It is not known exactly who invented the compass or when. However, along with paper and gunpowder, it is counted as one of the three great inventions of China.
The compass is known to have been invented in China to this day.
It is claimed that China made a crossroads that always pointed to the south during the emperor’s era around 2600 BC, but it is difficult to believe this as it is.
However, if you look at the fact that magnets are also called
It seems clear that we have known for a long time that magnets have the property of pointing north and south.
The first use of the compass in China is believed to be in the 4th century BC.
In [Gwigokja] written at the time, there is a record of using ‘sanam’ to avoid getting lost, and many scholars view it as the first compass.
Sanam consists of a tray, a ‘ban’, and a magnetic ladle-shaped ‘jinamgi’.
If you place the jinamgi on the board and turn it, the handle will point to the south.
However, it seems that the compass was used by magicians for feng shui or divination rather than for finding directions.
It is estimated that the time when the compass was used to find directions in China was in the early 11th century during the Song Dynasty.
There was a method of making a compass in [Ungyeong Chongyo], which was written at the time.
Shim Gwa (1031~1095)’s [The Story of Monggye] contains the content that the south pointed to by the compass is different from the actual south.
There are also records that various types of compasses were used, such as a fish-shaped pendulum, a wagon-shaped pendulum, a turtle-shaped pendulum, and a needle-shaped pendulum.
The compass with bearings marked for navigation did not appear until the beginning of the 12th century, but records were found that a compass marked with 24 directions (north is magnetic, south is five).
Records of compasses in the West are from the 13th century, and it is known that the compass in the form of Jinam was spread from China to Arabs and from Arabs back to Europe around the 13th century.
However, some scholars already believe that in the 11th century, Vikings in Europe used a floating lodestone-type direction indicator using natural magnets.
At the end of the 12th century, it is believed to have been improved to use a compass in the form of a shaft with a compass mounted on a shaft.
A compass similar to today’s appeared in Europe in the 14th century, and it wasn’t until the 16th century that the compass of 32 directions was used.
In the 17th century, there is a record that a small sundial with a compass was invented and used as a kind of portable clock.
The 16th century English physicist William Gilbert (1544–1603) was the first to explain why a compass points north and south.
A compass needle with magnetic properties is divided into N and S poles.
Generally, the red N pole points in the north direction and the blue S pole points in the south direction.
The reason the compass always points north and south is because the Earth is like a single large magnet with the north pole at the south pole and the south pole at the north pole.
Therefore, the N pole of the compass always points to the S pole of the Earth, the North.
The reason the Earth has the properties of a magnet is because of the Earth’s magnetic field.
It is known that the Earth’s magnetic field is caused by the convection of materials conducting electricity in the Earth’s outer core due to the rotation of the Earth.
The outer core is made of materials that conduct electricity well, such as iron, nickel, and cobalt.
The Earth’s magnetic field changes slightly depending on the season and time of day.
The French writer Victor-Marie Hugo (1802–1885) called the compass ‘the soul of the ship’.
Just 100 years ago, humans relied on a compass to navigate the oceans and discover and explore the unknown.
In addition, it was used in scientific experiments by detecting magnetic fields and marking the N and S poles, which had a great influence on the development of science such as electromagnetics.
Although today’s satellite navigation system provides more accurate location information than a compass, the history of mankind developed using the compass is embedded in our lives.