Octagonal compass sundial

Contributed by The Hunterian

Octagonal compass sundial

Shan Macdonald, Curatorial assistant for Scientific Instruments selected this object from the Hunterian Museum's collection. Shan writes - This beautiful instrument was made in the early 18th century by the French mathematician Nicolas Bion (1652-1733).

Bion's workshop was located within the historic Quai de l'Horloge, Palais de Justice, Paris. He worked by royal appointment as a maker of mathematical instruments to Louis XIV and Louis XV, of France.

This is a horizontal compass sundial, made of gilded silver. It is of 'Butterfield' type, named after English manufacturer Michael Butterfield, who popularised the adjustable bird gnomon.

The sundial can be used over a number of different latitudes, and is inscribed with Babylonian (beginning at sunrise) and Italian (beginning at sunset) hours. The latitudes of notable European cities are engraved on the reverse.

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About this object

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Location

France

Culture
Period

1700-1730

Theme
Size
H:
7cm
W:
8cm
D:
1cm
Colour
Material

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