History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Calculation by proportion

The sector is a geometrical calculating instrument. Its hinged legs carry pairs of scales which are used with dividers. Using the principle of similar triangles and adjusting the hinge, calculation is performed by proportion. First publicised in 1598, the instrument was popular until the 19th century. Though produced in various sizes, materials and specialised versions, the basic format remained unchanged.

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