Old Compass iPhone App

Old Compass is a collection of skillfully crafted antique magnetic compasses for the iPhone. All four compasses are fully functional, and will orient themselves according to the magnetometer present in the iPhone 4 or iPhone 3Gs, or iPad.
Visit Old Compass on the App Store
With these compasses, the rotating dial and the background are independent and spin freely. Some parts of the devices can be operated by a swipe gesture. The designs are faithful renditions of genuine drawings. They are either inspired by actual inventions, or by old maps’ compass roses.


  1. Magnetic north, to suit the traditional behavior of good old compasses
  2. Compass moves independently of background
  3. 4 compasses to choose from, using the i button.
    (i) button

Hardware Requirements

  1. iPhone 4
  2. or iPhone 3Gs (with internal compass)
  3. or an iPad (any version)

(Not to worry, you will not be able to buy this application from the App Store if your device does not have an internal magnetometer.)

About the Compasses…

1. E. L. Holmes

Master Compass, a navigating apparatus.

Inspired by an apparatus patented by Edward L. Holmes on February 1, 1926. Patent No 1,702,405.

…Fig. 1 shows schematically the several units comprising the master-compass and a repeater-compass illustrative of mechanism which may be actuated and ¬†controlled by said master-compass – together with a wiring diagram of an electrical system which may be employed in connection therewith; …

A single drawing from E. L. Holmes has been carefully and faithfully reproduced, to bring this invention to life in Old Compass. The only modification added for convenience and use as a compass is the addition of three typewriter characters indicating west, south and east, not present in the original graphic.

2. J. Schiessler

Sound-Indicator for Vessels.
An apparatus patented by Josef Schiessler on October 18, 1904. Patent No 772,676.

…The principal object of the invention is to indicate the direction of movement or the approach of a vessel not yet seen, maybe at night or in a fog. … The apparatus consists of two main parts, one of which is arranged on the deck of ship, whereas the other is submerged into the water and connected with the other main part by means of a tube …

While not actually a compass in the original J. Schiessler invention, the device has as similar needle pointer in the author’s drawings. The device comes to like in Old Compass, as the magnetic heading is indicated by the floating arrow.

3. T. Dawson

Navigational mariner’s compass, composed of two systems.

By the end of the sixteenth century, several features of the compass were established conventions: the image of the rose at the axis ; the eight-pointed star ; the points of the compass such as “north by north-east” ; the Fleur de Lys indicating north ; the Cross indicating east; four quadrants of 90 degrees each ; and sometimes a sundial. This compass rose has it all, including the sundial which the mariner could use to tell the time as well as heading. The sundial’s marking were designed to be used on the northern hemisphere.

You too can use the Old Compass to tell time from the secondary dial using the sun’s position, or find the geographical north independently of the compass position when knowing the local time.

As published in “The Seaman’s Secrets”, Thomas Dawson, 1607. First appeared in a 1596 document.
National Library of Canada

The image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

4. J. Aguiar

A 32-point compass rose
From a nautical chart drawn by Jorge de Aguiar. This is apparently the oldest personally signed Portuguese nautical chart, dated 1492.

Original is in the Beinecke Library, Yale University, USA.

The image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

The rose hovers over the map.

Get it now.

Old Compass is available on the App Store.

Click here to visit Old Compass on the App Store.

Technical Support

  • oldcompass@thegothicparty.com

End-User License Agreement (EULA)

No guaranties, implicit or explicit.
The complete End-User License Agreement can be read at:


Old Compass iPhone App On The Web…

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