HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
Back to Map


Lewis and Clark Compass

First compass to cross the continent
Lieutenant William Clark carried this compass across North America during the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806--the first overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back. The paper dial of the compass is marked "T. Whitney Philada.," identifying the maker, and is set in a brass-bound mahogany box. Supported by President Thomas Jefferson, who nearly doubled the size of the United States with the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the expedition of some 40 men was led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The expedition recorded the topography of the new territory and collected wildlife specimens.

William Clark, born August 1, 1770, Caroline County, VA; died September 1, 1838, St. Louis, MO
Meriwether Lewis, born August 18, 1774, near Charlottesville, VA; died October 11, 1809, near Nashville, TN
Thomas Whitney (d. 1823), an immigrant from England, settled in Philadelphia in 1798.
Web display only

Learn more!
· Lewis and Clark Expedition
· Thomas Jefferson, Third President, 1801-1809

What do you think?
Would you like to see more objects like this on the site? Tell others by casting your vote.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Fewer More

Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy