William Austin Burt receives a patent for his solar compass.
During the 1830s and 1840s, Burt and his crew surveyed much
of Michigan. According to the U.S. surveyor general, Burt produced "the
most satisfactory" work he had ever seen. Burt also invented the solar
compass to work in areasm where minerals in the ground might make the
needles of their magnetic compasses act wildly and produce errors.
Burt's solar compass saved the U.S. government lots of money when the
country's western territories were surveyed.
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