Compasses – Schmalcalder Prismatic Compass by Ross Ltd. circa 1897-1907

German-born Charles Augustus Schmalcalder, a “mathematical and philosophical instrument maker” living in Middlesex in England, patented the first prismatic sighting compass in 1812.

schmalcalder 1812 patent drawings
Drawings from Schmalcalder’s 1812 patent.

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Waltzing Matilda with a swag, Part 7 – Navigation and Direction-finding

Swagmen often didn’t need to navigate “properly” since they followed tracks and roads the bulk of the time. In unfamiliar areas they relied upon directions from other swaggies and from station workers and other locals they might run into and stop to yarn with along the way. In some areas the roads were little more than kangaroo or cattle pads so the swaggie usually had a working knowledge of direction-finding via the sun and the stars as well as other natural cues.

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