Dry Card Box Compass
Mariner's dry card compass, from the schooner Gloucester of Stockton Springs, Capt. George A. Erskine, 1878. This compass may have been made in 1876, the year of the centennial, considering the patriotic artistry on the North point. Like most compasses prior to the 20th century it is laid out in points of 11 1/4 degrees. These 32 points are the result of continually dividing a circle of 360 degrees by 4. Learning the names of the points, called boxing the compass, was an essential skill for a sailor.
The Boston maker, Samuel Thaxter & Son, was in business under that name from 1822 to 1884.