A compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the earth’s magnetic poles. It consists of a magnetized pointer (usually marked on the north end) free to align itself with earth’s magnetic field. The compass greatly improved the safety and efficiency of travel, especially ocean travel.
What Was the Magnetic Compass Used For?
A magnetic compass is a device that uses magnetism to determine which direction is north. The first compasses were invented in China over 2,000 years ago.
Early compasses were made from lodestone, a naturally magnetized mineral. The lodestone was hung from a cord and allowed to swing until it came to rest, aligning itself with the Earth’s magnetic field.
The Chinese used compasses for navigation and geomancy, and by the 12th century, compasses were used in Europe as well. The magnetic compass is one of the oldest and most important tools in human history.
For millennia, it was the only way to determine direction and find your way around. The compass has been used for navigation since ancient times, and it is still an essential tool for sailors and hikers today.
The magnetic compass is based on the fact that the Earth is a giant magnet. The North Pole of the Earth is a magnetic north pole, and the South Pole is a magnetic south pole.
If you were to take a bar magnet and suspend it so that it could rotate freely, it would eventually line up with the Earth’s magnetic field and point north. The first compasses were made from lodestone, a naturally magnetized