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    Re: Refilling a compass, was: Compass tilt
    From: Henry Halboth
    Date: 2004 Jun 22, 11:42 -0400

    It was my understanding that, starting from scratch, compass fluid was a
    proper mixture of glycerin and distilled water (my notes give the correct
    proportions if anyone is interested) - lacking that a good grade of Vodka
    was always recommended as the fluid to get rid of a bubble. Many years
    ago there was always a problem with sailors tapping the compass for a
    surreptitious drink.
    
    On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 22:06:18 -0400 Jared Sherman
     writes:
    > Ritchie are in Pembroke, MA now at www.ritchienavigation.com/ and you
    > could
    > give them a call to enquire.If you can send them a digital photo
    > they may be
    > able to identify the compass.
    >
    > The two issues are that the fluid be the right viscosity, and that
    > it not
    > dissolve anything. My impression is that the mysterious "compass
    > fluid" sold
    > at genuine marine prices is what we call kerosene in the States, aka
    > "paraffin oil" in the UK. Much thinner than mineral oil. Of course
    > kerosene
    > comes in many grades, so the "compass fluid" probably is somewhat
    > more
    > refined than what you'd buy at a fuel station.
    >
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Trevor J. Kenchington" 
    > To: 
    > Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 5:25 PM
    > Subject: Refilling a compass, was: Compass tilt
    >
    >
    > Jared wrote, in response to George:
    >
    > > 
    > >
    > > Johnson's confirm this to be simple mineral oil, with fragrence
    > added.
    > > Generic mineral oil from the pharmacy is sold unscented, typically
    > at less
    > > than half the cost. Of course, then the compass might not smell as
    > sweet.
    >
    >
    > I have a rather nice older, brass box-compass, less its box, picked
    > up
    > for next to nothing at a flea market years ago. However, its fluid
    > had
    > been drained off, making its card very unstable and the compass
    > quite
    > useless as anything but decoration. Can anyone suggest how I should
    > determine whether it should be refilled with oil (Johnson's or
    > otherwise) or spirit?
    >
    > I figure that getting a new box made would easy enough if I could
    > refill
    > the compass itself. Maybe I would also need to restore the seals to
    > keep
    > the fluid in. Still, the result should be prettier, better quality
    > and
    > likely cheaper than buying a new compass of the same type.
    >
    >
    > This compass is identified as "Ritchie, Boston". It is marked in
    > quarter
    > points but also in degrees, from 0 to 360. I assume that the latter
    > (rather than markings of 0 to 90 in each of four quadrants) dates
    > the
    > instrument to post-1920 but perhaps American practice turned to the
    > 360-degree notation before the British did (and/or perhaps my memory
    > of
    > when the Royal Navy abandoned quadrantal notation is wrong).
    >
    >
    > Trevor Kenchington
    >
    >
    > --
    > Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus{at}iStar.ca
    > Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902)
    > 889-9250
    > R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902)
    > 889-9251
    > Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902)
    > 889-3555
    >
    >                      Science Serving the Fisheries
    >                       http://home.istar.ca/~gadus
    >
    
    
    

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