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Mi’kmaq: lu'gwejg

This metal compass was handcrafted sometime between 1839 and 1941. A compass is a navigational device used for orientation. It consists of a magnetized needle, mounted on a pivot, that indicates the north magnetic pole. The two ends of the needle indicate the poles of the earth, and the dial around it shows any other direction in degrees relative to the north.

Its manufacturer, Jones & Gray Company, of Liverpool, England, is a company specializing in the manufacture of barometers, chronometers and precision marine instruments.

The idea of using a magnetized needle to indicate a direction first appeared in China around the 10th century, then in Europe in the 12th century. In the 15th century, a compass rose, or wind rose, was added around the needle, resulting in the compasses we know today. As navigation techniques and tools were perfected, sailors were able to move further and further from the coast and navigate the seas and oceans.


Date: 19th century

Origin: Unknown

Owner: Université du Québec à Rimouski. Maison Louis-Bertrand. L’Isle-Verte.


Desmeules, C. (1993). Maison Louis-Bertrand L’Isle-Verte: Évaluation qualitative des biens mobiliers, du décor et des fonctions d’origine des pieces [L’Isle-Verte’s Louis-Bertrand House. Qualitative appraisal of movable goods, decor and rooms’ original functions]. Ministère de la Culture, direction du Bas-Saint-Laurent.

Jason Clarke Antiques. (n.d.). Early Victorian sypiesometer by Jones, Gray & Keen of Liverpool. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://jasonclarkeantiques.co.uk/products/early-victorian-sypiesometer-by-jones-gray-keen-of-liverpool

Lavoisy, O. (n.d.). Boussole [Compass]. In Encyclopædia Universalis. Retrieved April 16, 2022, from http://www.universalis-edu.com/encyclopedie/boussole/

Larousse. (n.d.). Boussole. In Dictionnaire Larousse. Retrieved April 18, 2022, from https://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais/boussole/10730

Morrison-Low, A. (2007). Making Scientific Instrument in the Industrial Revolution. Routledge.

Illustration: Compass