A brass box Ross & Co. pocket compass, with a press fit lid, dating from c.1890-1900. This compass features a brass case with lid, bevelled glass, paper compass card, English bar needle and jewelled pivot. There is an automatic transit lock operated by a tiny lever on the edge of the case. The compass card is signed by Ross of London. An almost identical, unsigned, compass can be seen on p.26 of Compass Chronicles by Kornelia Takacs.
Ross & Co, London: Andrew Ross (1798–1859) founded the company in 1830 at Wigmore Street in London, and from 1840 he began producing camera lenses signed "A. Ross". During his lifetime, the company was one of the foremost British lens manufacturers. After Andrew's death in 1859 his son-in-law, J. H. Dallmeyer, left the firm to establish his own optical company. From 1860 onwards the company was run by Thomas Ross, and became known as Ross & Co. By the 1890s Ross were making Zeiss and Goerz lenses under licence for sale in the UK and the British Empire. Before WW1 Ross and Zeiss worked quite closely together, and at the outbreak of war the British Government put Ross in control of the newly opened Carl Zeiss binocular and optical factory in Mill Hill, London. From around the start of the 20th century Ross & Co. were known as suppliers of optical, scientific and nautical instruments.
The compass is in good condition and good working order and finds North well. There is a little dust under the glass, a few marks on the compass card, and some wear to the original lacquered finish of the case. The automatic transit lock is activated when the lid is replaced and is in perfect working order. The lid fits perfectly.