Dry Card Compass

This compass has a wooden bowl gimbal mounted in a wooden box. The paper card has an ornate American eagle with a ribband in its mouth reading "E PLURIBUS UNUM" at north. The inscriptions read "Wm Helffricht. Philadelphia" and "W. H. C. RIGGS, Front near Dock St." This card was probably made for William Davenport. It was used by his successor, William Helffricht. The overlaid signature is that of W. H. C. Riggs, a clock and watch maker in Philadelphia whose firm became W. H. C. Riggs & Son in 1863. On the side of the box is a trade card of Riggs & Brother, who were in business from 1865 to 1901.
Currently not on view
Object Name
dry card compass
date made
19th century
Riggs & Brother
compass: 7 in; 17.78 cm
box: 10 in x 10 in; 25.4 cm x 25.4 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Estate of Harry J. Tinsley
Additional Media

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