Battenberg's Course Indicator

Battenberg's Course Indicator

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This mechanical device, designed to solve problems involving the relative velocities of two ships at sea, was invented in 1902 by Louis Battenberg in England. The inscriptions read "Battenberg’s Course Indicator U.S. Navy Mark II" and "F.A./J.Q.M. 1924."
Born in the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, Louis Battenberg (1854-1921) became a British citizen in 1868 and a cadet in the Royal Navy. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming eventually Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, Admiral, and then First Sea Lord. He changed his name to Mountbatten in 1917 and relinquished his German title in favor of a British one.
Ref: Gloria Clifton and Peter Ifland, "A Slice of History: The Battenberg Course Indicator," Navigation News (December 2000): 14-15.
F. S. Miller and A. F. Everett, Instructions for the Use of Martin’s Mooring Board and Battenberg’s Course Indicator (Published by Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, 1903).
Currently not on view
Object Name
course indicator
Battenberg, Louis
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
overall: 13 in; 33.02 cm
overall in box: 3 3/4 in x 13 1/4 in x 13 1/4 in; 9.525 cm x 33.655 cm x 33.655 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
C. R. Hoshaw
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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