Stancliffe Surveyor's Vernier Compass

Description
This compass is marked "B. Stancliffe - Philada Maker" and "Warranted." It has a variation arc on the north arm that extends 22 degrees to either side; the vernier is moved by rack and pinion and reads to 5 minutes. A spirit level is on the south arm. The signature refers to Benjamin Stancliffe (1782-1834) who was born in England, apprenticed with his uncle, John Stancliffe, a noted instrument maker in London, and worked for Edward Troughton making sophisticated geodetic instruments for the fledgling United States Coast Survey. Stancliffe then migrated to America, appearing in Philadelphia directories as early as 1817. In 1828 he went into partnership with his former apprentice, Edmund Draper. By 1832 Stancliffe was again in business on his own, advertising that he manufactured "all kinds of mathematical, optical, and philosophical instruments," including surveyor's compasses, theodolites, sextants, and quadrants.
Ref: Robert C. Miller, "Benjamin Stancliffe and His Successors: A Century of Mathematical Instrument Makers in Philadelphia," Rittenhouse 11 (1996): 1-13.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
compass
maker
Stancliffe, Benjamin
Measurements
overall length: 14 1/8 in; 35.8775 cm
needle: 5 in; 12.7 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
PH*336362
accession number
1977.0970
catalog number
336362
subject
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.