16th century; Italian
Gilt and enamelled brass; 480 mm in length
This extraordinary instrument is made up of a circular plate divided along its circumference into eight 45? sectors, referring to the eight directions of the wind, and by two long rods with sights. The shadow square is located inside the circumference. A circular ring with an alidade which originally housed a compass, now lost, is pivoted at the centre. The instrument was used in topographical surveying, and in measuring distances and heights. The back of the plate is hinged. One half contains a sundial with a gnomon, the other contains a toothed wheel with a moveable pointer.
The inscriptions are in Italian. The instrument, which is finely decorated and enamelled, belonged to the Medicean collection of scientific instruments, like most of the period instruments conserved in the Museum of the History of Science in Florence.
Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 144
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