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Antique Maritime Compasses

Maritime voyages date back hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Compasses are some of the earliest known directional tools that first developed to help aid explorers on their trips. Many historians and people who are nautical enthusiasts love to collect vintage compasses because of their simplicity in structure yet fascinating design as well as their historical background.

What Are These Compasses Made Of?

  • Brass. Brass was an extremely popular metal that went into a number of devices, including maritime compasses. You could shine it so that it had the look of gold but was not as expensive. This material usually surrounded the compass.
  • Copper. Many compasses used copper. It was strong enough of a metal to last several years and only added to the refined look of these nautical tools.
  • Leather. While the compass itself wasn't leather, often times, the cases were. These leather cases were handcrafted and fit snugly around the compass, protecting the mechanisms that so finely told the direction in which the boat or vessel was going.
  • Aluminium. Many of the compasses bases are aluminium. Some boat compasses can be large or rather heavy and aluminium alleviated the weight of these devices. These aluminium compasses date to the early 1900's.
  • Glass. The glass component of antique maritime compasses often includes a magnifying glass to enhance the direction that the compass is indicating.

Where Do These Maritime Compasses Originate From?

  • Australia. Australian maritime compasses often have some sort of key icon on them representing Australia. Additionally, many Australian compasses were brass.
  • Europe. European compasses date back to several hundreds of years ago. They can vary in design and size. Most were a combination of brass and copper. The simplicity in design as well as the innovation can easily date them to a specific time period and region within Europe.
  • North America. While much more recent in age, North American marine compasses are still brass with newer technology and design. These pocket compasses hearken to the pocket watch style design of the early 1900's.
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