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Cardan Compass


The compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that uses the concepts of magnetism to shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions. They usually include a diagram known as a "compass rose" that shows the directions north, south, east, and west on the compass face as abbreviated initials.

The Cardan suspension system was coined in the 16th-century by Italian physician and astronomer Girolamo Cardano. He perfected a gimbal suspension system that made maritime navigation and travels a breeze. It was a pivotal support system, which allows rotation of an object about a single axis. Since the pitch and angle of a ship during travel constantly shifted due to waves, conventional compasses could not be used during bouts of extreme weather. The Cardan suspension system ensured that the compass remains permanently horizontal, regardless of the position of the ship.

The Cardan Compass is elegantly decorated with Moorish-inspired damask and features Gothic Renaissance decorations. It is housed in an elaborate wooden box decorated with nautical illustrations, which include a depiction of the Voyages of Columbus from the "Art of Sailing" by Pedro de Medina.

It is fashioned out of a pewter metal alloy with a bronze finish, is very resistant to changes in humidity and temperature, and is handmade in Spain.

Size: The Cardan Compass spans approximately 8.5 x 9 x 12 cm (3.35 x 3.54 x 4.72 inches).