Re: Liquid Compass Questi

Posted by Laszlo on Nov 23, 2004

Hey Mac,

In the past, at least, airplane compasses used to be filled with alcohol giving rise to the name "whiskey compass". Alcohol is the basis for the Fahrenheit thermometer (water for the Celsius thermometer), so by definition alcohol freezes at 0 degrees fahrenheit (and water at 0 degrees celsius).

Not only did this make the compass reliable to low tempuratures, but in case of a crash in cold weather, it was a valuable survival commodity (the liquid, not the compass).

These new-fangled mineral oil compasses only help you if you crash where there's insufficient dietary fibre :-)

Laszlo

In Response to: Liquid Compass Question by Mac on Nov 23, 2004

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