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Signed by Erasmus Habermel
Late 16th century; Prague
Brass; 250 mm in diameter

A simple theodolite on a turned pillar sleeve with a clamping screw for a tripod or staff mount. A spherical compass mount supports a disc, from which three pillars rise to the disc for the divided circle. This is pierced by four quadrant slots so as to form a central disc with four shaped and decorated arms supporting an outer ring. This ring has an outer degree scale 0 to 360, divided to 10, subdivided to 5, to 1 and to 1/2, numbered by 10. Slit and window sight vanes are set at 180 and 0 degrees respectively. Within the degree scale are six concentric scales for laying out regular polygons: positions for 3 to 16 are given, with each position marked as a numbered line on the scale.

The central disc has a double shadow square and four linear scales for four different standard feet (Rome, Vienna, Nuremberg, Prague). There is a central alidade with slit and window sights, and attached to the alidade by decorated scrollwork is a glazed magnetic compass marked with the four named cardinal points and a target line offset for variation. The engraved decoration throughout is typical of Habermel.

There is a shaped circular case covered in brown leather with elaborate gilt decorative tooling.

Jim Bennett

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 154

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