Every Watch Is a Compass

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber)  | December 20, 2018

Don’t get lost:

Every Watch Is a Compass

A few days ago I was standing by an American gentleman, when I expressed a wish to know which point was the north. He at once pulled out his watch, looked at it, and pointed to the north. I asked him whether he had a compass attached to his watch. “All watches,” he replied,  “are compasses.”

Then he explained to me how this was. Point the hour hand to the sun and the south is exactly half-way between the hour and the figure XII on the watch. For instance, suppose that it is 4 o’clock. Point the band indicating four to the sun and II on the watch is exactly south.

Suppose that it is 8 o’clock, point the band indicating eight to the sun and the figure X on the watch is due south. My American friend was quite surprised that I did not know this.

Thinking that very possibly I was ignorant of a thing that everyone else knew, and happening to meet Mr. Stanley, I asked that eminent traveler whether he was aware of this simple mode of discovering the points of the compass. He said that he had never heard of it. I presume, therefore, that the world is in the same state of ignorance.

Amalfi is proud of having been the home of the inventor of the compass. I do not know what town boasts of my American friend as a citizen. – London Truth (Vermont Journal (Windsor, VT), November 1, 1890).

Dr. Livingston, I presume?


Ordnance Survey. (2011, August 22). Forgotten Your Compass? Use the Sun to Navigate. Retrieved from www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2011/08/forgotten-your-compass-use-the-sun-to-navigate/

Wikipedia. (2018, December 2). Flavio Gioja. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavio_Gioja

Wikipedia. (2018, December 20). Henry Morton Stanley. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morton_Stanley

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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