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Der Kompass

A. Schuck, 1911

A comprehensive work on the history of the compass, including mariner's and surveying compasses. An extremely hard-to-find volume with a fantastic collection of beautifully illustrated examples of compass cards. Many illustrations depict cross section diagrams which show important construction details, documented in a chronological manner. Translated from the German by Peter de Clercq.

Excerpt: "In 1854-55, when I was a student at the Royal Nautical School in Danzig, the instructors Albrecht (Director), Domke Sr., Reinbrecht, Engel, Schreiber already drew my attention to the importance of observations of the so-called magnetic elements, first of all declination, and the improvement of the compass. While I was still a steersman and captain, I could only make limited observations of declination, as few ships were equipped with compasses fit to take bearings, - however, the compass cards were rarely steady enough and the pins became blunt too quickly, to allow taking reliable bearings; there were so-called azimuth compasses on more ships, but their equipment allowed a precision of barely one quarter of a compass point, not taking into account the unsteadiness of the compass card and blunt pins. - It was not until 1884, that is 29 or 30 years later, that I was in a position to start, with what were then considered good compasses and an inclinatorium, to make observations at sea and on land, - and only in 1891, that is after 36 years, with a more refined instrument, on land. From around 1885 onward I have been able, with interruptions, to take into consideration the development of the compass. "

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