Dials and dialling: telling time

Portable time-telling devices are illustrated in Cosmographia. The image of the globe shows a diptych (two-fold) sun dial and a small pillar dial. The illustration also depticts a small quadrant, another instrument sometimes used for time-telling. The diptych is explained in great detail later in the text. Also discussed is the nocturnal, an instrument for determining time at night.


 This Nuremberg-style pocket sundial is discussed at length in Cosmographia. Dials of this kind were used as portable time-telling devices. Nuremburg dials contain a magnetic compass to help establish the North-South alignment necessary for reading a sun dial.


 Typical pre-1600 ivory Nuremburg pocket diptych dial

 English brass quadrant, Gunter type, dated 1634

17th century wooden pillar dial

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