George Washington's first career as a surveyor from 1747-1752 was brief but successful, endowing him with an intimate knowledge of the backcountry and its inhabitants, a small fortune in land, and a reputation for courage and integrity. After establishing himself as a gentleman farmer at Mount Vernon, he continued to employ his skills as a surveyor to lay out fields and verify disputed boundary lines. One of the most important tools of the trade was a surveyor's compass. When mounted on a staff, the compass enabled the user to establish a line from a known reference point to the point of interest and determine its bearing. More





A: Brass, glass, silvering, steel, organic resin B: Wood, brass, iron, leather, paper, organic wadding


Overall (A): 6 1/2 in. x 16 5/16 in. x 6 in. (16.51 cm x 41.43 cm x 15.24 cm)
Overall (B): 52 7/8 in. x 1 5/8 in. x 1 5/8 in. (134.32 cm x 4.14 cm x 4.14 cm)


Gift of Judge Charles Burgess Ball, 1876

Object Number



Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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