Surveyor's Compass

Surveyor's Compass

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Usage conditions apply
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" inscription 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
overall: 6 1/4 in x 12 1/2 in x 4 3/4 in; 15.875 cm x 31.75 cm x 12.065 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Museum of Science and Industry
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Surveying and Geodesy
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I am a descendant of Benjamin Messer, and his son James John Messer. My mother was Marilyn Messer. I was born just north of London. The Messer London shop, located not far from Trinity House in London, produced many fine pieces. Our family has been in the British maritime industry for centuries. Thanks for posting this.

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