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Green cased, floating-dial "Gydeway" compass


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Hello everybody,

 

just obtained a Taylor "Gydeway" compass, civilian item from the '40s wich was often carried on the person by naval aviators in very late 1944 (or, early 1945?). I tied it to the AN-6519 Vest of my "Corsair" pilot, late war era.

No doubt the needleless variant is correct, as opposed to the needled one. Rather, not 100% sure if the green cased variant was the one we can see in b/w pics from the period, the dark red one is more likely the correct variant? I must say I've noticed so far some red-colored specimens pictured in color photos from today's collections, a couple even placed on full-form mannequins so I assume it COULD maybe the most issued one.

 

This green-cased Gydeway was so cheap that seemed to me almost a crime not to get it, even if someday any proof will surface about it being a uncorrect variant - but I think it isn't so. Could anyone tell me about any sound documentation comproving my doubt?

 

Thanks for watching - Franco.

 

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Franco, everything that is known about the issuance of the Gydeway has been posted on PMYP web page. I would agree with Paul's assessment that these green compasses were specifically marketed for the boy scouts more specifically the girl scouts. I am not aware of any era naval documentation that specifically calls out the Gydeway in any form but we see plenty of photographic evidence. There was a demand for a Stand By Compass and is in my opinion these Gydeways were Local Purchases on unit levels. The Gydeway was however in production for some time into the 1950's so I think the best documentation to locate would be when these green cased versions were first marketed for the Girl Scouts. I would think the consensus is on the fence with these green cased Gydeways.

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Thanks Dustin,

 

yes should in future anything surface (from any direction - I too, will keep an open eye) wich shows this specimen as uncorrect it won't be a problem removing the green Gydeway. Just for now a small item wich hangs from the pilot, besides the others.

Having done a work of assembling it as most perfect as possible, this compass will go away if out of the correct time.

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At best of my research, apparently the following could (or, should) be the closest that Girl Scouts' compasses come to my specimen - but, still much different.

Reportedly issued to the G.S. from 1937 to 1941, and again from 1945 to 1960's. Nothing wich could match Gydeway's precise features.

 

Taylor-made, but: always the needle, always the GS logo, a true octagonal shape, no Gydeway, no hinged cover. The same thing for the one officially issued to Boy Scouts - these latter were in red bakelite.

My green cased Gydeway seems to be the exact copy of the red-cased one, perhaps a mere difference in color but nothing else.

 

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Guys,

It occurs to me that the vast majority of readers looking at this thread have no idea what the "PMYP website" is and probably are unfamiliar with this rather obscure item of "unofficial" Navy Aviation gear. Forgive the shameless plug, but more information can be found here http://pilotsmanyourplanes.com/Page_65.html for those who are interested. Included are eleven vintage photos of the compass being worn and a recent addition to further confuse the issue, a floating dial example with a case molded in a dark "cordovan" color. Without any solid information to back it up, it was speculation on my part that the green-cased compasses may have been a Girl Scout item due to the distinctive color of the case, which appears to be a perfect match to the scout items you illustrate in your photo Franco. That being said, the green ones don't turn up too often, so a nice catch on your part. As for finding official documentation to confirm which color was used (maybe all three?), my money is on Dustin, who's research of survival-related gear is second-to-none. In the mean time, I'm still on the lookout for a color still, or film footage, of the Gydeway.

Best regards, Paul

 

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Thanks so much Paul,

 

one precise thing (even if very small indeed) does exist identical between my green Gydeway and this Girl Scouts compass, it's the "Taylor U.S.A." brand. On my Gydeway it is placed on the fixed ring surrounding the moving dial, on the G.S. specimen is on the (fixed) dial, half-hidden by the ring. Same styling and, maybe, same size?

Also, should be the only detail wich differs my Green specimen from the Red and Black ones you included in your great article about the Gydeway compass in Navy service - those do have the letters "U.S.A." on the ring, instead of "Taylor U.S.A."

 

Spent a fair amount of searching about Taylor compasses, Gydeway and not, but it's hard indeed to go through anything wich does detail so much secondary things - i.e. when one styling of brand did replace the other? For example, the GS compass as shown in my photo was marketed in USA from 1937 to late 1941, then re-started again in early 1945 to early '60s.

No way of telling whether "Taylor U.S.A." was correct in pre-war period, or was in post-war? And if so, could this somehow mean anything in relation to my green Gydeway as for the identical marking's style?

Knowing now about these things I'll keep still an open eye for possible more findings, wich maybe will turn out to be useful.

 

Thanks again - Franco.

