Presented is a dry card compass made by little
known Robert King of New York. The Webster’s Registry shows that he operated both in England and New York between
1789 and 1868. In the U.S., he had shops at 82 Duane (1812); 16 Elm Street (1814-15); 108 Orchard (1823-24); 19 Lombardy (1827-30);
19 Monroe (1831-32); 18 Monroe (1832-37); 219 Fourth (1837-38); 212 Front Street (1838-43); all in New York, N.Y.; and was
recorded being in New Orleans (1822-23). It is the only compass of we know of from this maker.
THE CARD: The paper card is made from an engraved paper
engraved with an elaborate Fleur des Lis at the North point. The compass rose shows the eight cardinal points and is
further divided to 1/16 points and then to 32. It measures 6 inches in diameter and has a finely made brass center
COMPASS BOWL & GIMBALS: The bowl is made from wood that has
been turned on a lathe and is painted Colonial blue. The glass is held in place by red-lead glazing which is original
and in excellent condition.
There is a lubber’s line that marks the position of the ship’s bow.
Some of the white interior finish is worn thin. The compass operates properly.
There is a flat metal ring with two holders that accept the pinions of the
compass bowl and serve as an athawrtship gimbal. The foreword and aft gimbal is furnished when the gimbals’ ring is secured
to the box.
CONDITION: The compass card, bowl, bezel and gimbals
are in exceptionally condition except there is some minor thinning of the paint on interior of the bowl. There are
some chips of wood missing from where the wood base joins the tub of the bowl. The compass operates accurately. The red lead
glazing is as new.
Diameter of bowl 7″
Diameter of card 6″
Depth of bowl
4 1/4″ Weight 3 Lbs
Diameter of gimbal 8 1/2″