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Why does my compass point south?


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I have a Wittnauer compass that is identical to a USAAF compass. It has the U.S. marked on the front cover, but it does not have the part number on the reverse side. The odd thing is that the arrow points due south. It is not just a little off, but a full 180 degrees, and points perfectly due south. Was this compass manufactured this way? Could something have happened to it to reverse the polarity? Could it have been made this way to confuse the enemy in case it fell into enemy hands? :think:

 

Any observations, ideas or conjecture will be welcome.

Thanks for any coments, Myles

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Myles,

Welcome to the forum!

While I don't have the answer to your question,

I'm sure someone will happen along who does!!

 

Enjoy your time with us.

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My first thought. If your over 65 that could be why your compass points south!!! LOL Welcome to the forum, I'm sure someone will chime in with the real answer shortly. Just wanted to welcome you on board!!

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316th FS 324th FG

Basically, someone put it to close to a magnet and reversed its polarity. Not uncommon but annoying. Happens a lot in our scout troop. I have heard you can fix it, but havent tried myself.

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son of desertrat
Basically, someone put it to close to a magnet and reversed its polarity. Not uncommon but annoying. Happens a lot in our scout troop. I have heard you can fix it, but havent tried myself.

 

 

I didit by accident with one of my compases. Just put the magnet on the north side is what i did to fix it.

Keenan

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I didit by accident with one of my compases. Just put the magnet on the north side is what i did to fix it.

Keenan

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Would the north side have been demagnetized, or would the south end have been magnetized stronger? I would assume that if I took a bar magnet that one end of it would repel the north end, and the other end would attract it. Or am I thinking too much and just need to puta horseshoe magnet on the north side? I think maybe I will leave it alone for now, until I find out some more about it.

Myles

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El Bibliotecario

You can alway offer it for sale as having belonged to the navigator on the "Lady Be Good."

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Shame on you guys!!!!!!! You never served in a mortar or artillery unit. Compass often are read through an optical devioe (mirror or prism or lens) aiming to a direction so you have to invert the letters N and S (not the earh poles) on your compass if you want to read it correctly. Check if your compass was repaired replacing original needle with another from above compasses or if the lid can act as mirror

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summersdogs

Possibly one of those extremely rare CSA compasses. Darn Yankees !

 

 

 

Lynne

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Cause itswarmer there.....sorry

Arturo,

That is an interesting idea, and I imagine that the inside of the lid would work as a mirror if it was polished enough. I have cleaned the compass, but I didn't try to polish it that much. I was afraid of over doing it and removing any nickel or silver plating [whichever it may have]. Also, it is a marching compass in the style of a pocketwatch, so I think an artillery man wouldn't bother going to that trouble.

I purchased the compass several years ago in a flea market. It was in a shoebox with a bunch of junk. It is possible that a kid had it and played with it with a magnet.

I went to a gun, knife, and militaria show in Harrisburg Pa. today, hoping to find another compass like this one to either buy, or at least compare it to, but I had no luck. I found only two compasses in the whole show. One was a WW1 marching compass, {just the outer case, no guts, and very beat up} and the other was a 1999 tritium lensatic compass, unissued with pouch for $55.00.

There was some vintage field gear, but a lot of newer stuff, and reproductions. It cost me a fortune [in gasoline], parking, [i don't ever remember having to pay to park for a gun show] and the entry fee. I spent a lot of time driving, and walking around, and I didn't find anything to spend my money on

Myles

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El Bibliotecario
Shame on you guys!!!!!!! You never served in a mortar or artillery unit. Compass often are read through an optical devioe (mirror or prism or lens) aiming to a direction so you have to invert the letters N and S (not the earh poles) on your compass if you want to read it correctly. Check if your compass was repaired replacing original needle with another from above compasses or if the lid can act as mirror

 

So thats why the US M2 compass has a mirror inside the cover? I always thought it was so one could use it to shave in the field.

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Arturo,

That is an interesting idea, and I imagine that the inside of the lid would work as a mirror if it was polished enough. I have cleaned the compass, but I didn't try to polish it that much. I was afraid of over doing it and removing any nickel or silver plating [whichever it may have]. Also, it is a marching compass in the style of a pocketwatch, so I think an artillery man wouldn't bother going to that trouble.

I purchased the compass several years ago in a flea market. It was in a shoebox with a bunch of junk. It is possible that a kid had it and played with it with a magnet.

I went to a gun, knife, and militaria show in Harrisburg Pa. today, hoping to find another compass like this one to either buy, or at least compare it to, but I had no luck. I found only two compasses in the whole show. One was a WW1 marching compass, {just the outer case, no guts, and very beat up} and the other was a 1999 tritium lensatic compass, unissued with pouch for $55.00.

There was some vintage field gear, but a lot of newer stuff, and reproductions. It cost me a fortune [in gasoline], parking, [i don't ever remember having to pay to park for a gun show] and the entry fee. I spent a lot of time driving, and walking around, and I didn't find anything to spend my money on

Myles

 

Well Miles, my speech was a provocation. Obviously the pocket compass is made just for orienting a map and find a more-or-less direction.

If your compass point exactly to the south, the only decent thinking is that worker inverted the needle during its magnetization process and nobody noticed it. BTW my old 1917 Usanite point North.

I like a lot compasses and I think I have a quite complete collection from 1918-1945. You can use pics as reference for your next purchase.

Here WWI group

post-67-1300693193.jpg

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Here you can see the swiss mirror design compared with the brit primatic one. The mirror compass hasn't a needle (the entire dial rotates) and S and N are inverted to be corerct in the mirror. The prismatic has correct directions but dial inverted to read correct degrees in the prism.

post-67-1300693512.jpg

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Wow!!...what a nice compass collection!...outstanding!......mike :thumbsup:

Arturo,

You really do have a fantastic collection. I would like to collect more compasses, but I have to find them first! For some reason I just don't seem to run accross them very much, and when I do they are cheap knockoffs, or something you would get for a kid.

I have looked around the internet, and I believe the others are correct in that my compass was damaged by being too close to a magnet. Somewhere burried in all my junk I have a bar magnet, If I find it I may try to correct the problem with my Wittnauer.

Myles

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ww2reproductions

I thought you guys would understand the compass is made in Australia :w00t:

You must have heard the saying "Downunder" :thumbsup:

All map reading is reversed.

Leo

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Arturo,

You really do have a fantastic collection. I would like to collect more compasses, but I have to find them first! For some reason I just don't seem to run accross them very much, and when I do they are cheap knockoffs, or something you would get for a kid.

I have looked around the internet, and I believe the others are correct in that my compass was damaged by being too close to a magnet. Somewhere burried in all my junk I have a bar magnet, If I find it I may try to correct the problem with my Wittnauer.

Myles

 

A sad new. I'm getting too old so I'm selling my whole stuff. I'll warn you when my compasses will appear on ebay.

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  • 9 years later...

I have a Wittnauer US pocket compass that points South instead of North.  I would like to have it point North.  Someone said that they used a magnet to reverse the direction of their compass.  Please let me know how to do that.  I can't find a repairman to deal with a pocket compass. Thanks.

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As a side note to the discussion, the manufacturers (Wittnauer) part number on on the back is irrelevant to being USAAF procured. Both types with and without can be found in NOS boxes.

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