NAUTICAL COMPASSES

A short history of the compass development is given here in Miscellaneous/History. You will find more technical details about ships compasses in the excellent book COMPASS, A Story of Exploration and Innovation by Alan Gurney (W.W. Norton & Co. NY, 2004) - For more books, see also Miscellaneous/History &  Bibliography. Concerning modern ships compasses, go to the website of the Hong-Kong company AMEE & Co. :  NAUTICAL COMPASSES
A
ACD422
ADMIRALTY (Compass Dept.)
Admiralty Pattern Numbers
AIRGUIDE
ANSCHÜTZ
ASKANIA
B
BAGAT
BAMBERG, Carl
BARKER
Barlow's plate
BAUDUF
B.E.N.
BIANCHETTI
Binnacle
BODAN (see Askania)
Boxing the compass
BSH (see Deutsche Seewarte)
bxx (see Askania)

C
CARAC
CASELLA
CASSENS
CHETWYND
CHINA
CLARKE, Clement
Compass Laboratory / Observatory
Compass types
CREAGH-OSBORNE
CREAK
CROW


D
D.C.
DENT & Co
Deutsche Seewarte
Deviation card
DHI - see Deutsche Seewarte
DOIGNON
DORBIGO
Dory compass
DUCHEMIN
E - F
Flinders bar
FLINT

G
GEHNA
GIMBAL
GRW (VEB Geräte & Reglerwerke Teltow)
Gyrocompass / gyrosyn

H
HANSEN
HARRI
HECHELMANN
HOLM
HOULLIOT
HUGHES / HUSUN

I
IMRAY
Inklinator (Russia, see KIPZ)

J
JAPAN
JOHNSON

K
KAISER
KELVIN HUGHES (Kelvite compass)
KIPZ (КИПЗ in cyrillic letters)
Kriegsmarine (German Navy)
KUHLMANN

L
LARSEN
LE ROY
LONGINES-WITTNAUER
LUDOLPH
LYTH
M
MAGNAGHI
Magnetometer
Maritime Museums
McGREGOR
MOREL
MORIN
N
NEGRETTI & ZAMBRA

O
OBSERVATOR
Overhead Compass (see Telltale)

P - Q
Pattern Numbers
Pelorus
Periscope compass
PETERSEN
PLASTIMO
PLATH

R
RIJEKA
RITCHIE
ROUX
S
SAURA
SCKELL
SESTREL
SIMMS
SISTECO
STEGER
STEWARD
Submarine (see U-Boot compass)
SUUNTO
Swinging the compass

T
Telltale Compass
THOMSON William
Training Compass Rose
Traverse Board
TREPAT
U
U-Boot compass
V
VIKING
VION
W
WILKIE
X - Y - Z
Manufacturers unknown

- A -

ACD422

ACD422 is the designation of a compass built in a cylindrical casing. The only information available are the unusual markings (see pictures below).
Manufacturer unknown (thank you for helping with any clues!). Apparently a part of a periscope compass, where the main compass is mounted on the flying bridge, above the main, covered bridge, and where it is read from below through a periscope.
Description: divided circle of the card visible on both sides (compare to tell-tale compass). North reference symbol: fleur-de-lis. Magnetic needle: two bars. Card: equipped with float.



Pictures courtesy Hugh ...

Click on the pictures for enlarged views)




Technical Data
Dimensions (height x dia.):
5 x 4-1/2" (13
Markings:
- Top: Binnacle WD 150 Gauge
- Bottom:
Dia. of shoulder: 31191
Dia. of seating: 33148
- Side: ACD422

ADMIRALTY, Compass Dept.

The Admiralty was a department of the Royal Navy (see WIKIPEDIA) created in 1842.  The history of the Admiralty's Compass Department is thoroughly portraited in the book Steady as she goes (A. E. Fanning, 1986). It was headed by a Superintendent of Compasses. The most famous ones were Johnson, Creak, Chetwynd, Creagh-Osborne etc. This dept. was also responsible for the aircraft compasses of the Naval Fleet until WW1.
The Board of Admiralty was abolished in 1964 and its functions integrated into the Ministry of Defence.
See also the Admiralty's Pattern Numbers.

AIRGUIDE

PROFILE - Former U.S. manufacturer (more information HERE).
See also pocket and lapel and wrist compass.



(Click on the picture
for an enlarged view)


Pictures J. Houcke

No. 92 Course Monitor (1958) - Technical Data
- Dimensions (height x diam. basis) : 5 x 4-1/2" (13  x 11 cm)
- Weight : c. 1  pound (500 gr)
- Serial no. of parts: P-4549 and P-4551
- Divisions: no divisions and cardinals but only the six letters (every 60 deg.) ABCXYZ. The Y points North.
The pointer's position can be adusted within +/-30°. The abbreviated axiis are engraved on the base rim: NS and EW for North-South and East-West in a 90 deg. angle. (Copies of description and advertisement available on request).
The normal compass was called NAUTILUS (no. 90).

