Last October the Wichita Eagle profiled Ken Gebhart, the 79-year-old owner of Celestaire, a local company that sells navigation equipment, including sextants. The sextants are Chinese imports; Celestaire itself makes the navigation tables and almanacs that accompany sextant use. You might have thought that sextants had gone the way of horses and buggies, but apparently the U.S. Navy is reviving celestial navigation training, as a fallback in the event of a GPS failure. [via]
Here are two pieces on phantom islands (i.e., islands that appear on maps but were later proved never to have actually existed; some of them persisted on charts well into the 20th century) from Atlas Obscura and Intelligent Life magazine.
Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream
Though the effects of the Gulf Stream were known to seafarers for centuries, Benjamin Franklin was the first to name it and chart it. The Library of Congress’s map blog has a post about the maps of the Gulf Stream produced by Franklin with his cousin, Timothy Folger, a ship captain who knew the currents. “Folger and Franklin jointly produced a chart of the Gulf Stream in 1768, first published in London by the English firm Mount and Page. The Geography and Map Division holds one of only three known copies of this first edition (see above), in addition to a copy of the ca. 1785 second edition.”
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