By Chris_P

"South Pointing Fish"

The first compasses were invented in the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) and known as "South Pointing Fish".

They were made of lodestone, a naturally magnetized mineral, and were not introduced to Western Europe until the late 12th Century.

Before the introduction of the compass, geographical position and direction at sea were primarily determined by the sighting of landmarks, supplemented with the observation of the position of celestial bodies. Other techniques included sampling mud from the seafloor (China), analysing the flight path of birds, and observing wind, sea debris, and sea state (Polynesia and elsewhere). 

Today’s inventions blip for #monoMonday is of a little Coleman pocket compass that I used to use to find my way when out walking. (It’s actually relatively sophisticated, with the little ‘pointing fish’ suspended in liquid - something I hadn’t noticed until now!) 

Today, of course, compasses have been at least partly superceeded as a navigational aid by mobile phones and other GPS systems using satellites, but the key role they had in the development of the modern world- especially in the field of land and sea exploration - should not be forgotten!
(Information on history of compass from Wikipedia)

Sign in or get an account to comment.