Product images of Traverse board, northern European, around 1800
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Traverse board, northern European, around 1800
Simple traverse boards were used in northern Europe by the 16th century to keep a record of a ship's movements. They were circular and had a series of holes along lines marking the 32 points of the compass. Pegs were attached to the board by string and placed in the correct hole for the course being steered, normally one hole for each half hour of the watch, as measured by a sand-glass. At the end of each watch the records were written down, usually by the ship's master, and the pegs pulled out ready for the next watch. The circular section of this traverse board has eight holes along each compass point and eight lead pegs attached with string to the central wooden peg. The north point is indicated with a fleur-de-lys, as was common on compass cards, and the other seven principal points are marked NO, O, SO, S, SW, W and NM.
- Image reference: E0437
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London