Compass and sundial (Fragment)

  • Category:

    Organic (ivory, horn, etc.)

  • Creator (Role):

    Nathaniel Dominy IV (Owner)

  • Place of Origin:

    East Hampton, New York, Long Island, United States, North America

  • Date:


  • Materials:

    Ivory (elephant); Ivory (tooth); Brass

  • Techniques:

    Engraved, Turned

  • Museum Object Number:

    1969.4066 A, B

  • Complete Details

Object Number

1969.4066 A, B

Object Name

Compass and sundial (Fragment)


Organic (ivory, horn, etc.)

Credit Line/Donor

Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont

Creator (Role)

Nathaniel Dominy IV (Owner)
Married Katharine Hallome on June 30, 1753. Children: Mary (d. in infancy) and Anna (twins). 2nd Marriage: Married Hannah Baker on November 28, 157 (or 1759), Children: Jonathan (d. in infancy), Hannah, Mary (d. in infancy), Urania, Leah, Nathaniel V, Phoebe, Clara.

Place of Origin

East Hampton, New York, Long Island, United States, North America



Mark or Signature or Inscription or Label

1. Signature; Part A, interior surface; "ND" shaded, inked, and conjoined, engraved near center
2. Signature; Part A, interior surface; "X" (Roman numeral) lightly scratched
3. Signature; Part B, exterior surface; "NDominy" scratched lightly at border near edge [ND are conjoined]
4. Signature; Part B, interior surface; "NDominy ^" and "X" (Roman numeral) engraved on inner bezel edge [ND are conjoined]
5. Mark; Part B, Brass inset; "I V" and three pairs of "/ \" symbols repeated, scratched near center


Dominy Family Clockmaking


Ivory (elephant); Ivory (tooth); Brass


Engraved, Turned

Dimensions (inches)

0.56 (H) , 1.75 (Diam)

Dimensions (centimeters)

1.43 (H) , 4.45 (Diam)

Measurement Notes

Part "A": H. 0.25 inches, Diam. 1.75 inches.; Part "B": H. 0.25 inches, Diam. 1.75 inches. Part "B" inner disk is 1.125 inches diameter.

Object Description

Web - 06/29/2021

These two lathe-turned and engraved ivory disks with threaded bezels that do not fit together are fragments of a case that very likely once held a compass sundial, or a mariner's navigation instrument, now missing its middle section. The interior of one disk, "B," holds a smooth circular brass insert that is immobile at present. If it could safely be removed, perhaps the ivory interior and the brass's other side could confirm this case's use or indicate another purpose. Nathaniel Dominy IV scratched and engraved his name or initials in several locations on these disks, a practice exhibited on his other tools. It is likely that he adapted these ivory fragments for a new purpose within his watch repair workshop.

Bibliography and Bibliographic Notes

[Article] Frank, Stuart M. 2022 Cabinetmaker Extraordinaire: The Scrimshaw of Nathaniel Dominy the 5th. Scimshaw Observer. 6 (3): 5.
Published: p. 4