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Troughton & Simms Victorian Pocket Compass c.1880

Troughton & Simms Victorian Pocket Compass c.1880

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A rare and unusually large (60mm diameter) antique Victorian pocket compass, by the well known English maker, Troughton & Simms of London. This is a beautifully made, very high quality compass, with a hand painted compass card, English bar needle, jewelled pivot, and fitted twin-clasp velvet lined leather case. It is in good, original, condition. Made during the late Victorian era, probably around 1880-1890. The compass card is clearly marked ‘Troughton & Simms, London’.

***Please note: the compass is not in full working order, as the transit lock release is not functioning, and the compass needle is locked in position and unable to move***

Troughton & Simms: were a British instrument making firm, formed when Edward Troughton (1756-1835) took on William Simms as a partner in 1826. It became a limited company in 1915 and in 1922 it merged with T. Cooke & Sons to form Cooke, Troughton & Simms. The firm produced a wide variety of scientific and astronomical instruments, such as compasses, transit circles, sextants, telescopes, and other instruments for observatories around the world. Previously, Troughton had been a sole proprietor, and before that he was in partnership with his brother John. When John died Edward took on Simms in 1826. Edward Troughton died in 1835. In 1876 Troughton & Simms supplied the Imperial Standards Of Length gauges mounted at Trafalgar Square in London.


In very good condition, but NOT in full working order. The button at the bow which should operate the transit lock has become detached and no longer connects to the transit lock lever which runs beneath the compass card. The result of this is that the needle is locked in position and does not move. This could be rectified if the compass was dismantled, but that would probably be quite difficult to achieve, as this type of compass was not designed to be easily dismantled. There is a mark to the case near the bow where it looks as though someone has tried to open it in the past. The leather case is in very good condition, with both clasps secure. Despite the transit lock issue, this rare compass would make an excellent display item.


Compass: 60mm diameter (85mm inc. bow & loop)

Leather Case: 70mm diameter