Vintage WEEMS NAVIGATION SYSTEM HAND COMPASS c. WWII

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  • Item Category: Tools
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: May 15, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House
For your bidding consideration in this auction is this fabulous WEEMS SYSTEM OF NAVIGATION HAND BEARING COMPASS. I am dating this Compass to the 1940's, possibly World War II era, as the Company name of "Weems System of Navigation" was not chnaged until the early 1950's when "Weems & PLathe" merged to form that Company so this is one of Weems's early models. It is in very nice condition and comes with the original wooden box and mounted prism. The face of the compass is @ 3 3/4" across and it is overall @ 9 1/2" long. It has a flashlight like lighting system that illuminates the dial from within that is in working condition and operates off of 2 "C" Batteries (not included). I have a few other compasses and the bearings appear to read accurately. There is a small patch of paint loss on the card at teh East heading. On the Compass Card are the words "WEEMS SYSTEM OF NAVINGATION, INC. ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND". Very nice example of this very famous manufacturers early Compasss. Shipping weight is 4-5 pounds. Some interesting reading about Weems from " website:

In May of 1919, eight years before Lindbergh’s famous solo flight, three small planes set out from Newfoundland headed for London in an attempt to make the first trans-Atlantic flight. Only one of them made it. Twenty-five hundred feet below on board a station tracking ship,

For centuries, man had relied on the heavens, on the circling planets and the constant horizon to guide him in his travels. An accurate clock, a compass, a sextant and charts were the necessary tools for plotting a course, but these required time for computations and a place to spread out and study the charts. The timeworn system of celestial navigation was ill suited to the cockpit, but the airplane was here to stay. Lt. Cdr. Weems, a brilliant, inventive and determined young man knew as he tracked that first flight that navigation was his destiny, and he went on to revolutionize the field with his ideas, writings and inventions of navigational instruments.

The challenge he undertook was complex and involved the invention of new methods and new precision tools and navigational instruments. It required a horizon system independent of the sea horizon that was often not visible from the cockpit of a plane. Weems worked for years to develop a new kind of sextant and to find someone to manufacture it. When an accurate timepiece was needed, Weems invented the Second Setting Watch with its inner rotating dial. He produced the famous Weems Plotter, the more precise and easier-to-use plotting tool, which is still one of our most popular plotters.

All his life, Weems continued to improve navigational instruments and broaden the applications of his methods until they came to include radio astronomy, polar exploration and even space navigation. He published numerous articles and taught navigation at the Naval Academy in the 1920’s. He went on to establish his own school in Annapolis to teach The Weems System of Navigation . Charles Lindbergh studied with Weems before attempting his trans-Atlantic flight. Admiral Byrd, a classmate of Weems at the Naval Academy, came to Weems for instruction before setting out for the North Pole, as did many others.

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