NOTE: This item was meant to be used in addition to the normal compass. As soon as the boat was on course, the index pointer was set on the nearest letter representing thus a target easy to follow.
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ANSCHÜTZ

PROFILE - Hermann (Hubert Josef) Anschütz-Kaempfe (* 3 October 1872 in Zweibrücken; † 6 May 1931 in Munich) was a German scientist and the inventor of the compass gyro (called "Kreiselapparat" in his patent no. 182.855, issued 27 Apr. 1904). Since this device is a gyroscopic and not a magnetic compass, we do not deal with it in this museum (see also Sperry pat. 1,279,479). The company Anschütz & Co. was created on 28 October 1905 in Kiel and taken over by Raytheon in 1995. For more details, read on the official web site of the city of Kiel the article 100 Jahre Produktion Anschütz-Kreiselkompasse in Kiel (100 years production of Anschütz compass gyros in Kiel).
Concerning the magnetic compasses for German WW1 submarines, go to U-Boot.



Labels on binnacle and connectors box
(Click on images for enlarged views)

Fotos A. König

Compass and binnacle
 
Technical Data
Dimensions
- Height of binnacle: 1080 mm
- Dia. of compass: 245 mm
- Dia. of base plate: 380 mm
- Markings: Eagle and svastika of the Kriegsmarine (during Germany's IIIrd Reich) above the Marine's 'M' and left of the S/N:



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ASKANIA

PROFILE - German manufacturer (See also Wrist and Marching compasses - more information HERE). Its 3-letter-code during WWII was bxx (click on link for pic. courtesy J-L Rosoux. The central part marked ASKANIA came probably after WWII in replacement for a part bearing the nazi eagle and svastika).
Picture at right courtesy J. Hessels
The first Askania compasses are identical to the Carl Bamberg instruments, only the designation varies. In the following catalogues different abreviations are used. It is not possible to show the complete scope. The figure represents the card's diameter in mm. Pictures of compasses in the table below are taken from the catalogues "Nautik 35 and Nautik 36" and also from the catalogue of Askania VEB Teltow. In 1954, due to the existence of ASKANIA West Germany (FRG), the plants in the communist East Germany (GDR) were renamed into VEB Geräte- und Regler-Werke Teltow (VEB GRW Teltow - 2nd row in table below).
3rd row: This is not a compass but a pelorus.


Cards for dry card and for fluid-damped compasses
Askania - VEB TELTOW (former GDR, inside pages)


(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)




Pictures courtesy Holger "beutelbuch*de"

PELORUS

Technical Data

- Dimensions (L x H): ca. 200x200mm
- Diameter of base disc: 150mm
- Weight: ?
- Manufacturer: Askania VEB (East Germany) between 1948-1954
This instrument was usually installed on both ship's bridge wings.

A Ludolph gyrocompass

Pictures courtesy A. H.
Tester for gyrocompass
- Manufacturer: BODAN / Perkin-Elmer (after take-over of ASKANIA's plant Bodenseewerk, West Germany, in 1955)
- NSN: 4920-12-120-6495
- Tools: s. pic. below


Link to pic of Prüfschein (control report)
Bootskompass Nkl 30 (1943)
- Dia.: 62mm (48mm w/o ring); Height: 35mm

Bearing compass
with transparent capsule and wrist strap
fittings
Ext. markings: none
Divisions: 360°, written by hand (prototype)
Dim. (w/o vanes):
- Diam.: 2" (50mm); Height: c.1" (22mm)
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- B -

BAGAT

BAGAT (link to pic) was the name of a compass utilized in the Yugoslavian Navy. It is described in the 1964 manual MAGNETSKI KOMPAS.

BAMBERG

PROFILE - Carl Bamberg was a German compass manufacturer located in Friedenau near Berlin (for more information click HERE). The company merged in 1921 with ASKANIA (above). Other products: see also Pocket and Aeronautical compasses.
The catalogue Nautik XVII (pic at right) describes compasses and binnacles (see table below). Another catalog (link to pic. Nautik XIX) describes the Instruments necessary for determining the magnetic forces and swinging the compasses, especially the magnetometer.

Submarines (U-boote) were equiped with Anschütz gyro-compasses but for more safety a conventional compass was also installed on-board. See specific entry U-Boot. Concerning type M 414 the following explanation was published on the web site warrelics.eu by drmessimer : "They were introduced into the Kaiserliche-Marine in 1908 and were installed in four early Körting engine U-boats, U-1 to 4. Starting in 1910, only one and three axis gyro-compasses were installed in the U-boats under construction (U-5 to 15) and all subsequent boats until the end of the war. No magnetic compasses were installed in U-boats that were launched after 1909" (source: Arno Spindler, Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten, Chapter 10 - Das U-Bootsmaterial. Die militärisch-technischen Vorbereitung und Vorbedingungen für den U-Bootskrieg, pp. 78-94, E. S. Mittler & Sohn, 1932). They were installed in surface craft throughout the war, but not used as the primary navigating compass."

DRY COMPASSES

Model Ktp250 - Thomson-Type Rose (Compare to Hechelmann's design, see also Kelvite)

 
Cards signed by BAMBERG used by the German Imperial Navy (1871-1918)

See also the ASKANIA catalogue above.


