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    Re: Refilling a compass, was: Compass tilt
    From: Courtney Thomas
    Date: 2004 Jun 23, 11:32 -0500

    I'd appreciate your information regarding the proper mixture for a
    compass fluid.
    Thank you,
    Courtney Thomas
    Henry C. Halboth wrote:
    > 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
    >>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
    >>comes in many grades, so the "compass fluid" probably is somewhat
    >>refined than what you'd buy at a fuel station.
    >>----- Original Message -----
    >>From: "Trevor J. Kenchington" 
    >>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
    >>>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
    >>I have a rather nice older, brass box-compass, less its box, picked
    >>for next to nothing at a flea market years ago. However, its fluid
    >>been drained off, making its card very unstable and the compass
    >>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
    >>the compass itself. Maybe I would also need to restore the seals to
    >>the fluid in. Still, the result should be prettier, better quality
    >>likely cheaper than buying a new compass of the same type.
    >>This compass is identified as "Ritchie, Boston". It is marked in
    >>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
    >>instrument to post-1920 but perhaps American practice turned to the
    >>360-degree notation before the British did (and/or perhaps my memory
    >>when the Royal Navy abandoned quadrantal notation is wrong).
    >>Trevor Kenchington
    >>Trevor J. Kenchington PhD                         Gadus@iStar.ca
    >>Gadus Associates,                                 Office(902)
    >>R.R.#1, Musquodoboit Harbour,                     Fax   (902)
    >>Nova Scotia  B0J 2L0, CANADA                      Home  (902)
    >>                     Science Serving the Fisheries
    >>                      http://home.istar.ca/~gadus
    s/v Mutiny
    Rhodes Bounty II
    lying Oriental, NC

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