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    Re: Refilling a compass, was: Compass tilt
    From: Jared Sherman
    Date: 2004 Jun 20, 22:06 -0400

    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@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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