Astronomical and navigational instruments, Compasses

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Steering compass

Astronomical and navigational instruments

Object connections:

Collection Astronomical and navigational instruments, Compasses
ExhibitionsThe Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire, Exploration and Cultural Encounters
User collections William Wales by NMMCollections
Gallery locationAtlantic Gallery (Floor plans)
PeopleProvenance: Knight, Dr Gowin

Object details:

Object ID NAV0447
Description The first major improvement to the mariner's compass came in the mid-18th century with the work of Dr Gowin Knight. In 1745 he invented a method of making strongly magnetic steel bars, and then developed a steel compass needle which retained its magnetism for much longer than the old soft iron kind. George Adams, the London instrument maker, was employed as agent for Knight's compasses and this example has the signature 'Gowin Knight 1180' on the back of the card.
Date made circa 1766

Artist/Maker Adams, George
Place made London, England
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials brass; glass; paper; oak
Measurements Overall: 114 x 250 x 260 mm
  • Steering compass (NAV0447)
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