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

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Surveyor's Compass

Catalogue number:
PH*309826

Dimensions:
length 12 inches; needle 4 inches

Discussion:
This compass, with its accompanying Jacob staff, is said to have been used in the Peirce Mill area of what is now Washington, D.C. in the 1790s, and the design seems appropriate for that period. The needle rim is graduated to single minutes and numbered clockwise from north. The face seems to have been copied from that of a nautical compass: it reads clockwise, and is numbered in quadrants from north and south.

Further Information:

Compass

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