Pat Shingleton: Before G.P.S.
We conclude our series on the "wind rose." At the mercy of the wind, mariners used this circular, directional emblem for several hundred years. Early Italian wind roses displayed an east wind with an "L" for "levanter" with the west wind designated as a setting sun. A wind such as the "grecco" or northeast wind was marked with a "G". An "S" marked a "sirocco" or southeast wind and the symbol for a northwest wind or "maestro" carried an "M". The north wind originally was noted with a variety of symbols depicting celestial stars. In the 1500s, north was often marked with a symbol familiar to us, the fleur-de-lis. The discovery of the lodestone or magnetite, once touched to a steel needle, began the development of the compass.