Marine Compass Co. Dry Card Compass

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This compass has a metal bowl gimbal mounted in a wooden box. It was used on a lifeboat of the SS Alcoa Mariner, an American freighter torpedoed by a German submarine in September 1942. Frank B. Hodges, a sailor on the Alcoa Mariner, gave it to the Smithsonian. The inscriptions read "M. C. CO." and "ALCOA MARINER." The former refers to the Marine Compass Company, a firm that was established in Hanover, Massachusetts, in 1910. The owners of this firm purchased E. S. Ritchie & Son in 1951.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1940
Marine Compass Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Hanover
box: 8.5 cm x 11.5 cm x 11.5 cm; 3 11/32 in x 4 17/32 in x 4 17/32 in
overall in box: 3 7/16 in x 4 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in; 8.73125 cm x 11.43 cm x 11.43 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Frank B. Hodges
World War II
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Hi I have the same compass. Did this particular compass have radium paint on the card?
Hello: I have this compass but my box is 3 X 5 X 5. Bought it at a flea market. Decent shape. No air bubbles. Name on dial says: Marine Compass Company, Brooklin, Maine.

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