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Boxed wood bowl dry card compass

Date: c 1850
Dimensions:
Overall: 133 x 185 x 182 mm, 1.05 kg
Medium: Wood, metal, paper, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Compass
Object No: 00029476
Place Manufactured:Boston

User Terms

    Description
    American boxed wood bowl dry card compass manufactured by F. W. Lincoln Jr. & Co. Boston, c 1850. A compass is a navigational instrument used to establish direction relative to the magnetic poles of the Earth. The black and white compass card in this dry compass is divided into 64 points.
    SignificanceThis compass is important in illustrating the type of navigational instrument carried onboard smallcraft and fishing boats.
    HistoryOne of the earliest recorded uses of the magnetic compass was reported in the 12th century in the English Channel. Prior to the introduction of the compass, navigation at sea was primarily determined by the sighting of landmarks. With the gradual perfection of compasses and associated understanding of the effects of magnetic variation and deviation, the compass became a primary instrument for navigation on both land and sea. The dry card or dry mariner's compass was invented in about 1300, in Europe. The compass was built with a freely pivoting magnetized needle over a compass card which, when placed in line with the keel of the ship, would pivot when the ship changed direction. In later times compasses were fixed to pivot support mounts to reduce the grounding of the card or needle when the ship rolled or pitched.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: BOXED WOOD BOWL DRY CARD COMPASS

    Web title: Boxed wood bowl dry card compass

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