Prentice Surveyor's Compass

James Prentice (1812–1888) was born in London and trained as an instrument maker. He began in business in New York in 1842, importing and manufacturing mathematical instruments. Later advertisements mention optical, meteorological, and electrical apparatus as well. The firm became James Prentice & Son in 1883, and James Prentice & Son Company in 1897.
The compass marked "J. Prentice, 66 Nassau St., N. Y." was made around 1860, when Prentice was working at this address. The rim is graduated to 30 minutes. There is a north–south level vial on the north arm, and an east–west level on the south arm.
Currently not on view
Prentice, James
overall length: 14 1/8 in; 35.8775 cm
needle: 5 in; 12.7 cm
overall: 3 1/8 in x 14 5/8 in x 7 5/8 in; 7.9375 cm x 37.1475 cm x 19.3675 cm
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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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