king george compass
King George compass
Lewis-and-Clark compass
Lewis and Clark compass
executive compass
executive compass
compass with sundial
compass with sundial
lifeboat compass
lifeboat compass

Collectible Compasses Point to Enduring Style

North, south, east or west—you can get there from here with a compass. This simple navigational device has been a part of humankind's exploration of the world for nearly a thousand years. Prior to this development, ancient mariners used landmarks, astronomical knowledge and more than a little luck to reach their destination. Around the 12th century, a Chinese book makes the first known reference to the use of a compass, indicating that directional navigation using these useful tools may have occurred years or decades prior.

The first compasses were made of a naturally magnetized rock called lodestone. Later, iron needles were magnetized or "stroked" with a lodestone. The magnetized needle was then balanced onto a pivot point, which allowed it to swing freely, pointing to the naturally magnetic north or south.

The compasses borne of this basic design was the rule for hundreds of years, from the medieval age through the Victorian era and into the early 20th century. Many would agree that advanced navigational devices, although much more accurate and useful, lack the elegance and charm of our richly designed and finely tuned gauges, each authentic reproduction compass is constructed to the style of the era they represent.

Our collectible compasses include the King George compass version, which was developed in the 18th century at the request of King George IV of England for his science collection. The artfully crafted gauge is mounted on gimbal rings, which are in turn mounted on a vertical stand, to aid in keeping it horizontal and accurate on rocking ships. The charming combination sundial-compass is sure to start conversations when you show it off. By aligning the gnomon (the vertical part of the sundial) with the north-pointing needle, the time of day is revealed as it would have been hundreds of years ago.

The authentic reproduction of Lewis and Clark compass is a near perfect replica, constructed in the same fashion as the ones these intrepid explorers used. With their trusted canine companion, Seaman, Lewis and Clark redefined the borders of the United States. This wonderful item is an enduring tribute to those who risked all in the search for knowledge.

The faithfully and accurately reproduced WWII compass is an authentic replica of the standard issue item by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. Built for durability, this gauge speaks to those with an interest in all things military.


Through centuries of technological innovation, we've charted the whole world. But early navigators and explorers setting out didn't necessarily know where they were headed. Guided only by simple compass, the stars of the night sky, early octants and astrolabes. Possibly terrifying, but also exiting... Discover early navigation, enjoy an unbelievable collection of compasses from various eras. The compass opened the world to exploration and discovery. Invented in China thousands of years ago, it was primarily used by feng-shui priests, hired to advise on how and where to build.

Today the compass still is a basic tool, a magnetized needle rotating on a vertical pin, pointing at the Earth's magnetic North. 16th century sailors accustomed to following coastlines, could suddenly cross oceans. Sailors now devised a compass course, while still using their age-old knowledge of steering by fixed stars, ocean currents and prevailing winds to establish position.

Compass with Sundial - Not that long ago people actually lived by sundial time. Every village and town functioned on local time, depending on local latitude. The arrival of trains and mail coach traffic created a need for coordinated time. Our travel sundial needs a compass to find north. Raising the triangular gnomon upright while pointing the compass needle North will show the time. The correct time will show only if the local latitude corresponds to angle of gnomon.

Executive compass is seemingly destined for desk bound travelers given the luxurious wood box. Yet such compasses were originally essential instruments used on small fishing dories and lifeboats. Our daily language has borrowed a multitude of nautical expressions, one of which is: "set course for". That's what a compass does. Executive compass is truly a wonderful and thoughtful gift for the man who has everything. Wood box finished in distressed French finish, brass compass with a precision dry compass card showing which course to sail.

Lewis-and-Clark compass in lightly distress rosewood box. A needle pointing north... Antique science captured in admiralty brass... Allowing sailors to cross vast oceans, explorers to discover continents. Set sail for the fabled Spice Islands, legendary Cathay... rumored South Lands. Lewis-and-Clark compass is an instrument of exploration that changed the world of Renaissance, forever... This small wooden compass is a replica of that used by Lewis and Clark in their journey across the uncharted territories

Lifeboat compass - The solid bronze gimbaled compass sits inside an expertly hand distressed, French finished box. The North Atlantic is an unforgiving place. Freak storms, fog banks, and severe weather make navigation a survival issue. Our fully gimbaled boxed compass is a faithful replica of a dory compass. Stacks of dories were sailed to the Great Banks and single fishermen set out with fishing lines and victuals for a day. Cod fishers used a similar compass to find their way back to the mother ship, a sailing schooner.

Compass with magnifier - "When you need it most"... The basic motto for what to take when exploring. Traversing vast continents and oceans on voyages of discovery, seemingly simple instruments like this compass-magnifier were used to navigate. The expedition scientist using magnifiers to study new species of plants, insects, animals. Twin-function compass and magnifying glass original from a collection of early scientific instruments. This pocket magnifying glass with compass is hand-made of brass

King George compass - Compass origin was from ancient China. Considered an instrument of magic by many, it was used primarily for Feng Shui purposes. Then compass was taken to the West it introduced open-sea navigation. Sailing vessels no longer needed to hug the coast. This collector’s compass was originally created for the scientific instrument collection of King George IV. Elegant design of this compass features gimbal-rings, which serve to keep the compass bowl horizontal, regardless of how much the vessel is heeling over.

Trade-Winds compass - This compass is a replica small Georgian era combination sundial and compass with brass lid to protect the convex glass cover. The compass opened the world to exploration and discovery. Invented in China thousands of years ago, it was primarily used by feng-shui priests, hired to advise on how and where to build. Today the compass still is a basic tool, a magnetized needle rotating on a vertical pin, pointing at the Earth’s magnetic North. 16th century sailors accustomed to following coastlines, could suddenly cross oceans.

Lodestone compass - 18th century compass with brass lid protects the glass cover. This is after all an early travelers' compass. Lodestones were used by seafarers to keep magnets in good shape. Can you think of a better gift for a world traveler or antique lover?

compasses for gifts

moving in a positive direction and collectible compasses
These tasteful and practical navigational pieces make great gifts as well. Give an artfully replicated Victorian Trails compass to your child when it’s time to go to college or when moving to a new place—so he or she can always find the way home. A friend or loved one who is getting a promotion would appreciate the significance of the Executive compass. Anyone who is celebrating a move in a positive direction would be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful gift. Weddings.... read more about compasses and gifts >>