- The "THOS H. BALCH Maker State Street NEWBURYPORT" inscription on the paper card on this wooden compass refers to Thomas H. Balch (1771-1817). According to an advertisement in the Newburyport [Massachusetts] Herald for August 8, 1806, Balch's shop could be found under the Sign of the Mariner's Compass. Like many artisans, Balch did not make every part of every instrument that carried his name. From research in local records, Martha Fales found that a local cabinet maker named George Short made the boxes for Balch's nautical compasses.
- Ref: Martha G. Fales, "Makers of Mariners' Compasses in Newburyport," American Neptune 28 (1968): 144-145.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- compass (surveyor's plain)
- Surveyor's Compass
- Balch, Thomas H.
- Short, George
- place made
- United States: Massachusetts, Newburyport
- Physical Description
- wood (overall material)
- overall length: 16 1/16 in; 40.79875 cm
- overall: 8 1/8 in x 16 1/8 in x 8 in; 20.6375 cm x 40.9575 cm x 20.32 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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.