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Lord Kelvin, the inventor of the modern compass

Thomson, William, Lord Kelvin. Reports Regarding Sir William Thomson’s Compass and Sounding Machine

Glasgow: University Press [for Thomson], 1877

19 leaves, printed rectos only, stapled as issued. Some soiling. Very good.

An important early offering brochure regarding the sale of the first modern compass and early navigational aids. This is a price list and an extensive collection of reports and testimonial letters from ship captains concerning Thomson’s sounding apparatus (the first to use wire instead of hemp) and compass.

“The modern compass dates from 1876, when Sir William Thomson patented his dry-card compass” (Singer, History of Technology V). Thomson was deeply interested in the application of science to industry, and he apparently prepared this rare, ephemeral publication to promote his products, which helped to make him a wealthy man.

This brochure includes a detailed price list for Thomson’s navigational instruments.