"Großer Normalkompass" (large standard comp.) Ktp 200 and "kleiner Normalkompass" (small standard comp.) Ktp 115 (called  Bootstrockenkompass) *

Technical Data Ktp200 / Ktp115:

- Weight (with parts): 17 kg / 5 kg
- Diam. rose:  200 mm / 115 mm

* NOTE: Designations vary in the catalogues
 


The compass Ktp200 was supplied with two roses comprising each four bar needles: flat on the one, and vertical on the other (see below)

Note: the rose of compass type Ktp115 only had two needles.
Rose of winds featuring the German Emperor's crown below the fleur de lys    Rose with vertical bar needles


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FLUID COMPASSES

Model 1903, TYP M 414



Side view showing the German Emperor's crown, symbol of the German Navy until 1918

Pictures courtesy Jan Hessels
Click on images for enlarged views



This instrument was controlled / repaired by the German company STEGER Jr. located in Kiel (see name on the card below the north marking)
Technical Data
- Height: 135 mm
- Dia.: 210 mm
- Weight: ?
- S/N: 13507
- Other scales (s. pic. below):
    -A 15 10 5 0 5 10 15 +A
    +E 60 50 ... 0 ... 50 60 -E


Model 1903
Side view cut-away

Click on the images for enlarged views
Description (in German)

Source: Library of the University of Michigan (via Googlebooks HERE).
Technical Data
- Height:
- Diameter:
- Weight:


 



Compass card: see also below


Spare compass for manual steering of large vessels and standard equipment aboard torpedo boats and mine sweepers

Standard compass aboard commercial German vessels and mine sweepers


This compass features a simple "M" no. printed on the card. The same one is known with the Imperial crown engraved on the side (see Kriegsmarine below). It was thus decommissioned after WW1 and re-used in the Merchant Navy.


All pictures courtesy Ian Bell

Click on the images for enlarged views
Technical Data
- Height:
- Diameter:
- Weight:
- Divisions: 360 deg. for direct reading and printed inverted for reading through a prism (see PLATH's bearing measuring device).

The plant's name "Berlin-Friedenau". The manufacturer's logo and name are printed on the card (pic. at left).

   
Steering compass M1690 with binnacle


Pictures courtesy Jan Hessels
Click on images for enlarged views


Note the old company logo on the card's NORTH mark
The compass repair company STEGER.Jr sent us the following information: The compass bowl was painted in green with a red mark. Even without the Emperor's eagle marking, these colours indicated that the compass belonged to the Imperial Navy
Letter (excerpt of original)

More pictures:
- Refilling plug
- Adjustment scale
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BARKER

PROFILE - Francis Barker & Son was a British manufacturer (more information HERE and in our LINKS).
See also Marching, Escape, Pocket, Survey and Wrist compasses.



Catalogue for the year 1930

All photographs by courtesy of TradeMarkLondon.com


Comment: This compass is a very rare item. It was made by Francis Barker during his apprenticeship when he was 15. His signature on the card underside and even his fingerprints on the balancing wax can be seen. Read the full story here: TRADEMARKLONDON.com 


Liquid and dry-card steering boat compasses in slide lid oak box - 1st half of 19th C.

Technical Data
- Bowl and rings: brass
- Point: steel or iridium
- Cap: sapphire or agate
- Diameter (card): avlbl. from 3 to 8 in.
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Barlow's plate

PROFILE - Professor Peter Barlow (Royal Military Academy) designed in 1819 a disk-shaped device representing the metallic mass of a ship and which was placed near the compass to correct it. It was not as good as Flinders' bar but was installed for many years in ships during the 19th C.

BAUDUF, J. Pierre

PROFILE - Former French compass maker located in Marseilles.



Picture courtesy Jaypee - Musée de la Marine, Marseille


Detail view

(Click for enlarged view)
Technical Data
Built ca. mid 18th C.
- Divisions : rhumbs - see CARDINALS
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B.E.N.

PROFILE - French company, Division of AMESYS - see Bianchetti below

BIANCHETTI

PROFILE - Former French company created in 1826 and located in Marseilles also known as Ateliers Julien.
Partly taken over by BEN (Bianchetti Electronique Navigation) in 1962.

Binnacle

Description given in a late 19th c. book: A binnacle is a waist-high case or stand on the deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman, in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments. Its traditional purpose is to hold the ship's magnetic compass, mounted in gimbals to keep it level while the ship pitched from waves. A binnacle may be subdivided into sections and its contents typically include one or more compasses and an oil lamp or other light source. Other devices such as a sand timer for estimating speed may have been stored in the binnacle as well. Examples of antique systems are displayed in the entries: DENT, KELVIN, PLATH.
The Carl Bamberg catalogue Nautik XVII and the catalogue Nautik 35 (1930's) published by its successor Askania describe several models of binnacles: type Khp200, Kh225 etc. (click on the links DATA below to display cutaway views).
The German Navy (Kriegsmarine) defined during WWII a common standard system called Marineeinheitskompassstand.







At left: binnacle with a LUDOLPH compass (above)
The compensation device

Marineeinheitskompassstand

Technical Data

View dismantled

 
Pictures courtesy Jaypee / German Navy Archives
Click on images for enlarged views

Boxing the compass

DEFINITION - "Boxing the Compass" (follow the link to read the entry in the Concise Oxford Dictionary) was a basic skill of any sailor, being the ability to repeat all 32 points of the compass (in ¼ points), a 'point' representing an angle of 11¼  degrees. Modern compasses are divided into 360 degrees, 0 (or 360) being North, 90 East, etc. (read more explanations HERE).

