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Plane Table Alidade
Signed by Erasmus Habermel
circa 1600; Prague
Gilt brass; 370 mm in length

An alidade or sighting rule would generally be considered one of the more ordinary and mundane of surveying instruments but here, through elegance of design, gilding and fine decoration in a manner typical of Erasmus Habermel, it has been made into a beautiful object.

The addition of a magnetic compass with a carefully divided scale based on the 32 compass directions, means that the instrument could be used for taking angles as well as for simply marking directions on a sheet of paper supported on a plane table.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 40849

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