Equinoctial dial

Universal equinoctial dial for latitudes 0°-90° North, in the shape of an irregular octagon. On the obverse side of the dial-plate is a coat of arms set on engraved ground which features two leopards holding a crest. Hinged to the North end of the dial-plate is the hour-circle, which has hour scales on its inner rim and obverse sides, and is spanned by a brass gnomon support carrying a brass rod gnomon. The latitude arc is divided on the outer side clockwise [0°]-90°. The plumb bob has a very simple hinged support set near the centre of the dial-plate that is pierced for a green string plumb line carrying a spherical copper bob.

On the reverse side of the dial-plate is a brass brace for the plumb line support and a table of latitudes for towns in France, titled 'Hauteur du Pole' (Height of the Pole). The compass is set on a plate at the opposite end from the hour-circle hinge. The degree circle is divided 0°-90°-0°-90°-0°, and the cardinal points are named in French. The needle is in the form of an arrow and surmounted by a brass pyramidal pivot. A glass plate covers all.

The arms depicted on the dial-plate are presumably those of the original owner of the instrument who, judging by the selection of towns on the back of the dial, was probably from the South of France. On the reverse side, the dial is signed, 'In Gratiam Lugduni 1671. J. Nourry Fecit.'

For more information regarding this dial please refer to the OUP & NMM catalogue, 'Sundials at Greenwich'.

Object Details

ID: AST0500
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Equinoctial dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Nourry, Jean
Date made: 1671
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 10.5 x 57 x 66 mm

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