$500 USD (400 GBP)

A good plane table compass with tripod mount by John Baddeley c.1785


16 x 16 x 3.5 cm.




John Baddeley

Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Categories: Navigational instruments, Calculating, Surveying Instruments & Mining, Engineering antiques, Office Antiques, Tools


A good plane table surveying compass by John Baddeley of unusual features and undocumented signature c.1785.

Measuring 6 3/8 inches (16 cm.) square and constructed of mahogany wood with brass accents/mounts with fully engine divided 360 degree raised inner ring in one degree increments, this magnetic compass has seen signs of use but not abuse. The silvering of the dial has faded/oxidised/rubbed? on the outer edges of the face (divided into four cardinal points only). The central rose? pivot point is crudely engraved and the compass needle is only flourished with a fleur de lys terminal end. The needle accurately points North (no sub scale for deviation).

The substantial brass mount sits firmly on a central ferrule for mounting to a single pole (or small tripod) for field work but can be used on a table top as it is 25 mm. in diameter. Two brackets extend from the center (all built in one piece) and are screwed through the 20 mm. base in four locations. Total depth of the compass (including the brackets)  is 35 mm. making this a heavy instrument.   

The glass is original and held in place with a wide brass ring. Locking pin for the needle engages by hand or when the lid is closed. Substantial square hinges and C-shaped hooks with nails to the front of the case. Old repair to lid at hinge point (see photo). A handsome instrument.

Now for the really unusual part: the signature. Signed simply “Baddely, Pattingham”, it does not show a first name or initial and Pattingham is 7 miles from his first recorded address of Wolverhampton. So, did he make the trek every day to the workshop and use his home address? Later instruments are signed “J. Baddeley, Wolverhampton”. I would surmise that this is one of the first instruments in his short career. Some instruments have also been found using his home base of Albrighton ( also 7 miles from Wolverhampton) but never Pattingham.  For the historians among you, this is an enigma. N.B. name is spelled without the second “e” in Baddeley.

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CA ScientificaOpticae

Scientifica Opticae

Mark Hacking (Scientifica Opticae Inc.) has been an avid collector/dealer for over 30 years. A former Science teacher, he has an innate love for anything natural or mechanical. Specializing in optical (microscopes, telescopes), surveying, medical, weighing and drawing instruments, he is an active participant of the Scientific Instrument Fair in London. Living in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and two children; Mark looks forward to meeting as many fellow collectors as possible, and has a worldwide following on eBay (Sciopti).

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