Magnetic compasses, which use the Earth's magnetic field to determine direction
Gyroscopic compasses, which use the principle of gyroscopic precession to determine direction
GPS compasses, which use GPS signals to determine direction
Optical compasses, which use a sighting mechanism to determine direction by aligning an object with a fixed point.
The magnetic compass is believed to have been first invented by the Chinese during the Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE). However, it was not used for navigation until the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), when Chinese navigators began using it to navigate ships at sea. The magnetic compass was first brought to Europe by traders during the 12th century, and it quickly became an essential tool for navigation.
During the Age of Exploration, the magnetic
compass played a crucial role in the success of voyages of discovery, such as those of Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. In the centuries that followed, the compass was improved upon and combined with other navigational tools, such as the sextant and chronometer, to allow for more accurate navigation at sea.
In the early 20th century, the magnetic compass was replaced by more advanced navigation systems such as radar and GPS
An antique French brass vineyard setters compass, circa 1890s, together with two brass and black metal scientific and surveying instruments, late 19th century, one raised on a wooden stand marked Cary, London, the largest 20 cm high
A compass belonging to air chief Marshal Sir Keith park, Gcb, KBE, MC & Bar, DFC (1892-1975) R.A.F. Type 06A, cased, hand-held with ebonised finish, in grey painted box with stencilled details, together with an old label, detailed in pen 'Compass S/N…
Four fob watches and a compass includes a base metal Westclox working*, metal compass * not working, Sterling silver Waltham *not working, a metal Reliance J.Hart W. Matiland Swiss made * not working, a metal Hardy Bros Sydney * not working. * when tested.
'Sestrel' hand bearing compass by Henry Brown & Son Ltd. London fitted with a wet card compass having cardinal points & sight ing prism in case with Company logo plaque attached to the door panel. Early 20th century. Height 30.5 cm (case)
An early 20th century 'T. Peacock & Son, Auckland, New Zealand' brass compass in original leather case, with folding viewing sights and screw-receptacle for stand, diameter 7.5 cm, named to covering plate, in original stitched leather case
A rare US Airforce Pioneer/Bendix B-17 bomber compass, thought to be the only one of its type in Australia it was soon found that this compass was adaptable, versatile & reliable enough to be used in a variety of other roles, once landed it could be…
Two Edwardian Short & Mason compasses and a compass board, early 20th century, a prismatic brass compass, number 313 and dated 1904, and; a Verner's pattern compass, number 534 dated 1908, both in original leather pouches, one marked G.I.T, the other F.L…
A good 19th century heavy brass English mining dial with sight compass, levels and protractor. Signed on dial 'Davis, Derby' mounted with turning shaft and adjustments on an octagonal oak base. Used by surveyors above and below ground. Width 24 cm
A German gilt brass Clinometer compass, by Breithaupt Cassel, first half 19th century, silvered dial with Arabic numerals, blued-steel needle, gilt brass compact case, the dial inscribed Breithaupt Cassel 7 cm wide