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Yes, no doubt about.

This Gydeway really could have been the very last item for enriching a bit more the Corsair guy, wich otherwise was virtually complete having added the QAS harness some 2-3 months ago. Not even considered about obtaining seperately those M-592's contents, it's OK empty and shows up great under the QAS.

 

Such small items (a Gydeway here, an extension earphones cable for the P-38 pilot last year, or a kneeboard for the Russian MiG-25 pilot last springtime) are indeed the only additions I still can do for their ultimate, best possible look.

Collection is over, even four-five pilots are not longer here. I keep the best of them and a few seperate items, plus the various Blood Chits. But it's more than OK this way.

 

To next one, Franco - Ciao.

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Paul is the one who sparked the investigation into this compass and has done the most research into it thus far and compiled for education on his fine web page. The Gydeway has been rattling in my head the last 24 hours. The million dollar question is ...What is Era correct?

Two points came clear to me in regards to the green cased model. First all other like colored articles have been dated to the 1960's like in post #6. Second this color green reminds me of my Lionel train collecting days and I use to have the complete line of Plasticville buildings and accessories. Many of the items from the Plasticville line used this color green from the mid-1950's into the 1960's. This color seems to be a popular color in manufactured goods loosely from 1955-1965 respectively. It has been my observation that materials, styles, colors etc. can be used as a viable way to date things but not always definitive. Based off those two points I would tentatively date this green Gydeway to 1960.

pictured is a 1958 add featuring the Gydeway saying the color of the plastic case is maroon. Namely just illustrating the Gydeway remained in manufacture for some time post WWII era. I do understand it is not the floating dial type which I assume was available just the same in 1958.

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Thanks Dustin for these interesting infos.

Just was noticing two details - do not know if, and how much, they can be determinig ones: Ring for the lanyard is totally different from the one we see applied to the Green, Red and Black Gideways.

And, it seems like even the small "Taylor", or "Taylor USA" is missing from the compass (it is on the fixed ring of mine, and on the fixed dial of GS compass as well). It looks like the different lanyard ring would speak for a totally different era from "our" Gideways, but could be pretty well just a my idea.

At this point, really a color pic from the '40s would be the ultimate need. As written before, my fighter pilot of late wartime is (IMO) 100% a perfect and striking guy, and the least problem would be the removal of green-cased Gydeway if comproved wrong - a dozen dollars purchasing.

 

Thanks guys - Franco.

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Franco, you are comparing apples and oranges. The compass in the add is a needle type so you cannot use the fixed ring comparison to the floating dial model. On all three variations thus far there is a marking on the fixed ring of the floating dial were as the needle type are void. The lanyard ring is irrelevant, note rings in post 6 which are triangular more towards the style we are wanting to see. Also a third point helping to support my opinion the green case being post war is the box pictured bottom of post 6 note the verbiage Made in America. This is consistent with post WWII industrial age of manufactured goods, Japan was importing products as with Germany and other overseas countries re-building after the war. Made in USA and Made in America are related to post WWII Trade Commission stipulations.

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The needle type and floating dial type coexist through the life span of the Gydeway. In post 6 note the manila box, in the WWII era the boxes were yellow and decorative which as been illustrated conclusively at pilotsmanyourplanes.com. note the two maroon and dark cased compasses have just USA on fixed ring, the green is something totally different with TAYLOR USA which tells me it is of a completely different time line. I did find this old auction for a green case Gydeway granted a needle type but note the all similar style manila box as seen in post 6, unfortunately the auction did not show the top of box. I'm sorry but I am convinced this green Gydeway is a 1960's compass consistent with all the other ugly puke/baby poop colors from the era.

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Thanks Dustin,

 

yes all those differences I had already noticed (and carefully described, too). Also I had pointed out the "Taylor USA" vs. "USA" comparison as well - simply, I was unsure as for what of the two markings were before (or after) the other?

The red Gydeway and the "cordovan" one are super-detailed in Paul's article, but they're pics of today; my thinking was, no b/w period photo does show up the dial with such a definition, so it COULD maybe occur that the green one was the correct one (or, not uncorrect).

 

But no problem at all with this. Should it be requested, at this point removal of compass is a matter of a scissors' cut.

 

To next one - thanks, franco.

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Found out this webpage wich, if not an error by writer of the caption, should bring the green-cased Gydeway contained in this box back nothing less than 1939 thanks to the accompanying period-paper..

but, here I stop and let other folks to write their impressions.

 

http://artifactseattle.blogspot.it/2011/04/vintage-taylor-gydeway-bakelite-compass.html

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