Image Lot Price Description



Fine WWI period mahogany case 17-1/2″ long x 11-5/8″ wide and 6-5/8″ tall, top of the lid has a 3-1/8″ x 1-3/4″ beveled edge rectangular brass plaque engraved “RALPH EARLE / REAR ADMIRAL U.S.N.” Lid has beveled edges and the front has a mortised brass block with an empty drawer below which contains a functioning key. Interior is green velvet lined and French fitted for 15 various artillery type fuses. All are inert and completely cutaway to expose the internal working parts. Most are labeled on their underneath side. The majority are from Naval Ordnance with a few labeled for Army Ordnance. The drawer is also lined in green velvet and has a brass finger pull in the front. Rear Admiral Earle was born May 1874, in Worcester, MA, and attended public schools until 1892 when he entered Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In August 1892, his lifelong dream of becoming a Naval Officer came to fruition when he became a Naval Cadet at Annapolis, he graduated in May 1896 and served through the Spanish American war receiving several honors and awards for valor. In 1914 Mr. Earle was the commander of the Dolphin at the occupation of Vera Cruz in which his ship played a significant role. The Dolphin also figured in the “Tampico Incident”. Just prior to the onset of WWI, Earle became the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance of the Navy, the youngest officer to ever hold that position. During the war Rear Admiral Earle conceived the idea of using spare Naval fourteen-inch guns as long range guns on the Western front. He designed the mounts for railroad cars to carry and fire these guns which were used in the latter months of the war. After the war Rear Admiral Earle returned to the sea as Commander of the Battleship Connecticut. It seems likely that it was during Mr. Earle’s stint as Chief of Naval Ordnance that he had a hand in designing these fuses. Upon retiring in 1925 Rear Admiral Earle became the President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute a position which he held until his death in 1939. CONDITION: Very fine to extremely fine, case is sound with some light staining on the lid and overall retains most of its orig varnish. Interior is strong and bright inside the lid, moderately faded around the fuses and bright and strong in the drawer. This is an extremely interesting set that deserves more research for possible donation to Annapolis or the Aberdeen Proving Ground Museum in MD. 49433-170 JR (3,000-5,000) – Lot 1247

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Auction: Firearms - October 2015
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.