, and even with other divers. If anything were to occur to the diver when below water, such as being knocked unconscious, then the diving helmet will continue to pump air to the diver until he reawakens. This is very different from standard scuba gear which has to be knowingly held in the mouth. So if a scuba diver becomes unconscious, he or she will most likely drown due to the oxygen connection being cut off.

In the beginning, deep sea diving helmets were available with two to four bolts. The Kirby Morgan Superlite-17 designed in 1975 is a very noteworthy commercial diving helmet that is built with a fiberglass shell and chrome-plated brass fittings.These became the standard for modern commercial diving operations. The diving helmet can be attributed to Augustus Siebe, who is considered to be the father of diving. Siebe was a German born inventor from the 19th century who when living in England created a diving helmet. His version of the helmet had a watertight seal and an air-containing rubber suit. This was connected via an air pump on land and became the first useful application of the diving helmet and suit. The modern day diving suits used today are more reflective of the closed diving suit that Siebe Gorman & Co developed. Unlike earlier diving helmets, Siebe’s was sealed to the diving suit making it perfectly air tight. An enormous feat indeed. This proved to be a safer way for undersea exploration and helped to revolutionize the 1830s way of undersea exploration. Though, Alexander McKee stated that Siebe was merely the leading manufacturer of the designs made by brothers John and Charles Deane.

In the 1960′s, the commercial diver Joe Savoie invented the neck dam that made it possible for a new series of lighter weighted helmets to come about. Such types of lightweight helmets include the Superlight series. However, because he only wanted to improve the safety of divers, Savoie did not pursue a patent for his innovations.

The next step in the evolution of the diving helmet is the full face diving mask. This covered the entire face of the diver, and was held in place by way of adjustable straps. Indeed, the diving helmet came a long way since its invention to become the amazing piece of nautical equipment it is now.

The use of the diving helmet is not restricted to undersea adventures, however. Due to the air tight nature of the diving helmet, diving helmets were even used during the first world war to protect the British Army from the horrors of the notorious mustard gas that took the lives of many.

Now these classic copper diving helmet designs are used to adorn public museums and private nautical artifact collections around the world.

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History Of The Sextant

October 27th, 2010

Brass Sextant Paperweight

The sextant is a very important item for the navigator. However, like everything else on this planet, it had to evolve. The very beginnings of the sextant were a bit more unrefined and couldn’t quit hit the nail on the head. While modern day brass sextants are outclassed by the global positioning system, which many navigators criticize for it’s many faults.

The need for a navigational tool in the nautical realm arose as a way for exploration to take place on the treacherous uncharted seas. In order to use a sextant, a few things had to be done first. For instance, an almanac had to exist that included the location of celestial objects and bodies in relation to our planet at every single hour of every single day for many years. Furthermore, a device capable of measuring time to a precise point must be utilized. This is called a chronometer. Cartographers were necessary to plotting and charting maps so that longitude and latitude could be found and marked by the observer. A simple mathematical formula to transform the relation of the celestial body and the horizon with the navigators position would also be needed. With these things in place the sextant would be the final key in locating an accurate position of one’s self on the globe.

However, long before the invention of the sextant, navigators had to rely on Polaris to find their way back to their home port. The Arabs were very good at doing this, and used a device known as a Kamal to their advantage. The Kamal relied on a short rope and an object that sighted Polaris at the top and the horizon at the bottom. A knot was tied at the exact location of which he could align the two. When returning from a voyage back home the navigator would adjust his sailing in order to bring Polaris into the same position he had when he left port.

In the 10th century Arabs gave Europe two very important astronomical devices that would lead to the sextant – the astrolabe and the quadrant. The quadrant was especially useful to the Portuguese explorers. Explorers such as Columbus would mark off the points of altitude witnessed of Polaris similar to the Arab way of tying knots in the Kamal. This would be done in ports that the sailors wished to return to, and would eventually the alturas would become published so other sailors could find their way around the coasts of Europe and Africa.

The astrolabe was a remarkable device for use on sea as it could retain its position amongst the ever changing harsh conditions at sea. It was used for more than 200 years because of this. The astrolabe used a circular scale, and rotatable alidade with sighting pinnules. When held at eye level a celestial object could be viewed through the pinnules and the altitude read from the point of crossing by the alidade on the scale.

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History Of The Ship Wheel

October 25th, 2010

Wooden Ship Wheel

The ship’s wheel was predated by the use of the whip staff, which proved very insufficient. The ship’s wheel actually did not come about until very late in the development of the ship itself, until then the lackluster whip staff sufficed. The invention of the ship’s wheel is credited to the British Royal Navy, even though there has been no sufficient evidence to support this statement. It was believed to have been created by the workers in the ship docks and the artisans and not commissioned by the central government itself. The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich provides much back story on the history of the ships wheel.

The first ship wheels are thought to have been implemented around 1703, as seen in photographs of models from that period of time. However, this date is highly uncertain as there is not enough evidence short of a singular model ship that shows a fully developed wheel. Even if the ship’s wheel were invented then, it still may have taken some time for it to become commonplace in the use of ships. For instance, there is evidence that the Russel, an 80-gun ship started in 1707 was to be fitted with a whip staff. While in 1711, the 90-gun ship Ossory shows a design of a ship wheel in the proper place. While the 50-gun Gloucester of the same date used a whip staff. This evidence suggests that the ship wheel were probably truly invented closer to 1710 rather than circa 1702-03. By 1715, the ship’s wheel became the new standard for ships.

Early ship wheels were placed behind the mizzen mast, and above the tiller’s end, obstructing the helmsman’s view quite profoundly. Originally, the ship wheel was placed in front of a barrel of cylinder shape. It was to be operated by two men in heavy storm conditions, although the small amount of space caused them to get in the way of each other. Around 1740, many ships included two wheels. This allowed four men to be capable of steering if need be.

Early wheels suffered the problem of not having equal amounts of slack and tightening on both ends of the tiller rope. When the rope became hauled to one side, the angle of the center line of the ship became altered. This caused the rope to either become too tight or too slack. This flaw of design was not improved on for about 70 years until Pollard, Master Boat builder at Portsmouth Dockyard, introduced a new system. Pollard’s system was comprised of “sweeps and rowles” that were tested under Captain Bentinck in 1771. Pollard’s system was a success and became used as the standard by 1775.

The ship’s wheel is shrouded in many mysterious and discrepancies. While no one knows who invented the ship wheel at exactly what point in time, there is a general idea. It is one of the biggest steps taken in nautical navigating and helped to improve the way we view ships in the modern era.

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History Of The Spyglass

October 22nd, 2010