Young sailors learning the winds

Training Center, Great Lakes, 1948


Funny way of seeing things...

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- C -

CASELLA

PROFILE - Louis Pascal [formerly Luigi Pasquale] (1812–1897) Casella was a British manufacturer of scientific instruments British. See also Pocket and Survey compasses.

L. Casella's Catalogue (c. 1876)

Open at the pages showing the SHIPS' COMPASSES.

Picture courtesy Michael Curtis
(Click on image for full screen view)

CASSENS (& Plath)

PROFILE - CASSENS was a German company founded in 1902 by Captain Tanne Janssen Cassens and a partner called Bennecke. It was a retailer for nautical materiel and was located first in Bremen, Tannenstr. 32 (later Sorgenfrei 39-40) and now in Bremerhaven, Am Lunedeich 131. In 1908, Theodor PLATH took a participation in Cassens and the name was changed to Cassens & Plath. In 1962 bought Cassens C. Plath.
Picture of a compass displayed on the header of CASSENS & PLATH's website.  




(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Technical data
Description of the logo: read the chapter dedicated to C. PLATH.

The tell-tale compass at right features another logo. Year of production unknown

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CHETWYND

PROFILE - Captain Louis Wentworth Pakington Chetwynd (b. 15 December 1866, d. 18 April 1914, Coombe Neville, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey) was Superintendent of the Compass Dept. at the Admiralty during the early 20th C. He resumed the work of other inventors (see Crow, Creak) and patented several compass systems (see also Wrist compasses). Among his improvements was the design of a smaller compass card in the bowl. This solved the problem called the "swirl error" caused by the moving liquid during quick movements (like course changes and heeling) of the ship. He became 1912 managing director with Dent & Co. and Johnson Ltd.
See also Marching and Wrist compasses and also WBT.



(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)


Technical data
..
Drawings at left: A. Schück, Der Kompass (1911)
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CHINA

PROFILE : Chinese compass, XIXth C. Description given by J. Klaproth in Lettre à M. le Baron A. de Humboldt, p. 103 and foll., online HERE):
"The 24 Tcheou (rumbs or steering directions) consist of the twelve signs of the 12-signs-cycle*, eight of the 10-signs-cycle** (see below) and four of the eight kua" (trigrams, see Compass types / Religion-China).
* (Usual on Japanese compasses)
** Note: Klaproth marked these with an asterisk (* - see table below). The two signs used are Ki (..?) and Wo (...?) .

 

Picture Jaypee - Musée de la Marine, Paris
(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
Dimensions
- Diameter: c. 150mm
- Height: c. 100mm
- Divisions: 24 Tcheou

(See also MISCELLANEOUS/
Cardinals / China and also Compass types / Religion / Chinese Tradition)


Table: the 24 Tcheou.
(Klaproth, Lettre à M. le Baron A. de Humboldt)


The ten celestial stems
(Book ? - Appendix A.III)
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CLARKE Clement

PROFILE - Clement Clarke was a famous British optician who built microscopes and various diagnostic equipment. The company was established in 1917 (Wigmore Street, London). Clarke signed Mark VI pocket compasses* probably manufactured by F. Barker & Son or some other compass maker like Dennison during WW1. In 1986 the group was acquired by Boots Plc and in 1989 was purchased by the Swiss based company Haag-Streit AG located in Berne.
* See www.compasscollector.com


Technical Data
Dimensions (approx.): 150 x 150 x 70 mm
Additional instruments: two levels, clinometer in the lid,
- Sighting vanes: two vertical tabs with a pin-hole each in the left and right case walls.  A foldable two-piece telescope.  Centimeter ruler on the lower front case wall.

NOTE: This bearing compass is a (worthless) contemporary reproduction (see MISCELLANEOUS / Fakes).  One can tell this by some details like the magnetic needle's bright red point and the green central jewel in the cap.  The clinometer's arrow point is also at least very unprecise.  It is highly improbable that Clarke ever produced such an antique C.19th instrument.

(Click on the image at left for an enlarged view)

Compass, Testing Laboratories

By virtue of the international convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea, SOLAS, Ch. V, Reg. 19.2.1.1), the International Maritime Organization (OMI), an agency of the UNO requires the following:
Shipborne navigational equipment and systems All ships irrespective of size shall have: a properly adjusted standard magnetic compass or other means, independent of any power supply to determine the ship's heading and display the reading at the main steering position;

In Germany, the testing activities of magnetic compasses is one of the responsibilities of the Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, BSH (Federal Maritime and Hydrography Agency) in Hamburg, successor of the Deutsche Seewarte. The office specifically in charge of this task is the Magnetkompasslabor is situated in a small building built in 1950 on top of the hill where the former castle of the Seewarte destroyed in 1943 stood. It is especially protected against all magnetic interferences by means large-sized coils (link to a sketch). These coils also make it possible to simulate any terrestrial magnetic environment. The labor comprises all sorts of test equipment (see table below) and also a small museum (not open for visitors).

The compass laboratory in 1950 (in the background at r.: Bismarck's statue). It is today concealed by trees *
(* screenshot Googleearth).

