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Attributed to Christoph Schissler
Later 16th century; German
Brass and wood; 90 mm in diameter

A magnetic compass in a glazed hemispherical bowl with a decorated compass rose on brass and a scale 0 to 60, divided to 5, subdivided to 1, numbered by 5. The compass is carried on a gimbal-ring pivoting in a brass ring marked with 32 points, the cardinal points named 'NO RD', 'NORD OST', 'OS ST', 'SVD OST', 'SV VD', 'SVD WEST', 'WE ST', 'NORD WEST'. A push-fit cover has an engraved map of Europe, Africa and Asia, with lines radiating from the centre every 15 degrees, numbered 0 to 360; crossing diametric bands are marked 'DIAMETER TERRE MILIAR. GERMA: 1718 ?' and 'DIAMETER MILIARIA ITALICA ? 6872 ?'; the edge is marked: 'CIRCVMFERENTIA TERRE CONTINET MILIARIA GERMAN ? 5400 ? ITALICA VERO ? 21600 ?'.

A bracket fixed to this ring engages a slot in a brass fitting on the cross piece of a wooden 'T' with brass-cased ends. On the other side of the cross piece is a brass fitting with two vertical brass clips. The bottom of the 'T' has a hole for a heavy brass-cased counter-weight, secured by a wing-nut and washer.

There is a shaped and fitted wooden case, lined with leather, covered with leather decorated with gold tooling.

Jim Bennett

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 2535

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