With the development of navigation perfected the science of navigation - Cybernetics * (the word "Cybernetics" in Greek means "steersman" or "steering"). This science demanded the appearance of special instruments, which would help travelers find the right path. One of them was a compass is a device that indicates the direction of the geographic or magnetic Meridian. Modern compasses are magnetic, mechanical, radio and others.
The word "compass", apparently, comes from the old English word compass, meaning in the XIII-XIV centuries "circle".
The first mention of the invention of the compass in Europe date back to the XII century. This device was simply a magnetized iron arrow attached to the tube, floating in a vessel of water. Then decided to strengthen the arrow on an axis fixed to the bottom of the bowl.
However, China's compass was known much earlier. It was called "Chi-na". Chinese Chronicles ascribe its invention of the semi-mythical Chinese Emperor) Huang di, who reigned over 2600 years BC.
In Chinese Chronicles is such a legend. The Emperor Huang di fought with one of the Mongol Khan. After the defeat of the Mongols began to retreat into the wilderness, and Chinese troops long pursued them. However, the Mongol horsemen made the trick: they raised such a dust that she had blotted out the sun. When the dust cleared, the Mongols had already disappeared from sight. The pursuers rushed in one direction and then in another direction, but have never seen any signs of human habitation. They realized that he was lost. They had run out of food, they began to suffer from unbearable thirst. And then the Emperor Huang di remembered the tiny iron man, which gave him a wise man. This man, no matter how much he put it, always showed his hand to the South. The Emperor had set the man on his chariot and took the worn army in the direction pointed by the hand of man. And soon they all saw familiar places.
Legend, of course, cannot serve as a reliable source. But there is other information that the compass actually invented in China in about 100-200 years BC - 3 thousand years later than indicated in the legend. But even in this case, the pioneers of the compass are still Chinese.
Model compass era of the Chinese Han dynasty.
It is also known that approximately 800 years ago, the Arab sailors used the compass. Perhaps they learned this invention of the Chinese, all the ships which in the eleventh century were equipped with compasses. Arabic instrument was made in the form of the iron fish. Magnetized fish was lowered into the water, and she always invariably turned his head to the North. From the Arabs, probably about this device learned Venetian merchants, who brought him to Italy. Hence the compass was known in all the countries of the Mediterranean, and from there - and throughout Europe. Anyway, the first mention of the use of the magnetic needle in navigation is found in the work of the Englishman Alexander Neckam written in 1180, and he writes about it, as a thing already known.
The prototype of the modern compass was invented by the Italian Flavio Gioia in the XIV century (called even the exact year - 1302). Before the compass served only to determine the direction North-South. And Gioia suggested to divide the compass rose on 16 parts (points) to determine the other sides of the world. In addition, he put the needle of the compass on the stud for the best rotation.
In Italy there is a beautiful legend connected with the name of Flavio Gioia.
Long ago, when Amalfi was standing, like Venice, on the coast, lived in it a poor Flavio Gioia, jeweler and incrustation. He was in love with the beautiful Angela, the daughter of a wealthy fisherman Domenico. Severe Domenico considered second class people those who are not out to sea on the oars or sail, have not experienced myself in storms and tempests. And Flavio Gioia, unfortunately, belonged to this category of people. Domenico did not want to have such a son-in-law, but to deny the applicant for the hand of his daughter, he decided diplomatically and therefore have the condition: Flavio should at least once at night or in the mist boat ride strictly in a straight line. In those days such a task was impossible. It was not possible even to his comrades, seasoned sailors.
But Flavio took the challenge. He took oblong magnetic stone, which he reinforced horizontally on a flat round tube. On the upper surface of the tube, he found a disk with tick marks. It happened so sensitive element magnetic compass - compass rose.
So that the reel can rotate in the horizontal plane, Flavio pierced its vertical axis with sharp ends, which rest in bearings mounted in the unit - Cup. However, due to the pressure face on the bottom support there would be a large moment of friction which impedes rotation of the face and caused large errors of the instrument. Then Flavio poured in a Cup of water. Tube surfaced, the pressure on the bottom support has decreased, the rotation of the face became smooth and free. In one place on the edge of the Cup Flavio held a thin line, and the entire circumference of the disk face was divided into 16 equal parts - bearings.
It was the day of the test. Flavio got in the boat and set your device so that fine line on the Cup coincided with the longitudinal axis of the boat. Compass rose, relax around the axis is stopped in such position that one end of the elongated magnetic stone pointed to the North. Flavio noticed RUMB, which was set against the delicate features on the Cup, and hit the road. He only had to sail the boat so that during the movement against the fine features on the Cup stood the same RUMB.
So Flavio coped with the task and married Angela.
Many researchers believe that Flavio Gioia figure fictitious... But that did not prevent grateful italianskim descendants to rise to the inventor of the compass two monument: in Naples and at home Gioia in Amalfi.
Monument Flavio Gioia of Amalfi (Italy)
* Yes, this is not an error: the science of the laws of the management processes and information transfer - Cybernetics - got its name from the ancient Greek name of the art of navigation!