Binnacle


Binnacle

A binnacle is a case or box on the
deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman,in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments.A binnacle may be subdivided into sections and its contents typically includeone or more compasses and a oil lamp or other light source. Other devices suchas a sand timer for estimating speed may have been stored in the binnacle as well.

The construction of many early binnacles used nails (mid 1700s), which were later discovered to cause magnetic deviations in compass readings. As the development of the compass and understanding of magnetism progressed greater attention was given to binnacle construction to avoid compass disturbances caused by iron.

With the introduction of iron-clad ships the magnetic deviation observed in compasses became more severe. Methods of compensation by arranging iron or magnetic objects near the binnacle were developed. In 1854 a new type of binnacle was patented by John Gray of Liverpool which directly incorporated adjustable correcting magnets on screws or rack and pinions. This was improved again when Lord Kelvin patented in the 1880s another system of compass and which incorporated two compensating magnets.

The ship's Binnacle List is the medical department's report of personnel at sick bay, excused from that day's duty. [http://www.tpub.com/content/medical/14295/css/14295_398.htm]

Etymology

Before 18th century "bittacle", through Span."bitacula", from Lat. "habitaculum", a little dwelling

References

*1911
*Alan Gurney, "Compass: A Story of Exploration and Innovation", W.W. Norton & Company, 2004, ISBN 0-393-32713-2.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Binnacle — Bin na*cle, n. [For bittacle, corrupted (perh. by influence of bin) fr. Pg. bitacola binnacle, fr. L. habitaculum dwelling place, fr. habitare to dwell. See {Habit}, and cf. {Bittacle}.] (Naut.) A case or box placed near the helmsman, containing… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • binnacle — wooden box for a ship s compass, c.1750, corruption of bittacle (1620s), which is probably from Sp. bitacula or Port. bitacola, both from L. habitaculum little dwelling place, from habitare to inhabit (see HABIT (Cf. habit)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • binnacle — ► NOUN ▪ a built in housing for a ship s compass. ORIGIN from Spanish bitácula, bitácora or Portuguese bitacola, from Latin habitaculum dwelling place …   English terms dictionary

  • binnacle — [bin′ə kəl] n. [formerly bittacle < Port bitacola < L habitaculum, dwelling < habitare,INHABIT] the upright, cylindrical stand holding a ship s compass, usually located near the helm …   English World dictionary

  • binnacle — [15] Binnacle ‘ship’s compass housing’ has a curious history: etymologically it means ‘place where something lives’, and it is related to habitation and inhabit. Forms with nn do not begin to appear before the 18th century. Until then the word… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • binnacle —   n. fixed case or stand for ship s compass.    ♦ binnacle list, list of sick men on man of war …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • binnacle — [15] Binnacle ‘ship’s compass housing’ has a curious history: etymologically it means ‘place where something lives’, and it is related to habitation and inhabit. Forms with nn do not begin to appear before the 18th century. Until then the word… …   Word origins

  • binnacle — noun Etymology: alteration of Middle English bitakle, from Old Portuguese or Old Spanish; Old Portuguese bitácola & Old Spanish bitácula, from Latin habitaculum dwelling place, from habitare to inhabit more at habitation Date: 1762 a housing for… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • binnacle — binnacle1 /bin euh keuhl/, n. Naut. a stand or enclosure of wood or nonmagnetic metal for supporting and housing a compass. [1615 25; BIN + (bitt)acle (late ME bitakille) < Pg bitacola < L habitaculum lodge, equiv. to habita (see INHABIT) + culum …   Universalium

  • binnacle — noun The wooden housing for a ships compass, with its corrector magnets and illuminating arrangements; the log and other equipment for measuring the ships speed is also stowed there …   Wiktionary


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