Pictures by courtesy of BSH (Click on the images for enlarged views)



Measuring the intensity of magnets with a special BUSCH magnetometer (placed on the central rig). Link to user instr. (1943).

Inside view - at centre :
large rig for measurement of electromagnetic interferences

Dimensions check rig

Test rig for viscosity check of fluids when rotating

Thermal test chamber 


Vibration test on horizontal and vertical axii.

Test rig for tilting and rotating together with binnacle

Test rig for rotation when tilted

In Great-Britain, the Compass Observatory of the Admiralty was in charge of this task. See also the regulations of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency.

In France and in many countries the organisation called Bureau Veritas is entitled by the governments to perform the control of compasses.

In the Unites States of America ... (no information momentarily available).

Compass types

There are many different compass types: the large gimballed compass integrated in a binnacle and the smaller removable dory compass in a wooden box (ex.: VION), not to forget the overhead hung telltale compass. For more precise details about compass functionalities, go to chap. 2.1 General Definitions of the ISO 1069 standard. See also the various patterns defined by the British Admiralty.
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CREAGH-OSBORNE

PROFILE - Captain Frank Osborne Creagh-Osborne (1867/1943) was Superintendent of Compasses (successor of Captn. Chetwynd) at the Admiralty and a British inventor. (more details HERE).

CREAK

PROFILE - Captain Ettrick William Creak was Superintendent of the Compass Dept. at the Admiralty. He developed in the 1880's a liquid compass that worked better than Sir William Thomson's dry card system but he was unsuccessful at his attempts to have it chosen as the Admiralty's Standard Compass because of Thomson's lobby.

CROW

PROFILE - Francis Crow was a watchmaker and silversmith of Faversham (Kent, Great-Britain). He was awarded in 1813 a patent (GB no. 3,644) for a liquid dampened compass with a lens-shaped floating card. This revolutionary idea was realized only much later (c. 50 years) by the U.S. manufacturer Ritchie.



CROW's liquid compass
(descrition: patent)

 (Click on the image for an enlarged view)
Technical Data
A - Copper bowl filled with alcohol
B - Float or lens made from copper and painted on top with the points of the compass.
C - Magnetic needle
D - Thick glass top
E - A ring of copper to prevent float from being thrown from the point or center of action
F - A weight to keep the float in a horizontal position and to adjust the pressure on the point of action to about twenty-four grains (36 gramms)
G - The lubber's point
H - The arm or point of suspension coming from the bowl which is supported by the gimbal ring in the  usual way.
I  - Inverted hollow cone
J - The point of action which is riveted on a copper plate and cemented to the interior surface of the glass top.
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- D -

D.C.

PROFILE - see below Logo

DENT & Co.

PROFILE - (Edward John) Dent & Co. was established in 1814. The company still exists today.  Its website (www.dentlondon.com) only describes clocks and watches.  See also the Dent-made Air Compass Pattern 259 designed by Capt. Creagh-Osborne.

At left: Early designs by DENT and Harris

(Picture by courtesy of the National Maritime Museum as published in Steady as she Goes by A.E. Fanning, 1986)
At right: Logo: the initials D C (= Dent & Co.?) on either side of an anchor
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Deutsche Seewarte (Predecessor of B.S.H.)

The Deutsche Seewarte was in the late 19th and early 20th C. a department of the Admiralty of the German Imperial Navy Kaiserliche Marine (see below: Kriegsmarine and read more in Wikipedia). Its Second Department (Instrumentenprüfung, testing of instruments) was responsible for the testing of navigation instruments, i.e. also compasses, being thus the equivalent of the British Superintendent of the Admiralty of the Royal Navy. Its official monthly review was Der Seewart (link to the cover of the Dec. 1939 issue).
Today, the responsible authority is the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, BSH) located in Hamburg. The department in charge of the testing of compasses is the Magnetkompasslabor
Picture by courtesy of BSH: The former castle of the Deutsche Seewarte destroyed in 1943    
The full history can be read online here Die Geschichte maritimer Dienste in Deutschland - Das BSH und seine Vorgänger (pdf, German). 
In short: Germany as a unique country was created in 1871. The various former agencies like the Seewarte which had been created on private initiatives were then united under the authority of the Admiralty in the ministry of the Navy. After World War II and until the end of the GDR (Communist East Germany) in 1989, a service similar to the Kompasslabor existed there, located in Rostock from 1959 on and depending of the department Bagger-, Bugsier- und Bergungsreederei (dredgers, tugs and salvage boats). 
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Deviation Card

Since iron-hulled ships replaced large wooden ones (mid 19th C.) a correction card was necessary to steer the vessel by taking into account the magnetic influence of the metallic masses. For pictures of modern correction cards click HERE.
According to the ancient card displayed at right, the ship would have to steer SW by her compass in order to make good a course of WSW magnetic (Source: Alan Gurney, COMPASS, 2004).
Click on picture at right for enlarged view

DOIGNON

PROFILE - Abel Louis Doignon was a French compass maker located 11, rue Hoche in Malakoff, Paris / France (see also Marching compasses). He filed several patents for ships' and aircraft compasses between 1905 and 1928.
Pic. at r.: compass produced in cooperation with B.B.T.   

