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Ran across this listing while browsing the bay recently, and was wondering if anyone here could shed some light on what this actually is.
Just an intuitive guess, Fred. Could be a timer for aerial photography. Bell & Howell have been making camera equipment for decades - movie cameras, still cameras, projectors. "quadrant" in military circles can apply to gunnery, radar, aerial surveying, and other things too, I expect.
An interesting clock. I congratulate the winner on his/her bargain. I checked Whitney and his book does not mention this item; although Walthem made regular aircraft clocks of this size. The timepiece is housed in a standard "A-11" clock case.
Glyn may turn out to be correct. The inspection paper with the clock suggest it was checked with the sort of care given to an imporant timepiece, such as for science or navigation?
Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
I don't know for sure, but it looks like it would have been installed in a piece of equipment that had a built-in camera of some kind (Bell and Howell) in order to record the time of the photo or movie clip. The ideas of what it would have been in all sound reasonable. A couple more ideas are a reconnaisance aircraft camera set-up or a weather station recording device. The AN number indicates it was procured by an Army-Navy contract - I'm not sure it would be very easy to look up that contract number to see whether it would give a clue. Either the Army or Navy might have used it for something that required a time to be recorded on a photo or movie taking device - kind like the way a digital camera these days can be set to time/date stamp an image.
If photos of the ground were taken during a recce or bombing flight(for example), they were not much use unless the analyst had some idea of the location. As far as I know, date-stamping on film frames came much later than WWII. As long as the timer and film were synchronized, it was possible to tell where the photo was taken since the location of the aircraft at any given time would be recorded by the flight navigator. Thus the data could be matched.
Glyn, Your answer appears to be accurate. This same request was put on the green board, and Tom McEntire, an airforce vet, explained the use. He had seen these and installed them on aircraft.
Thanks, Tom. That's set me up for a good day ...
The main clue for me was "Bell & Howell".
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