The "compass"

  Prima dedit nautis usum magnetis Amalphis”. This verse of Antonio Beccadelli called “il Panormita” is the first leterary sign of the compass invention.

Thanks to their travel, the Amaphitain sailors learnt how to use some navigation instruments. In fact Gugliemo da Puglia (historical of the XI century), speaking about the Amalphitain sailors, he said that they were expert seamen.

The first news about magnetic instruments to sail goes up at the end of the XII century.

But the new instrument was invented during the XIII century. It was a box with a bronze pin in the middle and a magnetic needle and it was closed with a cover divided in 360 degrees. This new instrument, called "pixidis vitrea", could be used with a sea rough.

Thanks to this instrument the Amalphitain could sail in the winter, too.

Later the sailors of Positano improved this instrument adding a needle and the compass-card. The new instrument was called "compass".