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Radioactive Compass

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    Posted 4 years ago

    SpiritBear
    (813 items)

    I just found it really interesting that they'd put a radioactive isotope into a compass.

    Dates to the '50s, I believe. I saw another one dated to 1966, so they seem to have been made for a while.

    But please tell me the use of radioactive H3 in a military compass.

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    Comments

    1. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
      Turn off the lights and you should see what the use is...

      T A
    2. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 years ago
      P. S. It's not from the 1950's, read the date code 4-63(8?).

      T A
    3. SpiritBear, 4 years ago
      I do not know much on these, so I cannot tell if that is a date-code or just more numbers.
      The other items around it had manufacture dates of "Feb 1953" and such. They were all from the same man, for the military.

      As for it glowing, I have not seen it glow.
    4. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
      Yep-- these were standard US Army issue into the 2000s. Would think that they are still being used, but far less utilized since the advent of GPS.

      scott
    5. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      Probably issued to registered personnel so they could be studied later to see if THEY glowed in the dark, knowing the U.S. Gov't..
    6. Dizzydave Dizzydave, 4 years ago
      I used same one in early 80's while in Army.
    7. UncleRon UncleRon, 4 years ago
      The "glow" would be from radium on that triangle on the moving arrow. It used to glow in the dark. Over a period of 40 years or more the radioactivity dissipates (look up: Half Life). The same thing happens to watch dials from ca. 1940s.
      Go here for a fascinating and sad story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium_Girls
    8. Rick55 Rick55, 4 years ago
      Very interesting conversation piece Spirit!
    9. UncleRon UncleRon, 4 years ago
      That jibes with owner's reports on tritium gun sights which seem to last up to about 20-25 years at best before there is insufficient light to make them useable. However, tritium is a gas which does not glow by itself. The glow comes from a phosphorus coating on the inside of the tube in which the tritium is trapped. The phosphor is excited by free electrons released by the tritium's decay and glows because of that. I'm not sure how that technology relates to a compass from the 1950's.
    10. UncleRon UncleRon, 4 years ago
      I agree on the date. That's still too old for the radioactive materials to be working. I have seen many 50+ year-old watches with "radium" dials and even had a small vial of what was supposed to be radium from a watch factory (don't ask) which was acquired by a person in the early 1950's, and all of that material was totally dead. I don't understand why the radium didn't glow 50 years later - it has a half-life of 1600 years.
    11. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      All examples given are far better than my half/life. I have a dark spot on my wrist, which would have been directly behind the dial of a radium watch I wore in those years. Coincidence ?
    12. UncleRon UncleRon, 4 years ago
      Only worry if it's a ring of twelve dots. Since that's not a widely reported phenomenon I'd guess you have a sub-cutaneous deposit of some corrosion byproduct from the case. A sort of tattoo. (Unless you were abducted by space aliens in which case the ship's engine's quantum inversion drive converted the radium to fartonium, a volatile gas that can travel through any substance and lingers for a long time.)
    13. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      And to think, we rely on you ! LOL !!
    14. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      Nicefice, if I didn't feel like I understood Ron a bit, - - - I would run !! When I read the part about "fartonium", all my senses screamed, "Run Forrest, RUN !". LOL !!
    15. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      UncleRon, Nicefice ! LOL !
    16. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
      I'm glad you can ! LOL !

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