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*328412

Inscriptions:
"BENJAMIN RITTENHOUSE"

Dimensions:
Length overall 14.75 inches; needle 5.75 inches long

Discussion:
This is a typical Benjamin Rittenhouse compass made around 1785-1796. The face is beautifully engraved, the graduations on the needle ring are done with great accuracy, and the socket joint can be adjusted so that the compass is held rigidly in place. But the signature is off-center, with scant room for the final E.

Further Information:

Surveyor's Compass
Benjamin Rittenhouse

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