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Market Report

Market prices

Find out what sort of prices you can expect with the market report.


Dennison Mk V

Read more about these popular compasses in the article on WWI Pocket watch compasses.


WWII Pocket watch compass

Intrigued to know what all that compass jargon means.


Singers Patent

In my view Singer's Patent was an iconic design of the 1860's.  So who was Singer?


World War 1 prismatic compasses prove very popular at auction, but what were their origins?


Old Italian compass

How compasses were a few hundred years ago

Book Reviews

Books on compasses that are invaluable reference material

Useful Links

And finally some useful links to compass sites around the world.



Reference books

These are my personal views on books that I have used to learn more about my collection.  In listing them I am neither endorsing or recommending them.  You must make your own judgement as to whether they can be of use to you. 
Compass Chronicles - A guide to the wide range of pocket compasses covering the period from the late 1700's to the mid 1900's by Kornelia Takacs - Hardbound 176 pages.

ISBN : 978-0-7643-3396-5

Library of Congress Control Number 2009941780

This book is a welcome addition to the research material available in the market place.  It concentrates on Pocket Compasses from around the world and is the most comprehensive and thorough publication on Pocket Compasses that I have yet seen.  There is certainly enough in the book to satisfy any collector who is interested in Pocket Compasses from the period late 1700's to mid 1900's.

Kornelia includes all the major Patents, looks at the origins of compasses from various countries and carefully explains the various styles of pocket compasses that have been available over the last 300 years.  Kornelia even solves the mystery of what happened to Samuel Berry Singer of Singers Patent fame.

Compass Chronicles Cover  Compass Chronicles example

Plenty of illustrations, both colour photographs and original facsimiles of documents as well as extracts from original texts are included to help you understand the evolution of pocket compasses better.  This has been well researched, drawing on the expertise of both collectors and experts around the world.  The writing style is easy going and well explained.

This is a must if you are seriously interested in collecting Pocket Compasses, in actual fact the book would look good on any coffee table.

I have copies available in the UK which I am selling on Kornelia's behalf for 32.50 including UK postage.  If you are in Europe then postage at cost will be charged.  Please email me at for more details.



Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851 by Gloria Clifton - Hardbound 331 pages,

ISBN 0 302 00634 6

Dr Clifton is the Head of The Royal Observatory, at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

This is one of most useful reference books I have.  It lists all the instrument makers from 1550 to 1851 giving the types of instruments they made, where they worked, dates and family and business connections. 

To appreciate the extent of the research that has gone into this book there were in 1551 3 scientific instrument makers whose names have been traced in the British Isles, by 1801 this had risen to 584 and by 1851 this was 837 of which 498 were in London.  However  whilst based on some very thorough research the book makes it quite clear that there is still much to be researched and understood.

The information is invaluable if you are serious about researching compass manufacturers and has helped me establish the history to many of my older compasses.

Directory of Instrument Makers

Copies are generally available from specialist suppliers including the National Maritime Museum.

Latitude Hooks and Azimuth Rings by Dennis Fisher Softbound 166 Pages,

ISBN 0-07-021120-5

My youngest daughter bought me this and if you are either inquisitive or even slightly practically inclined and want to make some of those wonderful old instruments, this is a must have.  The book covers 18 instruments, everything from The Kamal to Astrolobe and Dry Card Compass.

It not only has the plans for making these instruments but also explains their origins, shows how they are used and details the key parts.  If navigation fascinates you and you want to make something in those long winter evenings, this is guaranteed to get you on the right track.

Latitude Hooks

Readily available online



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