Wonderful John Temple Small Surveyors Compass – Circa 1850

Wonderful John Temple Small Surveyors Compass – Circa 1850

$1100 (Postpaid)



Country of manufacture

North America

Categories: Surveying Instruments & Mining, Engineering antiques, Other Technology Antiques


This is really sweet small vernier compass made by John Temple.  Three things make this compass neat in my book:


1.  It’s a small size (12 inch main with a 4 inch needle) vernier compass.  Most of the vernier compasses were larger (i.e., 14 or 15 inch mains with 5 inch needles) or much smaller pocket compass jobs (like the later Gurley compasses).   


2.  This Temple has some copper parts, like the thumbscrews for sure and maybe even the level vial cases.  Very neat.


3.  Made by John Temple.   Temple is one of my favorite small makers.  Temple didn’t make many instruments, perhaps 100+, but he was well-known for his top quality instruments.  He also built one of the best dividing engines.  I know of a circa 1860 Temple transit that measures to 15 seconds, for example (the transit was likely used to mark the border between CA and Nevada).  Berger ended up using his dividing machine well into the 20th century.


Please see my John H Temple Makers Webpage for more info about this very special maker.

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US The Compleat Surveyor

The Compleat Surveyor specializes in rare instruments and books related to land surveying. This initially was a family business - my father (F. D. Uzes) was a noted surveyor, collector and author (Illustrated Price Guide To Antique Surveying Instruments and Books - published in 1980). Having spent a lifetime surrounded by old instruments and books, I now run the business myself. I use my website (www.CompleatSurveyor.com) to both sell instruments and provide historical information related to land surveying.

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