Ever heard the story about the Tates Compass ?
Originally alleged to work only in the Southern Hemisphere as it points South instead of North – it inspired the saying —
“He who has a Tates is Lost.” (1)
Well I bought an imitation Tates compass online. Its a lovely Brass compass and apparently it even glows in the dark.
The problem is not that is points South, the trouble is my new compass rarely points even close to North.
Since pointing North is the only thing a Compass has to do for its whole life and since it only has one really simple moving part, one might think this is a hard job to foul up.
After using this compass in California and Alaska I have learned that if a compass is made with a sticky bearing it can point in nearly every other compass direction except North.
So next time you are looking for a “Tates Compass” (imagine the pranks you could pull with your office’s pompous, snarky hikers) – you know where to get it.
1. Its a play on words with the aphorism “He who hesitates is Lost.”
Update: The company selling the Tates compass was apologetic and refunded my purchase price.