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Instrument type

Gunner's Compendium
Later 16th century; German
Gilt brass; 143 x 143 mm

This is a highly unusual instrument composed of a gunner's sight, a plummet, quadrant, shadow square, horizontal sundial and compass.

Its perforated plate was meant to stand vertically but the necessary support is now missing, as are various other elements such as the sliding piece for the sight, the plumb-bob for the plummet, the folding gnomon of the sundial and the compass needle. There are two numerical tables, one of which converts between paces and feet, but their exact construction and use is uncertain, as are the ungraduated scales which feature along three edges of the plate.

Despite all these losses and uncertainties, the artillery context implied by the gunner's sight is underlined by a small engraved vignette which shows a gunner standing by a cannon which has just fired its shot.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 46878

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