Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(994 words)

1. Concept

In modern understanding, any device that indicates direction can be considered a compass. Until the late 19th century, these included devices indicating direction using alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field (Magnetism), e.g. magnetic needles freely suspended from a wire, piercing a piece of straw floating in water, or balanced on a pivot inside a box. The ubiquitous presence of iron-rich, permanently magnetised minerals (usually called lodestones) enab…

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Jonkers, Art Roeland Theo, “Compass”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 20 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_022471>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206

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