46. Instrumentation

It’s funny how things all seem to come in a rush. Stand at the bus stop for hours with not a one, and suddenly there are queues of them.

So it is with anything in life, and this week has been no exception.

I’d had a post from Rob Waring, an American who’s built a replica Sopwith Tabloid, and who’d been following this blog. He suggested that the compass we needed might have been a Type 200, which was pretty much standard issue around that time. I Googled it, and indeed it did seem fairly likely. So I contacted Aerolocker who were already looking out for instruments for us (see chapter 44), and Simon House at Aerolocker said that they were exceedingly rare.

But I took the opportunity to ask him about an altimeter he had on his website. It was a Short and Mason one dating from about 1915, and was used by the RNAS. His was being refurbished, and when I asked how it was coming along, Simon said it was complete, and in no time at all we’d struck a deal and the altimeter was winging its way to us. It arrived a couple of days later and is in very fine condition, and fully functional.

2013-01-21 Altimeter
1915 Short & Mason altimeter, vintage c1915, and commonly supplied to the RNAS.


I also came across a General Arrangement drawing of the Type 200 compass in the National Archives in Kew. And now that’s on order so that we can try to make a good representation of it if we can’t get an original.

But we still need a clinometer (a sort of giant spirit level), a tachometer, and an airspeed indicator. If you know of anything of the right vintage, please let us know…

One comment

  1. Glad I was able to help some… that altimeter is brilliant! I would love to find a similar one… right now we are using a 1918 Tyco’s altimeter… very similar looking… but just different enough.

    Please keep in touch!

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