Brass Binnacle and Compass

Contributed by Museum at Portland Head


A Binnacle is a container made of non-magnetic material in which a compass is housed. This one is brass. It is used to protect the compass. It would be permanently attached to the deck of a ship on the longitudinal center or "lubber's line" which is parallel to the ship's keel. It contains various correctors to reduce the deviations of the compass caused by the magnetism of the ship. These usually consist of properly placed magnets, a pair of soft iron spheres, and a iron bar called the Flinders Bar. The bar is stored in the vertical tube.

The compass card sits in a tightly sealed float of water and alcohol that takes the weight off the pivot and provides a means of dampening the oscillations of the compass caused by the pitch and roll of the vessel. The card was illuminated for constant high visibility The cover or "hood" protects it from the elements, glare, dust, etc.

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About This Item

  • Title: Brass Binnacle and Compass
  • State: ME
  • Media: Brass
  • Dimensions: 137 cm x 91 cm x 53 cm
  • Object Type: Physical Object

For more information about this item, contact:

Museum at Portland Head
1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
(207) 799-2661

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