The Great Compass

An Ancient Invention in a Modern World


The compass or 指南针(Zhǐnánzhēn)

The first magnetic compass was invinted in Han Dynasty China. The early device was basically a spoon on a metal plate that was directed by magnitism. The compass has become a necessity for navigstion the world over even today.


As early as 206 BC in Han dynasty china throught its use during the Song dynasty in the early 1000s. The earliest compasses were no more than just needles floating in water, while later iterations developed use of dry compasses.


The compass is a device used to tell direction. It works by utilizing the earths magnetic fields and points twoards the poles, hence north, south, east, and west. Compasses are excellent tools for navigation that have been used to guide people for centuries. Early compasses relied on only a magnetic loadestone and the Earth itself.


In more recent times, different types of compasses have been used in boats, planes, and even cars. Compasses befroe navigational gps were and still are a master of direction. Most modern compasses use the aid of water or ball berrings to help guide the magnetic rods. Even most smart phines today have built in compasses and electromagneic dials. (seen below)
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Darnell Moorman & Gabriel Mesa