16th century; German
Gilt brass; 65 mm in diameter
This compass was used as an accessory for sundials and measuring instruments, allowing the orientation and position of the instrument to be determined. A truly princely object, the instrument is finely wrought and has a lid. On the back is a wind rose.
The instrument can rotate on a graduated and multiply pierced disc. The way in which the instrument is engraved links it with other instruments used in mining, and thus suggests that it was constructed in the German area. It was brought from Germany by Prince Mattias de' Medici in 1635.
Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 3182
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