Messer Surveyor's Compass

This compass is more British than American, and in Britain it would have been referred to as a "circumferentor." The face reads clockwise. The needle rim is graduated to single degrees, and numbered counterclockwise from north. The "Messer London" signature refers to Benjamin Messer, an instrument maker who was in business during the years 1789–1827.
Ref: Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550–1851 (London, 1995), p. 187.
Currently not on view
Object Name
surveyor's compass
overall length: 13 in; 33.02 cm
needle: 4 in; 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
maker referenced
Clifton, Gloria and Gerard L. E. Turner. Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851

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