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LATE 18TH CENTURY AUGSBURG UNIVERSAL EQUINOCTIAL SUNDIAL

Unsigned. This equinoctial dial is the portable pocket Augsburg type, with an octagonal brass plate richly engraved with scroll and foliate pattern, containing a magnetic "blued" needle, over a compass rose engraved on the silvered base plate. The equinoctial hour ring is hinged to the North side of the base plate and the latitude arc is hinged to the West side of the plate. The gnomon is a narrow pointed rod set at the center of a pivoted bar lying across the East-West diameter of the hour ring. The hours engraved in Roman numerals on the ring from 3 (III) am to 9 (IX) pm. The adjustable latitude arc is marked with 10 – 80 degrees latitude. The reverse of the base is unmarked. Contained within the original leather and card shaped case, with a brass disk mounted on the interior lid engraved with latitudes for various European cities.
Diameter of dial 1.75". Overall diameter of box 2.5".
Condition: Very good. No apparent signs of restoration or repair, the needle is intact

  • Provenance:
    Christies, NY; Scientific Instruments, sale #6306 'Gemini' Auction, 1986
    The Kelton Collection of Marine Art & Artifacts.
  • Literature:
    Hester Higton, Sundial, An Illustrated History of Portable Dials, Philip Wilson, London, 2001.

    The pocket equatorial dial, which may have been of Chinese derivation, met universal time-telling requirements in an elegant small package. They were very popular during the sixteenth to eithteenth centuries.

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