Dory compass

See compass types
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DUCHEMIN

PROFILE - Emile Marin DUCHEMIN (who lived 11, rue de la Bienfaisance in Paris) filed a patent in 1874 for this compass system he had developed and called BOUSSOLE CIRCULAIRE (circular compass). This device was installed in ships for several trials at sea (1873-75) in the vessels described in the booklet (iss. 7, 1877, 47 p., photocopy available). It is also listed the famous German reference book Der Kompass (Schück, 1910). The inventor tried to have his system adopted by the French Navy and produced many reports from officers with positive feedback. However, it is highly surprising that someone clang to this obviously heavy design where the Admiralties of England and Germany tried to develop the lightest solutions that could be imagined (compare to the paper rose with magnets hung on silk threads designed by Thomson, Hechelmann and C. Plath). The idea was that the larger the magnet was, the better the stability of the rose should be.



(Click on the picture above for an enlarged view of the drawing)

Short description together with the drawing on the title page: "an external magnetized circle (A) is connected with an inner magnetized circle (B) by means of a bar (C) made of aluminum or another metal. The magnetization is maximum at the North and South points and diminishes gradually towards the EAST and WEST points (n-n line)."

Pict. at r.: The magnetic circular needle.
NOTE: this instrument was in very sad condition. Its remains were glued onto a marble grip like the religious tool called monstrance. The photographs were taken at an antiques shop in Paris.




Above - Inscription on either side of the North mark: Boussole Duchemin Bté S.G.D.G.
Bottom - Inscr. at the southern end: Dumoulin-Froment Constructeur



(Click on pictures above for enlarged views -
Pictures courtesy Jaypee)
Technical Data
- Dia.: approx. 250 mm / 10 in.
- Weight unknown
- Inscriptions on the East side:
. inner circle: N° 1616 E.M.D.
. external circle: Emile Marin Duchemin - No. 1616

Patent No. 101,992 (50 p. with additions - copy can be ordered)



(Click on pic. above for a view of the corresponding figure 2 of the patent)


NOTE: A complete binnacle is displayed in the Musée de la Marine, Paris. See pic. in L'Instrument de Marine, Jean Randier, 2006.

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E - F

FLINDERS bar

A Flinders bar is a vertical soft iron bar placed in a tube on the fore side of a compass binnacle (see picture at right, KELVIN compass). The Flinders bar is used to counteract the vertical magnetism inherent within a ship and is usually calibrated as part of the process known as swinging the compass, where deviations caused by this inherent magnetism are negated by the use of horizontal (or quadrantal) correctors.
It is named after Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) who wrote a report in 1812 on ships' magnetism for the British Navy.
Read the whole story in COMPASS by Alan Gurney (2004).
See also Flinders bar adjustment.

FLINT

PROFILE - Thomas Flint was Mathematical instrument maker, Nautical instrument maker, Optical instrument maker 9 High Street (1826-31) and later 31 Whitefriars Gate, then 34 Whitefriars Gate (1835-48) all in Hull, England. The instrument at right is a tell-tale compass (pic. courtesy J. Spence). Very unusual is the west-decorated cardinal point of the rose of winds. Most cards featured an east-decorated rose of winds (link to special entry). We suppose that this compass was meant to be used in the Indian Ocean where Jerusalem lies WEST.
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- G -

GEHNA

Acronym of Georg Hechelmann Nachfolger (successors, see their website: www.gehna.de).
The company no longer produces compasses but binnacles. Link: pic. of the last known model.

Pictures courtesy of BSH (click on the image for a pic. showing the manufacturer's full name)    

Gimballed Compasses

Description - System probably invented by Girolamo Cardano (Padua 1501-Rome about 1570) who was among other specialties an Italian doctor and engineer. This system which was called after him in French and German (suspension à la cardan / kardanische Aufhängung) is designed to compensate for the movements of a vehicle (ship or aircraft) so that the compass card always remains horizontal (more details in Wikipedia).
Small compasses were also made for other usage. Examples : pocket compass (N & Z), tell-tale compass (Steward), box compass (N & Z), miner's compass, charm (see picture at right, copyright TML, click for enlarged view)
Techn. Data: Dia. of spherical case: 19.5mm; dia. of mother of pearl card: 11.5mm; weight: 12 g.

GRW

See ASKANIA above

Gyro-compass / Gyro syn

A gyroscopic compass is an electrically operated instrument, controlled and damped either by gravity of electrically so that the spin axis settles in the meridian. These instruments are not the object of this museum. The gyrosyn is a remote-indicating compass system employing a directional gyroscope which is monitored by and synchronized with signal from an element fixed in azimuth and designed to sense its angular displacement from the earth's magnetic meridian. This element, called flux valve or flux gate, is located at some remote point, e.g. wing tips on aircraft, away from extraneous magnetic influences. (Source: Chambers Dictionary of Science and Technology, 1974)
For a picture go to Anschütz above. For a pic. of a test bench go to Askania.
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- H -

HANSEN

PROFILE - HANSEN BEARING BOARD (see picture at right): go to PELORUS.

HARRI

PROFILE - Leendert Johannus HARRI (born 1799) was a Dutch kompass maker in Amsterdam. His family (glass maker) came from a place near Venice (Italy) to Holland in 1730. The company (see www.ljharri.nl) is known for its instruments, marine charts and literature.




