The Compass

The compass is a vital invention of man that led to many others.

The Importance of Compasses

Without the compass, mankind would never have discovered many of the lands we live in now, resulting in overcrowded cities and a dramatic rise in the cost of land.


The first compasses appeared in China during the Han Dynasty. They were made of a Lodestone, a naturally magnetic iron, shaped like a spoon and placed atop a platform. The part of it that would look the handle would face south. These early compasses, though, had a small acknowledgement of how they worked and were thought to be the way gods sent instructions, like which way a nation should push to take territory or what way they should build their towns towards. After more investigation, it was used for navigation by the Shong Dynasty and began to take shape like the compass used today. Then the compasses were iron needles that were hit with a lodestone, magnifying it and then placed in the compass and screwed there.
With the introduction of the compass, sailors could navigate in cloudy or foggy weather far from land, thus contributing to the Renaissance, or the Age of Discovery.