Jump to content

An aircraft compass gauge

Recommended Posts

Picked this up at the local flea market last weekend for $8. The floating compass works great! 


What liquid is in these? Just curious;

Is this Korean War era?










Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys! It will be an interesting old shelf display piece!


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.ctsys.com/whiskey-compass-fact-vs-fiction/#:~:text=There are many rumors as,to its lower freezing temperature.


Quote from the article

I can fill the compass with any liquid that has a low freezing temperature: Fiction

There are two types of liquid compasses: alcohol-water based and oil based. If you use the wrong liquid for your model, you can ruin the device. For example, when you put water in the oil based compass, it will rust the magnets and discolor the card in the magnet. There is also a risk of adding too much water to the alcohol-water based compass, causing the device contents to freeze in certain temperatures. It is required to always have a professional, such as an instrument repair shop or an aviation maintenance technician refill the compass.


What’s in a name?

There are many rumors as to how the magnetic compass, found in the cockpit of many aircraft, became known as the ‘whiskey compass.’ Some say it was dubbed the whiskey compass to remind pilots to refill the compass fluids with the alcoholic beverage instead of water due to its lower freezing temperature. Others say since the compass is also known as a ‘wet compass’ and with whiskey being the phonetic pilot-alphabet for ‘w,’ it then became the whiskey (‘w’) compass. Others claim that the US Navy would use whiskey in their compasses, up until sailors started drinking it due to their dry ship rule. Regardless of the origin of the nomenclature for the whiskey compass, CTS is bringing you some myth-busting facts about the compass and proper care techniques for the device.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.