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Inventory no. 36320 - Epact entry

Epact number: 37087

Horizontal Dial

Signed by Markus Purmann
Dated 1597; German
Gilt and silvered brass; 54 x 32 x 11 mm

Main text

This instrument is a simple horizontal string gnomon sundial indicating the time in ordinary equal hours. Aside from a volvelle inside the cover, its other surfaces are filled with decorative engraving.

The maker Markus Purmann identifies himself only by the initials 'MP' combined in a characteristic way with the date: '15 |star| M |star| P |star| 97'.

Source museum: Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Museum number: Inventory no. 36,320

Detailed text

The instrument consists of a hinged lid and a box with a suspension ring which also serves as a lock for retaining the lid.

The outer face of the cover is decorated with an engraved urn, flowers and foliage. Its sides carry a leaf pattern.

The inner face of the cover has the signature '15 |star| M |star| P |star| 97' and the edges of the plate identify the cardinal directions as 'SEPTENRIO', 'ORIENT', 'MERIDIES' and 'OCCIDENT'. A circular scale of hours 1 to 12, 1 to 12, divided to |1/2| surrounds a wind rose star and a rotating index is fixed at the centre. The purpose of the hour scale is uncertain.

The main box carries a horizontal string-gnomon sundial with a decorated folding gnomon support which is sprung to the vertical and incorporates a plummet. Two soldiers with lances appear on one side of the support. The hours on the dial plate run from 4 to 12 to 8 with additional lines for the half hours. The latitude of use is given as 'P: 48 G:'. The inset compass is 21 mm in diameter and its slivered bowl is marked for the variation.

The sides and base of the main box are decoratively engraved.

Provenance: Lewis Evans Collection G. 363.

Stephen Johnston

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