Chinese mariner's compas, mid 19th century.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

Chinese mariner's compas, mid 19th century.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


The first Chinese record of a mariner's compas dates from the 12th century, some 100 years before its introduction in the Mediterranean. Although a knowledge of magnetism in China is supposed to date back to early times, the compas was never highly developed in China, and simple compases like this one were still in use aboard junks well into the 20th century.

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