Foster Surveyor's Vernier Compass

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James Foster Jr. (1814-1873) began advertising as a mathematical and philosophical instrument maker in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1846. He showed his wares at several fairs sponsored by the Ohio Mechanics Institute in the 1850s. This compass belonged to Indiana State University. The rim is graduated every 30 minutes. The vernier on the north arm is moved by rack and pinion, and reads to single minutes. There is a circular level on the south arm. The signature reads "James Foster, Jr. Cincinnati, O."
Currently not on view
Foster, Jr., James
overall length: 15 in; 38.1 cm
needle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
overall: 9 1/2 in x 15 in x 6 3/8 in; 24.13 cm x 38.1 cm x 16.1925 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Indiana State University, Department of Physics
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History