Simpson Surveyor's Vernier Compass

Description
This compass, marked "J. SIMPSON BARDSTOWN KY," has an unusual and ornate face decorated with Masonic symbols. The variation arc on the north arm extends 10 degrees in either way; the vernier is moved by rack and pinion, and reads to 10 minutes. A level vial is on the south arm. The signature refers to Jonathan Simpson (1787-1863), who was was working in Kentucky by 1820, and who advertised in the Bardstown newspaper, The Republican, on October 3, 1844: "I shall keep on hand a constant supply of SILVERWORK of my own manufacture-warranted to be as good as any manufactured in the United States, and at the Cincinnati prices. My necessities compel me to labour as much as ever I did. I have a few Surveying instruments on hand, which I will sell very low."
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
compass (surveyor's vernier)
maker
Simpson, Jonathan
Measurements
overall length: 15 1/4 in; 38.735 cm
needle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
place made
United States: Kentucky, Bardstown
ID Number
PH*325686
catalog number
325686
accession number
257690
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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