Maclean Square Navigational Protractor

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This clear Perspex (acrylic glass) square protractor is divided by single degrees and marked by tens in the clockwise direction from 010° to 350°. A red arrow points to the origin. The marks for 090°, 180°, and 270° are replaced by the compass points E, S, and W, respectively. Diagonal lines to the four corners of the protractor are marked with the compass points NE, SE, SW, and NW. A pinhole is at the center of the protractor.
The interior of the protractor is marked with a grid. Tick marks (four per square) appear along the X and Y axes and around the outside edge of the grid. The top is labeled (in red): MACLEAN PROTRACTOR. Maker's marks are at the bottom: REGD. TRADE MK. AIRNAVA; J. D. MACLEAN ∙ Co. LONDON W.C.2. The protractor is stored in a tan cardboard case, which is printed with instructions for using the instrument. Marine and aviation navigators could employ it as a parallel rule, station pointer, and plotter. John Donald Maclean patented a rectangular protractor and parallel rule in the United States. No record of a trademark for "Airnava" was found in the United States or in Great Britain. This form of protractor is standard and is sometimes called a Douglas type of square protractor. Weems & Plath manufactures similar protractors in the 21st century.
Reference: Journal of Navigation 15, no. 4 (1962): front matter.
Currently not on view
date made
J. D. Maclean Co.
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
cardboard (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: .6 cm x 13.9 cm x 13.8 cm; 1/4 in x 5 15/32 in x 5 7/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Howard Chapelle
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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