George Adams of Fleet Street, Globe Compass c.1740
A large, beautiful and very rare Georgian mahogany cased compass, made by George Adams of Fleet Street, dating from c.1740-1772. Six inches in diameter, this very fine compass would originally have been fixed to the stand of a Terrestrial Globe made by George Adams. The underside of the compass case still retains the original wooden feet which attached it to the legs of the globe stand. With a delicate, finely balanced needle, intricate compass card design featuring the face of the sun, and a mahogany case. In full working order and finding north very well.
George Adams (c. 1709–1772) was an English scientific instrument maker and writer. He was the eldest surviving son of Morris Adams, a cook, and his wife Mary, and was baptised in 1709. Working first as an apprentice to instrument makers, James Parker and then Thomas Heath, he founded his own instrument making business in 1734 in Fleet Street, London. His reputation was such that he rose to become 'mathematical instrument maker to the King', George III. As well as producing scientific instruments that were recognised as some of the finest of their time, Adams was also a prolific author of scientific works, including: A Treatise Describing the Construction and Explaining the Use of New Celestial and Terrestrial Globes (London: 1766), and Micrographia Illustrata, or the knowledge of the microscope explained (1746). On his death in 1772, the business was taken over by his son, George Adams the younger (1750-1795).
George Adams the younger (1750–1795) succeeded his father as mathematical instrument maker to George III and also became optician to the Prince of Wales. The quality of his instruments was said to be at least as good as those of his father, and he also wrote essays and treatises on barometers, thermometers and other instruments. When he died he was succeeded in business and his Royal appointments by his brother, Dudley Adams. The company continued trading until 1817, and Dudley Adams may have still been producing instruments in the 1820s.
In excellent condition and full working order. The compass card, needle, glass and wooden case are all in excellent condition, with just minor signs of age and wear. Very unusually, the compass still retains the original wooden feet that would have attached it to the base of the globe.