John Serson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Serson (died 1744) was an English sea captain best known for his invention of a "whirling speculum".[1] This was an early form of artificial horizon designed for marine navigation, consisting of a mirror, attached to a spinning top, that attempted to remain in a horizontal plane despite the movement of the ship. This device can be seen as a precursor to the gyroscope used in modern inertial navigation, although it was not itself a gyroscope.[2]

Serson was lost at sea on HMS Victory in 1744.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bedini SA, "History Corner: The Artificial Horizon", Professional Surveyor Magazine December 1999 Volume 19 Number 10 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-06-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Turner G, "History of Gyroscopes", [1] - account of first test of Serson's speculum
  3. ^ Wagner JF, "From Bohnenberger's Machine to Integrated Navigation Systems, 200 Years of Inertial Navigation", Photogrammetric Week 05, Wichmann Verlag, Heidelberg 2005 [2]