Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

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Surveyor's Compass

Catalogue number:

length 13.625 inches; the needle is missing, but would be 4.625 inches

The narrow bar, dovetails holding the vertical sights in place, and face that reads clockwise, suggest that this compass dates from the middle years of the 18th century, when its original owner, a Quaker preacher named Benjamin Ferris, settled at Quaker Hill in Dutchess County, New York.

Ref: Conrad S. Ham, "A Family History of a Group of Surveying Instruments 1750 to the Present Year 1954," Annual Report of Proceedings of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers 70 (1954): 134-138.

Further Information:

Surveyor's Compass