Brass ashtray made by Henry Browne & Son Ltd, who founded the Sestrel company. Henry Browne and Son Ltd, of Barking, were specialists in the manufacture of navigational instruments. Henry Browne was born in Lewis, Sussex in 1842 and died in Barking in 1935. In c1888 Henry Browne built a factory in Barking to manufacture marine compasses and navigational instruments. The business was so successful that within a few years a bigger factory was built. The common liquid compass was outmoded by the “Sestrel” (the product’s brand name) Dead-beat compass, one of the most outstanding improvements in compass design.
When Henry Browne died, his son F. G. Browne succeeded as managing director. Air navigation had come into its own, and the “Sestrel” Aero compass was introduced. During WWII the firm manufactured many thousands of aircraft compasses for planes such as Spitfires and Tigermoths. They also made compasses and instruments for Naval and Merchant ships. Henry Browne & son also made an supplied thousands of liquid luminous lifeboat compasses, one of which was fitted into every lifeboat of every British Merchant ship.
Some of the instruments made by the company include: compasses, sextants, sounding instruments, telescopes, binoculars, signalling lamps, barographs, barometers, clocks and thermometers. In later years the company were famous for making instruments for Concord.
Circular brass ashtray with a glass bottom, under which is a red and gold graphic image of a compass. The ashtray is bigger in diameter on the bottom than at the top. The walls of the ashtray are double thickness and hollow. Two black foam pads have been been glued onto the underside, presumably in an attempt to stop the ashtray from sliding.
Whole height: 35mm
Inscription Printed On base: HENRY BROWNE & SON LTD. Sestrel INSTRUMENT MANUFACTURERS BARKING ESSEX
Entry Museum 1716 (2007-12-11)