Technical Data

Dia.: approx. 5" (125mm)
Height (with lid): approx. 4 ¾ " (120mm)
Dia. of compass card:  4" (100mm)

HECHELMANN, Georg

PROFILE - Former German compass maker of Hamburg (successor: GEHNA, website www.gehna.de) who patented (D.R.P. 23.503, 1874) an improved version of Thomson's (Lord Kelvin) design of a paper rose with magnets hung on silk threads (see pic. below). He worked in his own shop from 1.10.1878 on until probably 1905 (source: Feinmechanik und Optik in Hamburg, Gert Behnke, 2011). A comprehensive description was published in the entry for Kompass in the great German encyclopedia MEYER's Konversationslexikon. This system is also described in the reference books Der Kompass an Bord (Deutsche Seewarte, 1906) and Der Kompass (Schück, 1911). His competitor C. PLATH also tried in vain to have his own system supported by the Admiralty of the Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine).



(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical Data)
Compass made at about the same time as the brigg Ausguste* built in Wismar (Germany) in 1840.
Full name around pivot cap in center: Georg Hechelmann Nachf. (G.H. successor). "Vorsetzen 15" is the shop's address in Hamburg.

* Mock-up in the city museum of Wismar - Picture courtesy Jaypee

Logo (G.H.) in the fleur de lys
(Pic. courtesy D. Hölber)


Fig.: patent 1874
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HOLM, Petter ou Pieter

PROFILE - Petter HOLM was a compass maker located in Copenhagen, Dennmark (Kjöbenhavn). Several instruments are known.
The webster database Adlerplanetarium indicates for his birth and death dates 1696-1776. His nationality is unclear: he appears in Sweden, Dennmark and Holland as maker of tide tables, calenders etc. He is also said to have headed a navigation school.
We know a compass made in the late 18th c. (repaired in 1804) and a drawing published in Der Kompass (A. Schück, 1911, see Miscell. / Hist. & Bibliogr.). This latter one is signed by RASM. ANDR. HOLM. Its short description only mentions the rose's colours (white on black ground) and where it is kept (K.I.M. = Königliches Institut für Meereskunde, Royal Inst. for the sciences of the sea). 


(Pictures courtesy Uwe Münch)
Technical data
Dia. x height: 145 x 120mm
Magnet: two under the rose
Date: late 18th c. (repair mention inside: 1804 and Rostock 1817, Evers)
North fleur de lys on a rose signed by Rasmus Andr. Holm (a son of Petter ?.

Inscription on the 'strap': ANGELO.
THe East decoration is also different.

Drawing: Der Kompass, tabl. 20
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HOULLIOT

PROFILE - Former French company (more information HERE). Henri Isidore Houlliot and VION were friends and decided not to compete.
VION built the big ship compasses while the small ones were manufactured by Houlliot.
See also pocket compasses and DESOMBRE.


Production scope (published in the catalogue of the Industrie Française des Instruments de Précision, issue 1901-1902)



Large business card
(130 x 84 mm)
(Click on img. for enlarged views)
Gimballed compass
(was offered in the 1932 catalogue of the Société des Lunetiers (S-L)

Technical Data
- Card dia.: 30* - 120 mm (* see pocket compasses)

 


HUGHES (Henry H~ & Son Ltd.)

PROFILE - Henry Hughes was born in 1816 (read all available info HERE).
Most HUSUN compasses are aircraft compasses but this one seems to have been designed for ships. Astonishingly the S for south is inverted, which means it was to be read in a mirror or a prism like the Creagh-Osborne compasses. The patent no. refers to the Campbell & Bennett invention.


Pictures courtesy of Dánial K. Thomsen.

Click on the images for enlarged views





Technical Data
Dimensions (height x dia.): 105 x 255mm
Divisions: rhumbs on both side plus degrees on underside
Marking DEAD BEAT = aperiodic compass (check this word in the section Aeronautical Compasses)
NOTE: Sur la rose des vents sans graduation chiffrée le S du sud est inversé. Cette face du disque devrait se situer sur le dessous pour pouvoir être observée au travers d'une fenêtre dans un miroir fixé au plafond de la cabine. Le disque aurait été mal replacé lors d'une manipulation de maintenance telle que remplacement du verre brisé.
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- I -

IMRAY Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd London

PROFILE - This manufacturer apparently makes now only charts. His story is told in the book The Makers of the Blueback Charts: A History of Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson Ltd by Susanna Fischer, 2001. Actual website: IMRAY


Pictures courtesy Menno Koper (Click on the images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
Dim.:
- Card dia.:  mm

- Age: mid 19th C.

