image CLP_9ii_02_004
Image number: RS.15544
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Variation of the magnetic needle


16 May 1666


Henry Phillips (active 1666)

Object type

Archive reference number

Manuscript page number




height (page): 315mm
width (page): 387mm



An overview map drawn on the basis of the travel journeys of Captain John Davis and Captain William Mynors. Both sets of data cover the route from the equinox, past the Cape of Good Hope, to Bantam on Java (Indonesia). Captain Davis collected his data in 1607, Captain Mynors in 1641.

The data were extracted, collated and presented on this map to the Fellows of the Royal Society by Mr Henry Phillips, the author of a book on navigation (The Advancement of the Art of Navigation (London, 1657)).

The numbers show the variations of the needle of the compass on the two different voyages to Bantam.


Observations of the Varyation of the Needle in Sayling from the Coast of Brasile by the Cape of Good Hope to Bantam, Extracted out of the Journalls of Captaine John Davis, and Captaine Wm Mynors, by Henry Phillippes
Transcribed by the Making Visible project

Object history

At the meeting of the Royal Society on 16 May 1666, ‘a paper of Mr Philips was brought in by Mr Hooke concerning the variations of the magnetic needle, as they had been observed in two East-India voyages’ (Birch 2:89).

4 June 1666, ‘Mr Powle’s account of Mr Philips’s paper concerning the needle in two East-India voyages was read, and ordered to be filed up together with that paper’ (Birch 2:97).

Related Fellows

Robert Hooke (1635-1703, British), Natural philosopher

Associated place

<The World>
   > Africa
      > South Africa
<The World>
   > Asia
      > Indonesia