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Edmund Draper Plain Compass

An American surveying compass by an important Philadelphia maker, once claimed to have been the inventor of the first American transit (that honor now goes to William Young). Edmund Draper (1805-1882) is known to have worked in Philadelphia, beginning in the early 1830's, at which time he made an accurate dividing engine and constructed surveying compasses, some of which were fitted with telescopes, as well as some of the earliest transits.

The compass plate is 15 inches long, with crossed spirit levels and 7 inch high sight vanes, attached with a knurled head screw. The silvered compass face is signed in script "Edmund Draper Philada 376, Warranted". North is marked with an unusual seven pointed star, possibly unique to Draper's instruments. The 6 1/2 inch diameter, slightly domed compass cover is made of heavy brass. The compass circle is divided in quadrants and marked in 1/2 degrees. The brass ball and socket mount for Jacob's staff or tripod has a tension adjustment by means of three screws. Some lacquer is lost on the compass plate. The silvered face is fine and the glass appears to be original. The compass needle and clamp work well. Complete with original hand dovetailed walnut box.


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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email: richard@americanartifacts.com

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