Surveyor's Compass

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This compass, with its accompanying Jacob staff, is said to have been used in the Peirce Mill area of what is now Washington, D.C., in the 1790s, and the design seems appropriate for that period. The needle rim is graduated to single minutes and numbered clockwise from north. The face seems to have been copied from that of a nautical compass: it reads clockwise, and is numbered in quadrants from north and south.
Currently not on view
overall length: 12 in; 30.48 cm
needle: 4 in; 10.16 cm
overall: 6 1/16 in x 12 1/8 in x 4 7/8 in; 15.39875 cm x 30.7975 cm x 12.3825 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Francis D. Shoemaker
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
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Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History