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Excellent, Annotated Chart of the North Pacific

North Pacific/ Alaska/ California/ Hawaii. JAMES IMRAY & SON [London, 1849 /1872]
Chart of the North Pacific Ocean, Exhibiting the Eastern Shores of Asia and the Western Coast of America, from the Equator to Behring’s Strait. 74 x 39 ½ inches
Several courses with notations in pencil & ink (some smearing of ink); lightly stained, two closed tears a few inches into surface, re-mounted on heavy blue paper, very good overall.


A superb, working, navigational chart of the entire North Pacific that includes the west coast of the Americas from Columbia to Alaska and the east coast of Asia from the Philippines northward. Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and several other islands of the western Pacific are shown. There are large insets at right of the Hawaiian Islands, San Francisco Bay, of the Philippines, and a smaller one of Victoria harbor on Vancouver Island.
The chart shows two great circle routes for crossing the Pacific: the northerly one from San Francisco to Hong Kong and the more southerly one via Hawaii also to Hong Kong. The chart bears evidence of considerable use at sea in the heavily annotated courses along the west coast of the United States. One note identifies a ship, the Robert Dixon (?), out of Portland (Maine?) dated December 1, 1882. We have not yet been able find more information about this ship and its journey. However, since the courses drawn on the chart traverse the same area of the ocean several times, it's probable the ship was engaged in whaling.
James Imray (1803-1870) was London’s leading seller of fine nautical charts and sailing directions as well as navigational equipment. Its charts were also widely used aboard American vessels. Imray himself directly managed the chart end of the business. Initially a bookseller and binder in Cheapside, Imray in 1836 joined with Michael Blachford, a sea chart publisher based in London. The partnership flourished and soon began to compete with the larger firm of Norie and Wilson. In 1846 Imray bought out Blachford, taking over as sole proprietor. Through various partnerships over the years, the company has survived to this day, now specializing in charts for yachting and fishing.

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