Tell-Tale Compass

Tell-Tale Compass

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Since this compass is designed to be hung from the ceiling and seen from below, the card reads counter-clockwise. The "Thaxter Maker State Street Boston" inscription is on a paper disc laid over the center of the card, obscuring the inscription of the artisan for whom the card was originally made. S. Thaxter moved to State Street in 1793. The firm became S. Thaxter & Son in 1822.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Nautical Compass (Tell Tale)
nautical compass (tell tale)
date made
early 19th century
Thaxter, Samuel
card: 5 in; 12.7 cm
bowl: 6 in; 15.24 cm
overall: 3 1/4 in x 9 3/4 in x 6 1/4 in; 8.255 cm x 24.765 cm x 15.875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object