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

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Surveyor's Compass

Catalogue number:
PH*329728

Inscriptions:
"W. & L. E. Gurley Troy, N. Y."

Dimensions:
length 15 inches; needle 5 inches

Discussion:

The signature-with its v-shaped trenches and lines of varying weight-was clearly engraved by hand. That means that the compass was made between 1852 when W. & L. E. Gurley began in business, and before the middle of 1876 when their new engraving machine was up and running. There is a level vial on each arm, and an outkeeper on the south arm. The sides of the vertical sights have a series of divisions, by which angles of elevation or depression can be read. The compass belonged to Bowdoin College. New, it cost $35.

Ref: W. & L. E. Gurley, A Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying (Troy, N. Y., 1871), pp. 14-22.

Further Information:

Surveyor's Compass
Gurley

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