Astrolabe Catalogue

MakerHenri Michel
Inventory no.51934
AcquisitionPresented by J. A. Billmeir in 1957

The linear astrolabe, an extreme simplification of some of the functions of a planispheric astrolabe, was invented by a 12th-century Persian astronomer named aṭ-Ṭūsī, who wrote a treatise on it, though no original example of the instrument is known. The Belgian engineer, collector, and historian of astronomy Henri Michel (1885-1981), who was also a skilled craftsman, has thus made this replica in ebony and ivory, for his own latitude of 51° and signed 'H. M. 1943'. He was equally interested in trying out aṭ-Ṭūsī's invention, and demonstrating its simplicity and undeserved neglect.

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