Astrolabe Catalogue

astrolabe, inventory number 34268 from Paris, 1584
thumbnail for astrolabe (front), inventory number 34268 from Paris, 1584
thumbnail for astrolabe (back), inventory number 34268 from Paris, 1584
thumbnail for astrolabe (rete front), inventory number 34268 from Paris, 1584
MakerPhilippe Danfrie
Inventory no.34268
AcquisitionPresented by Lewis Evans in 1924

This is a rare paper astrolabe by a famous French maker from the sixteenth century. Philippe Danfrie is known from a relatively large number of surviving instruments, including others in this Museum, and from books. All his engraving work shows great skill, and his engagement with the print trade meant that he was at ease with engraving either directly or in mirror-image. Here he has used the latter skill to produce an astrolabe in inexpensive materials and that could be produced quickly in quantity from copper-plates. This type of astrolabe was probably much more common than would appear from surviving numbers.

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Throne, Ring and Shackle

The throne is of the three-lobed type made of wood attached with integrated base made of wood and has a simple, round cross-section ring made of brass and eye-bolt type shackle made of brass . More information


The mater and limb are of one-piece construction. Wood with applied printed paper. Scales on the limb: equal hours scale; degree scale. More information


Paper covered wood. The back contains 6 scales of the following types: Degree; Zodiacal signs; Calendar; Shadow square; Dominical letter; Epact. The back is inscribed: with a maker's signature marked as Philipvs Danfrieus, Siderographus Regius Generalis Lutetiae exarabat, Anno Salutis 1584. More information

Rete, Nut & Bolt

The rete contains 29 stars. The zodiac on the rete is labelled: ARIES , TAVRVS , GEMINI , CANCER , LEO , VIRGO , LIBRA , SCORPIVS , SAGITARRI , CAPRICORNVS , AQVARIVS , PISCES .
The rete is attached using a nut & bolt. Brass threaded bolt with wing-nut. More information


There are 3 plates with latitudes ranging from 39°0' to 57°0' . More information

Rules & Alidades

Type Details
AlidadeDouble-ended, counter-changed.
RuleDouble-ended, counter-changed.
More information


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