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

Alidade with shaped and decorated ends and slit and window sights secured by screws. The rule is pierced and has two screws with vertical open square heads, perhaps for some attachment purpose. There is a linear scale 0 to 200, divided to 10, subdivided to 5, these subdivisions being carried on to the bevelled edge, where they are given alternate hatching and mirror gilding, and subdivided to 1, numbered by 10, marked 'PES ROMANVS'. The verso of the rule is decorated and signed 'Prag? fecit Erasm<us> habermel'.

Attached to the rule by 3 screws is a mount embellished with pierced and decorated scrollwork for a circular glazed magnetic compass with a blued steel needle mounted above a silvered plate with a circular scale 0 to 30, divided to 1, subdivided to 1/2 with alternate hatching, to 1/4 and 1/8, numbered by 1. Within the scale 16 directions are named in Dutch, 'NORDEN', 'N. N. Oost', 'Nord Oost', 'O. N. Oost', 'OOSTEN', etc., whith outstde it the 4 cardinal directions are marked 'SEPTENTRIO', 'ORIENS', MERIDIES', 'OCCIDENS'. The verso of the compass box is decorated with a border design incorporating mirror gilding. The upper surface of a push-fit lid has a similar border, and a star decoration in the centre.

Jim Bennett

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 40849

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