16th century; German
Wood, cord, gilt brass; 195 mm in length
This instrument is made up of a small, modelled axle which can be turned by means of a finely wrought wooden handle. A cord with little rings at intervals is wound around the axle, allowing measurements of length to be made.
The reel probably belonged to a group of mining instruments, and was used to reel out lengths of cord used to make measurements. It was brought from Germany by Prince Mattias de' Medici in 1635, together with other mining instruments and German instruments of other uses.
Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 617
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