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.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline






View more objects from people in Glasgow and West of Scotland.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.