- L -
PROFILE - J. B. Le Roy was an instrument maker (octants,
telescopes, barometers) who worked from 15 Mulcaster
Street, St. Helier, Jersey - about 100 metres from, and in sight of the
local main harbour - in the first half of the 19th century.
This compass has a turned wood bowl and press-on lid.
The bowl interior is painted white, with a black lubber
line. The exterior is painted black with decorative lateral
lines. It has a hand drawn, 64 point maritime
card dial with a brass cap. It is balanced underneath
on link for pic.
with sealing wax. The dial is signed around the perimeter of the
central brass cap "J. B. LE ROY - 15 MULCASTER ST - ST. HELIER'S -
The North Fleur de Lys marker has gold leaf covering the
central plume, and beneath can be seen the compass and dividers symbol
of Freemasonry. The East marker is decorated (see
on images for enlarged views)
- Dia. (overal with lid): 6-3/64" (155 mm)
- Card dia.: 4.133" (105 mm)
. open: 3 - 21/128"
. closed: 3 - 51/64" (95 mm)
- Weight: 528 gr
PROFILE - W. LUDOLPH GmbH & Co. KG (Bremerhaven) is a German
company manufacturing nautical and aeronautical compasses (see also
this latter category and Divers
). More information HERE
Examples of older compasses and sighting devices below:
PROFILE - A.B. (Aktie Bolaget) LYTH is a Swedish company founded in
1861 by Georg
(see their website: www.lyth.se).
See also Marching Compasses.
- M -
PROFILE - G. B. Magnaghi was an Italian captain who
an entirely regulated compass system with two reels made of brass on
which was wound iron wire instead of Thomson's (Kelvin's)
PROFILE - D. McGregor & Co. Ltd were
makers to the Admiralty (Glasgow, Greenock, Liverpool) throughout the
Makers of navigational instruments, and marine barometers.
1868: Silver medal international Maritime exhibition at le Havre
binnacles and liquid compasses. The Polar anti-vibration compass, and
standard compass sold to 11 commercial shipping lines and the Argentine
navy, (but not royal navy, who were locked into an arrangement with
Thomson / Lord KELVIN.)
Also dry card compasses of std pattern.
3 compass patents, 1875, 1880, 1893.
Also a pelorus used as a ‘compass verifier’, with
patented enameled dial.
1876: agents for Thomson compass.
momentarily available - Thank you for helping us completing
Thomson-type card in the bowl
Diarios San Cayetano
- Dimensions (diam. x height):
280 x 170 mm (11" x 6.69")
- Weight : 9.5 kg (21 lbs)
Markings on the compass card:
- Standard Compass
- Serial No.: 3142
- Latest improved
The lower surface is made of glass.
Profile - Former French company (more information HERE
See also the categories Survey & Artillery compasses, Marching
compasses and Pocket compasses
Model designation: Opticompas SRPI
- MORIN (France). Late 20th century.
Bearing compass. Sighting is made from the side through a prism. The
capsule is protected by a soft rubber envelope with sharp angles
representing the winds. By removing a white plastic protection disk
placed under the box, one can look at a map through the transparent
capsule and read the angle values of a second dial (90° offset)
visible from above by means of a magnifying glass.
Compare with VION's model 'MINI' (survey & artillery)
on images for
- Dimensions: 90 x 90 x 40 mm.
- Weight: 170 g (210 g with protection box).
- Softrubber protection and plastic transport casing
- N -
PROFILE - British manufacturer (more information HERE
N&Z produced ship equipment. The pocket compasses
N&Z displayed on this website were generally made by other
manufacturers like Barker or Steward. The case and
telescopic gimbals were much propably supplied by Barker. These models
gimbals, you pull it out to activate the gimbals (see also Pocket
compasses / Negretti & Zambra).
- The first one was manufactured by
Barker & Son and branded by Negretti & Zambra. It
the Barker Trade Catalogues of the period.
- The second one is signed on the dial centre NEGRETTI
ZAMBRA - LONDON and marked with N&Z's logo on the clamping
ring. Brass case covered in pigskin leather with
pictures courtesy TML
- O -
PROFILE - NV Ltd OBSERVATOR was a Dutch manufacturer located in
in 1924, bought by Kelvin Hughes in 1996 (read in WIKIPEDIA:
John Lilley &
Gillie). They produced also other
instruments like sextants. See also their Marching compasses.
view of the logo
The cardinals are in Dutch:
Z = Zuid (south)
Made in the 1920s/30s
- P -
Portrait : C. F. Petersen était un
facteur de compas
domicilié à Sankt-Pauli (Hambourg, Allemagne).
Vue de dos du disque fait de lettres commerciales
découpées et collées.
Les bâtonnets magnétiques sont enrobés
de papier et collés parallèlement de part et
d'autre du centre de rotation. On reconnaît les gouttes de
cire assurant l'équilibrage statique.
Le repère Nord est une fleur de lys et le point
cardinal Est (O) est également
décoré (voir DIVERS/ Points
Diamètre : mm
Matériau : bol et cylindre en bois
Date : env. 1850-1900
PROFILE - French company created in 1963 (more details on this
company's website www.plastimo.com)
The compass in its box
..xy (1950's ?)
The North mark looks like a simplified fleur-de-lis (three diamonds) on
top of an arrow.
