Sir Isaac Newton had a brilliant concept about double reflecting navigation instrument but never published it. By 1730, two men namely Thomas Godfrey and John Hadley developed the same idea and resulted to the creation of a navigational device which came to be known as the octant. Around 1759, John Bird was able to discover the sextant with the help of Newton's principle. The scale of a sextant has a length of 1/6 of a full circle or 60 degrees. In the beginning the sextant was rather crude and as explorers began taking dangerous unfamiliar seas, the necessity for navigational instrument with increased accuracy was highly demanded. Hence, the sextant underwent extended periods of changes in order to become accustomed to the ever changing demands of sea travel.
The sextant is a unique and a powerful navigational instrument that allows direct observation of stars. In comparison with the backstaff, sextant can be used at night and even permits direct observation of the sun with the aid of filters. Although old fashioned, many sailors still rely with their trustworthy sextant for many reasons. First, many old school navigators find many faults with the modern navigational devices like the global positioning system. Second, sextants do not use electricity or any hand-controlled mechanism which makes them a reliable back-up device in case of any emergency.
There are various types of sextants. There are those casted in brass, aluminium and bronze. Cast bronze is the most frequently used metal for any metal devices. Bronze is a hard metal yet lighter in weight. Moreover, bronze resists corrosion particularly seawater corrosion and metal fatigue than steel which makes them more convenient to be used by seafarers. Bronze sextants do not create much friction with other metals keeping your devices smooth and scratch free. There are many available bronze sextants available and with very reasonable prices. Take a moment t0 browse and have that perfect sextant for you to use or to have as a decoration in your office!