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This octant has an ebony frame and reinforced brass index arm. The ivory scale is graduated every 20 minutes from -2° to +104° and read by vernier (without tangent screw) to single minutes of arc. A note written by Capt. H. Flynn of Lowell, Ma. in 1891 traces the history of this octant back to 1772. Stylistic concerns, however, suggest that the instrument was made in the early 19th century. The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Ma., donated it to the Smithsonian in 1965.
Currently not on view
radius: 9 3/4 in; 24.765 cm
overall: 12 in x 9 3/4 in x 3 in; 30.48 cm x 24.765 cm x 7.62 cm
overall in case: 3 3/4 in x 11 1/2 in x 13 in; 9.525 cm x 29.21 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
College of the Holy Cross
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History