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Compass question

Article about: Hi people. Got this compass today, a guy wanted about 15e for it so i jumped on it. Busch Rathenow, looks like a 2nd model. My question is; were they radioactive?

  1. #1

    Default Compass question

    Hi people. Got this compass today, a guy wanted about 15e for it so i jumped on it.
    Busch Rathenow, looks like a 2nd model. My question is; were they radioactive?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ex username - DTVPKING

    My dream - pink hue DAK M35/40 and a Jon Lord spec C3

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Compass question

    Short answer is yes. The paint on this marching compass was made of a compound of radium bromide and zinc sulfide, the radiating radium bromide excites the zinc sulfide which glows in the dark. After some years the zinc sulfide no longer glows and becomes brown or yellow, it can be seen on yours at the cardinal points and on the pointer. The radium remains dangerous to a small degree, and will light up a Gamma-Scout radiation detector if tested.

    Regards, Ned.
    Last edited by big ned; 07-16-2013 at 02:06 AM.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Compass question

    The case is from bakelite and inside is paper. So basicly only metal on it is the needle and the ring(except brass screws etc). So how dangerous it is? Is it safe to hold it in my collection in my room?
    Ex username - DTVPKING

    My dream - pink hue DAK M35/40 and a Jon Lord spec C3

  5. #4

    Default Re: Compass question

    It should be o.k. as long as you don't try opening the case of the compass as the possible ingestion of radium dust into the lungs could be dangerous, even singular particles, it can sometimes cause tumours. But although the level of radium gas/particles would probably light up a radiation detector, it would likely be at the lower end.Careful storage and not handling it all the time should be presumed as staying safe. Although higher than normal background radiation, the level is probably what is considered acceptable in cases where one could expect to find raised levels such as working in a nuclear power station or even prolonged exposure to sunlight over a long time. Basically, above normal background levels, but not high enough to be especially concerned as long as some sensible precautions are taken and the material is not ingested.

    So don't panic.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Compass question

    Compass was already "opened" when i got it, so i just tightened the screws to close it. That means that you were able to open the glass. Looks like the best thing is to get rid of it.
    Ex username - DTVPKING

    My dream - pink hue DAK M35/40 and a Jon Lord spec C3

  7. #6

    Default Re: Compass question

    Quote by DTVPKING View Post
    Compass was already "opened" when i got it, so i just tightened the screws to close it. That means that you were able to open the glass. Looks like the best thing is to get rid of it.
    Oh dear, I see......Look, just leave it outside your house and i'll pop around and pick it up.....There's no need to start getting worried.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Compass question

    You can wear your famous black weekend suit Ned

  9. #8

    Default Re: Compass question

    Radioactive but not dangerous.
    In the past, a friend of mine was collecting Luftwaffe compasses. He had 100 on the walls of a room. In this case, it was dangerous. So he put the compasses in one other place.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Compass question

    Quote by lebus12 View Post
    Radioactive but not dangerous.
    In the past, a friend of mine was collecting Luftwaffe compasses. He had 100 on the walls of a room. In this case, it was dangerous. So he put the compasses in one other place.
    ....The kids bedroom.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Compass question

    Quote by KradSpam View Post
    You can wear your famous black weekend suit Ned
    I sold that last week to Gunny Hartmann.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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