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RARE OLD SILVA

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wolfy:
Many of you know I have kind of a 'thing' for compasses, especially some of the older ones.   Lately, I have been picking up a few of the older Silvas with the aluminum azimuth rings like the old Pathfinder model that was the official compass of the Boy Scouts of America.  They are very simple baseplate-style models with no liquid damping fluid inside the capsule.  There were basically two differently marked versions of this compass.  One was marked "Made in Sweden, Assembled in USA by Silva Inc. LaPorte, Ind." and the other, which looks exactly the same, is marked "Silva LaPorte, Ind.".   The bases are 2 1/2" long & 1 1/2" wide with the BSA fleur de lis logo in the upper right hand corner of the baseplate.  They are not rare and usually go for somewhere between $7 & $15, depending on condition and if the box is in good condition and has the instruction sheet.

The Silva Type 1, the older version of the Polaris, looks the same as the BSA Pathfinder, but the base is an inch longer and has a magnifying lens built in to the base.  They are liquid-filled and have transparent bottoms w/orienting lines in the capsules.  I have never seen a "dry" version, but what LOOKED like one came up on eBay about 2 weeks ago.  It wasn't pretty.....kind of scratched up & dirty and the photos were not the best, but I decided to put a bid in on it because I figured it would go cheap and I "won" it! :P

When it came in the mail, I unpacked it and started cleaning it up.  I Flitz-polished the aluminum capsule and baseplate and noticed that it said "Type 6" down in the lower right-hand corner.  It also said "INDUCTION DAMPING" on the inside of the dial down near the "S" and copper is evident on the walls of the capsule.  I'd never heard of an induction-damped Silva or a Type 6 before! ???   I looked for it in the Compass Museum website, but their Type 6 does not look like this one.  They say their version is a military compass and that there was a civilian Type 6, but it is not all that common and they didn't have a picture of it. ???   There was reference to a "rare Type 6" on an old eBay listing, but it has long since expired and there is no picture available.

The old thing checks out great for accuracy and the needle slows and stops much more quickly than my non-damped Silvas, Leupolds, Michaels and Keuffel & Esser, but not quite as fast as the liquid filled Silvas & Suunto do.  From a full 180* position the needle "wags" 9 times to a dead stop at magnetic north.  I'm trying to find out more about it, but don't really know where else to look.  It's marked like the first BSA Pathfinder I described, sans BSA logo.

Have any of you guys ever heard of one like this, have one or know where I can find out more about it?  I'm up against the wall in finding anything else on it at the moment. :shrug:

PetrifiedWood:
Don't know much about it, other than to say the induction damping is cool! It might be a bit slower than liquid, but it doesn't suffer the leaking and bubble problems the liquid damped ones do when changing altitude or temperature, etc.

wolfy:
I like it too.....bubbles just drive me crazy!  I hate 'em!   I had an old Silva Prospector (no longer made) that was a liquid filled "matchbox" style sighting compass that I used for setting up irrigation lanes.  It was a great design, but developed a leak and a bubble that just got bigger and bigger until it rendered the thing completely useless. >:(

The Cammenga Army compass and the Brunton transit were my first experiences with induction damped compasses and I really like them!   No BUBBLES.....EVER! :banana:

wsdstan:
No help here Wolfy.  I looked for awhile in some of the vintage compass sellers but no type 6's with dampening.  Maybe you can do an Ebay search and then save it in case somebody lists one.

wolfy:

--- Quote from: wsdstan on March 30, 2013, 10:43:45 PM ---No help here Wolfy.  I looked for awhile in some of the vintage compass sellers but no type 6's with dampening.  Maybe you can do an Ebay search and then save it in case somebody lists one.

--- End quote ---

Thanks, Stan!  I hadn't thought of that, either....good idea!   I doubt there will be any come up, but you never know.  I didn't know this one was a "6" until I unwrapped it and I doubt the seller knew it was anything other than a ratty old compass that he got hung with in a trade.  It came from a NUMISMATIST in New York state who included a 1935 'wheat' penny in the package, along with his business card.

PS.....One of those $2 words, just for you! 8)

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