 

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- J -

JAPAN

Japanese compasses were divided into 12 areas. Scroll upward to CHINA for more details.
Picture courtesy of BSH

JOHNSON

PROFILE - Lieutenant Edward J. Johnson was the 1st Superintendent of Compasses at the British Admiralty from 1842 until his death in 1853.
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KAISER

PROFILE - The Dutch Prof. Kaiser designed in 1892 a compass rose featuring a circular magnetic needle attached to the cap via tubes. It was later improved by the German SCKELL who replaced the tubes with chains. Compare to the French DUCHEMIN's rose.
Click on picture at right for enlarged view and details of patent

KELVIN / THOMSON

PROFILE - Kelvin Hughes Ltd was formed in 1947 by the merger between the scientific instrument manufacturing firms of Henry Hughes & Son Ltd, London, England, and Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland. The logos of one of the preceding companies (White, Bottomley, Thomson) consisted of the three initials WBT placed on a black & white graphic resembling the yin-yang symbol (s. WBT in the section Wrist Compasses and pic. at right). 
(Read the full story in Wikipedia - "Kelvin Hughes" and on the company's website www.kelvinhughes.com)

William Thomson (later: Sir Wm. Th. Lord Kelvin of Largs) was a physicist. He invented a famous binnacle with a compass deviation correction system. He is also famous for the compass card he designed in 1876 featuring a 360°-scale on the circumference in addition to the conventional 32 rhumbs. It was standard in the Royal Navy although the superiority of liquid-dampened compass card was soon proven and adopted in the U.S. and other Navies (read the full story in Compass by A. Gurney and in Steady as she goes by A. E. Fanning). Both German manufacturers C. PLATH and G. HECHELMANN developed their own version of this system.
Thomson wrote a document entitled Terrestrial Magnetism and the Mariner's Compass. He also was partner in several companies which built the compasses he designed.
See also below, the booklet "Instructions for the adjustment etc."

The Thomson/Kelvin compass: The original light-weight compass card had eight magnet needles (M, see drawing at left below) but a later model improved to prevent disturbance of the compass by the engines, or by the firing of guns (patent no. 4923, 1889) possessed even 14 (pict. below at right)! The central part was cut-away and the graduated rim suspended with 32 silk threads (S) attached to the cap.
More details and pictures in Land & Sea Collection.



Binnacle with adjustable soft-iron spheres

Picture Jaypee in Musée de la Marine, Paris
(Click on image for an enlarged view)

Click on the link for an explanation of Kelvin's card physical functioning (source: The challenge of Navigation to Hydrography in 'The Northern Mariner' by W. Glover, 1996).

Cards with 8 (left) and 14 (right) magnets and 360° divisions

           
The Thomson compass was later produced by Kelvin & White Ltd. (1900-1913) and called hence Kelvite.
Below: Workers assembling compass cards

 
Picture courtesy Churchman cigarettes collectors cards, 1936

Literature available (photocopy, 36 pages)
:
Instructions for the adjustment of Lord KELVIN'S PATENT COMPASS

KIPZ (КИПЗ in cyrillic letters)

PROFILE: KATAV-IVANOVSK INSTRUMENT-MAKING PLANT, JSC ( Катав-Ивановский приборостроительный завод ) is a Russian manufacturer located in Katav-Ivanovsk, 456110 Chelyabinskaya oblast, Katav-Ivanovsk, ul. Karavaeva 45 and producing a large scope of nautical and wrist compasses
The compass at right is a common Russian naval system for calibrating naval compasses. The name is "Инклинатор И" (Inklinator 'I'. Each ship has it's own magnetic field and a compass must be calibrated for it. But the magnetic field direction is not only horizontal - it has vertical part. When a ship moves to different places, the vertical component can vary and the change of the vertical part of Earth magnetic field can be very important. A compass for "everywhere-use" must be calibrated for its own ship magnetic field not only for the horizontal, but also for the vertical part. For this calibration, big (main) ship compasses have something alike steel bolts (magnetic). Original descr. on the manufacturer's website: "Инклинатор "И" для измерения угла наклонения вектора магнитного поля. Используется при девиационных работах. Применяется для типов компасов КМ 100, УКПМ-М, КМ 145. Производители/поставщики: ЗАО «Катав-Ивановский приборостроительный завод»
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KRIEGSMARINE (German Navy)

This designation refers to the German Navy after 1935 (see note). When Germany was united to form an empire in 1871, it was called Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy). The compasses used on-board the German warships featured a symbol representing the state, i.e. the imperial crown or the nazi cross (swastika) and the letter M for Marine.  
The number is the catalogue reference similar to today's NATO Stock Number.
Note: After 1918, Germany was not allowed to have military ships.

 

1871-1918: Imperial crown
At right: the coat of arms of the German Imperial Navy

Techn. data: see BAMBERG compass
Click on images for enlarged views
(Picture by courtesy of Atlantikpirat/guntherprien47)
Engraving on the rear face of a pocket compass which possibly belonged to an airship's captain during WWI
(see pocket compass BAMBERG).

 

(Picture ab. left by courtesy of Andrew N.)
  

1933-1945: Symbol of the IIIrd Reich (Eagle and Svastika*) and PLATH's logo, a sailor with a sextant
See description in PLATH below.

* See also ANSCHÜTZ and ASKANIA

(Picture by courtesy of Leonardo Signirole)

KUHLMANN

PROFILE - Kuhlmann (link to this company's website) was created in 1903 in Wilhelmshaven (Germany). This instrument used during WW1 to compute the launch angle of torpedos is called in German Angriffsscheibe (attack course finder disc). Description and user instruction HERE.
Pic. at r. © A. Uhler. See also the same instrument made by STEGER of which we have better quality pics.
Dimensions of the case: 7 1/8 x 13 ¾ in. - 18x32cm
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CONTINUED