Detail View

Object Name: surveyor's compass
Date: circa 1796
Inventory Number: 5204
Classification: Surveyor's Compass
Subject: surveying
Maker: John Trundy
fl. 1774 - 1802
Maker: Thomas Wightman
fl. 1775-1820
Cultural Region: United States
City of Origin: Portsmouth
Dimensions: 19.2 x 17 x 36.5 cm (7 9/16 x 6 11/16 x 14 3/8 in.)
Description: This is a wooden surveyor's compass (also known as a circumferentor). The wood may be cherry.

The compass box is cut into a single block of wood. The wind rose is an etching printed onto paper. There are 64 points on the wind rose, which is labeled in English initials. There is a fleurs de lys at North, and an early version of the Seal of the United States on the East point: An eagle holding a striped shield. In one claw the eagle holds arrows; in the other, an olive branch. There is a rose in the center of the wind rose. The maker's name, John Trundy, is on a separate ring of paper glued onto the original rose. The needle is blued steel with a plain brass cap. The raised ring of degrees is made of pewter and divided 0°- 90°- 0°- 90°- 0°every 1°.

The sighting vanes are wooden. Each has a pair of slit and window sights. The vertical wires are missing. The vanes are inserted into slots in the arms of the compass.
Signed: printed on compass paper: JOHN TRUNDY, PORTSMOUTH, N. H.
Curatorial Remarks: The date of the instrument is based on the number of stripes on the shield held by the eagle. There are 16 stripes. Tennessee joined the Union in 1796 as the sixteenth state. The card is attributed to Thomas Wightman.
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