Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

 
Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Surveyor's Compass

Catalogue number:
PH*337209

Inscriptions:
"THOS H. BALCH Maker State Street NEWBURYPORT"

Dimensions:
length 16.0625 inches; the needle is missing, but would have been about 6 inches

Discussion:
Thomas H. Balch (1771-1817), whose signature appears on the paper card in this wooden compass, advertised in the Newburyport Massachusetts] Herald for August 8, 1806, that his shop could be found under the Sign of the Mariner's Compass. Like many artisans, Balch did not make every part of every instrument that carried his name. From research in local records, Martha Fales found that a local cabinet maker named George Short made the boxes for Balch's nautical compasses.

Ref: Martha G. Fales, "Makers of Mariners' Compasses in Newburyport," American Neptune 28 (1968): 144-145.

Further Information:

Surveyor's Compass

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