• John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman


The gyro-compass is essential to the navigation of the modern ship. Though the effects of iron construction on a magnetic compass can be corrected, those of electrical equipment cannot; warships and especially submarines are worst affected by this. The first serious study of the gyroscope was made by the French scientist, Foucault, who used it to demonstrate the rotation of the earth in 1852; it had been known for some twenty-five years before as the ‘rotascope’, a gyroscope with three degrees of freedom which could maintain a fixed direction. Foucault showed that the axis of a gyroscope in which one degree of its freedom was restricted would point to the geographical North Pole, and return to this direction if disturbed; the gyro-compass has been based on this discovery.


Nickel Catalyst Magnetic Compass French Scientist Fluorescent Powder Biographic Memoir 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Hitchins, H. L., and May, W. E., From Lodestone to Gyro Compass.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Admiralty Manual of the Gyro Compass, 1931 and 1953 editions.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ansch?d Co. G.M.B.H. 1905–1955, 1955.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hunsaker, J. C., Biographic Memoir of Elmer Ambrose Sperry, National Academy of Sciences, 1954.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rawlings, A. L., The Gyroscopic Compass.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chaldecott, J. A., ‘Léon Foucault’, Sperryscope, Spring 1952.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Jewkes, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Jewkes
  • David Sawers
  • Richard Stillerman

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations