Who Invented The Magnetic Compass? As tends to happen with a large part of inventions, attributing the invention of the compass to a single person would not be fair since it is necessary to rely on the work done by different people until arriving at the invention that we know today.
In the case of ancient objects, as is the case with the magnetic compass, there is an added difficulty when trying to determine the specific moment in which something was first used.
This is because there is only a small part of the records and books that were written. Sometimes it may happen that only a casual mention is made in both a book and a painting, in order to shed a little evidence on the article in question.
The Invention of the Magnetic Compass
The Invention of the Compass
Just over 20 kilometers southeast of Naples, specifically in the port of Amalfi, there is a monument to Flavio Gioia, who seems to have invented the compass in 1302. But the truth is that no historian has found any evidence about the existence of such a person.
Nor did it seem to matter too much that an Augustinian monk known as Neckam, wrote a century before a book in which he mentioned the magnetic compass, a device that navigators already used to guide themselves during their voyages on the high seas.
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The truth is that both geographers and navigators already used winds to locate themselves. In fact, in the 5th century BC, the sky was already divided into four parts.
Later Aristotle divided each one into three more parts, creating a set of twelve directions to later give rise to the “wind rose”.
China and the Magnetic Compass
In any case, this instrument for orientation has helped to discover unexplored places and new continents, hence its importance. The compass is used to indicate where the magnetic north of our planet is located and according to many, it was invented in China.
Although it is not known precisely when it is known that it was in the 9th century. The first compasses were made by hand. A magnetized needle was placed in a bowl of water to float in it. Then the vessel was replaced by a rotary axis and the wind rose was added, which is used to calculate the directions.
Magnetic Compass Operation
The Earth has a huge magnetic field that is responsible for surrounding it, but it is not too strong. So the compass uses needles that are very sensitive to movement and have two parts; one in black and white and one in red. The latter always points to the magnetic north that is different in each area of the planet.
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As a curiosity, to say that a compass cannot be used in either the North Pole or the South Pole, since the lines of force of our magnetic field converge there, so its functionality is canceled and it cannot correctly point North.