Pilot Chart, Cape Horn 1852

Lieut.enant Matthew Fontaine Maury is renowned for his work collecting ships' logs and gathering information around the world about wind and current patterns at different times of the year. As a result of this work, he was able to compile the information into a graphical form called a Pilot Chart. This early version provides wind information for each 1 degree by 1 degree area of the ocean around Cape Horn. The information helped captains determine the most efficient and safe routes to get to their destinations.

Maury joined the US Navy in 1825, became superintendent of the Navy's Hydrographic Office in 1839, and in 1842 became superintendent of the Depot of Charts and Instruments. In 1844 he became the first superintendent of the Naval Observatory. In these positions he had access to thousands of logs and track charts from which he compiled his Pilot Charts. His main publication was in 1855, The Physical Geography of the Sea. A Virginian, he joined the Confederate Navy in 1861.

Geographic Location: 
Washington, D.C.
Maury, M.F.