The surveyor's compass was the preferred instrument for surveying land in the heavily forested terrain of North America. When mounted on a staff, it enabled the user to establish a line from a known reference point to the point of interest and determine its bearing. The engraved inscription on this compass, "G. Chandlee. W. / L. A. Washington" indicates that the prolific clock and instrument maker Goldsmith Chandlee of Winchester, Virginia created it for Lawrence Augustine Washington (1775-1824), a nephew of George Washington. Such instruments enabled gentlemen to lay out their own fields and verify the boundaries of their land. More


c. 1795




A: Brass, glass, silvering, steel, organic resin B: Oak, brass, iron alloy C: Wood, brass, paper


Overall (A): 8 1/4 in. x 6 5/16 in. x 14 3/4 in. (20.96 cm x 16.03 cm x 37.47 cm)
Other (A: face): 9/16 in. x 6 1/4 in. x 6 1/4 in. (1.42 cm x 15.88 cm x 15.88 cm)
Overall (Compass cover): 3/16 in. x 6 1/4 in. x 6 1/4 in. (0.46 cm x 15.88 cm x 15.88 cm)
Overall (B): 53 1/2 in. x 1 3/4 in. (135.89 cm x 4.45 cm)
Other (B: Brass cap on staff): 2 3/4 in. (6.99 cm)


Purchase, 1927


A: Engraved around southern edge of face: "G. Chandlee. W. / L. A. Washington".

Engraved at the end of the southern arm and on the base of the southern sight: "1".

Engraved on the southern arm is a two column, ten row table headed "L/ T." In the L column, the numbers run in gradations of 2.5 from 2.5 to 22.5. In the "T" column, the numbers run from 1-9.

Engraved at the end of the northern arm and on the base of the northern sight: "3".

Object Number



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