Diam.: ca. 150 mm
courtesy Jaypee -
click on pictures for
Exploded view of a CONTEST compass
- The company C. PLATH was a German manufacturer. It was officially
in 1862 (read its short history on this website
- German, English translation
The products are still
sold under this label but the company's owners changed several
since 1962. See also Aeronautical Compasses. Their formerly most famous
is used as the company's logo, a seaman looking through a sextant
Picture at right:
sun-shooter, on the cover of the
booklet printed in 1962 for the firm's 100th anniversary
Picture at left: Example of a 1887 patent for a light-weight paper
compass rose with springs to compensate variations due to dampness
changes (photocopies available)
(Click on the images for enlarged
C. PLATH also produced many compasses like the one
below but also small standard artillery compasses type like our Voigtländer
signe example (engraved M.W.B. for Minen-Werfer-Bataillon
well as various compass-related tools like peloruses and other bearing
measuring aids. In the late 19th c., PLATH also developed
several light-weight compass roses with hanging
(drawing out of the book
1911) based on Thomson
's design. He
tried in vain to
have it also recommended like his
in the standard book
of the Deutsche
department of the Admiralty of the
German Imperial Navy in charge of compasses.
- R -
PROFILE - E. S. Ritchie is a U.S. Manufacturer. Ritchie
patented in 1862 (no. 36,422) a liquid compass system similar to Francis Crow
1813 design (GB pat. no. 3,644). Ironically, Ritchie's patent no. is
almost identical to Crow's one, if you add the last two digits (2 + 2 =
History: visit Ritchie's official website
Detail view (all the patent's figures HERE)
for enlarged view
A - Bowl
B - Glass plates
C - Pivot
D - Compass card
E - Air-tight vessel
G - Magnets
H - Conic frustrum
I - Elevator
a - Cap
y - Flange
z - Screw
|A typical rose of winds
(Pic. courtesy oaty1)
PROFILE - Former compass maker located in Marseilles already active
during the 18th C. (note: the "x" is to be pronounced).
In the 19th C., his instruments
were signed Joseph
ROUX, hydrographe sur le
port, à la boussole couronnée
Jaypee - Musée de la Marine, Marseille
for enlarged view)
- Divisions : rhumbs - see CARDINALS
- S -
PROFILE - Japanese company (see this company's own website:
Its products are also sold by CARAC Co. Ltd. (see pictures of a hand
PROFILE - Sestrel is the Trade Mark brand of Henry Browne
& Son who were
important British compass makers. This company was sold to John Lilley
& Gillie Ltd* (products: magnetic compasses MK2000 &
and SIRS Navigation (both in UK) in 1993.
BROWNE & SON, Ltd was
established in (18..?) in
London (Essex). They were respected English
that had been making fine quality compasses,
ship's clocks, inclinometers, sextants, and chandlery
items for over 140 years. Their “Dead
Beat“ compass design is well dampened and
serves to reduce oscillations. It is reported that this design compass
was fitted to many Allied ships during WW II. Over the more recent
years, there has been a consolidation of British instrument makers and
the firm of Henry Browne & Son has changed hands a number of
times. At last count, it became part of Lilley &
Gillie for what may be the second time.
Another famous SESTREL product is their landing compass (example: see
Aeronautical compasses, Air Ministry 06)
* See the company's story in Wikipedia.
PROFILE - This unsigned item features the same card and fleur
de lys as the compass
made by Fr. Barker during his apprenticeship at Simms'. We assume that
compass was a very early model made by this manufacturer. Several other
similar compasses are known that were made at the end of the 18th
courtesy G. Tremblay
on the pictures for enlarged views
- Diameter : 90 mm
- Height: 70 mm
- Case: 140 mm (cube)
- Weight: approx. 1 lb.
The case is made of metal but the base was cut out and replaced by a
wooden disk fixed with two screws on the side. This disk supports the
(SPERRY - gyrocompass pat. 1,279,479)
PROFILE - SISTECO
Ltd was a Finnish manufacturer. It was bought by SILVA in 1990.
SISTECO built among other instruments this bearing compass SIGHT MASTER (picture at
click to enlarge)
compass (see this category).
PROFILE - J. H. Steward Ltd was a British
manufacturer (more information HERE
See also Marching Compasses
Pictures courtesy Jaypee - priv. coll.
on images for enlarged views
- Dimensions (?)
- Card design: SINGER's
pattern (northern half in black paint on mother of pearl)
PROFILE - Finnish company (see SUUNTO's own website)
on the picture for
an enlarged view)
(compare to MORIN and WILKIE)
D. Montón Farrioli
- T -
Special compass hung above the captain's bunk. This way he can check
the vessel's course while lying in his berth.
(Click for enlarged
French telltale compass
(Musée de la Marine, Paris)
Brass, paper, wood, glass
Signature: Jean-Charles Chesse, La Rochelle, 1768
Definition - A traverse board is a navigation tool
used in ancient times to record the information given by the
compass. In the traditional Navy (sail ships), the helmsman had to
record the ship's course indicated by the compass every full hour
(example at right) or half-hour, i.e. four or eight times. He used to
this aim an hour glass. The traverse board featured hence the
same face (rose of winds) as the compass with the cardinal
(see menu: Miscellaneous) and wind areas (16 or 32 like on the item at
r.). The helmsman only had to place small wooden pegs into the
Further hole blocks were used to record other parameters like the speed
so as to permit computation of the ship's theoretical position (dead
reckoning) by the officer.
read the relevant entry in Wikipedia).
(click for enlarged view)
U - V
PROFILE - Former French company (more information HERE
logo on the cover of the catalogue
for ship compasse 1959
a griffin. This catalogue also shows
two aeronautical compasses: the models
See also aeronautical compasses.
- Diameter: 103 mm
- Depth: 45 mm
- Weight (compass alone): 300 g
- Material: Bakelite
sighting vanes (pelorus function) and prism
Pictures Lydie &
(Click on images for enlarged views)
- Dia.: mm
- Height : mm
View with sight folded:
- W -
PROFILE - Former German company
(more information HERE
- Dimensions: 75 x 50 x 16 mm
- Weight: 38 gr
PROFILE - Equipment without its manufacturer's label.