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Inventory no. 52076 - Epact entry

Epact number: 25622

Surveyor's Cross

Signed 'ALESdro POLco VAZla'
circa 1600; Italian ?
Brass; 116 mm in height

Main text

This is a simple surveying instrument, used to establish angles of 90 and 45 degrees when either setting out a site or taking linear measurements. However, it has unusual features that make it a rare object. The egg shape to the top of the instrument is very rare, since a cylinder is the standard form and some later examples are octagonal. The survival of a wooden case shaped to match the egg is likewise extraordinary and exceptional.

Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 52,076

Detailed text

Egg-shaped brass shell, formed by soldering together two halves at a vertical seam, and fitted with a shaped top and a circular mount at the bottom with an internal screw thread.

There are eight vertical slits, numbered 1 to 8, each terminated by a small circular hole; the cardinal directions have longer slits, with shorter ones between them. They are bisected by a central horizontal line.

Signed around the mount: 'ALESdrr POLco VAZla'.

Shaped wooden case in two parts, lined with buckram, with a vertical seam; a central brass band riveted to the case on the outside has a catch and hinge.

The stand is modern.

Jim Bennett

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