Kern-Danner Surveyor's Compass

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This compass is marked "S. Kern Inventor" and "J. S. Danner Maker, Middletown, Va." On July 31, 1846, Samuel Kern of Strasburg, Va., obtained a patent (#4,675) for an instrument meant to be "at once cheap and efficient, enabling one to use it as a compass for running lines, or for leveling, as may be required." A trough compass, level vial, and outkeeper are inset into the face. The edge of the face is graduated to 30 minutes, and numbered in quadrants from north and south. Jacob Sensensy Danner (1807-1877) lived in Middletown, Va., and made instruments for surveyors.
Ref: Charles Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 (Troy, N.Y., 1962), p. 35.
Currently not on view
Kern, Samuel
Danner, Jacob Sensensy
overall: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
overall: 2 1/2 in x 6 in; 6.35 cm x 15.24 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
George H. Kernodle
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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