Harris & Co. Octant

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This octant has an ebony frame, flat brass index arm, and ivory name plate. The ivory scale is graduated every 20 minutes from -3° to +99° and read by vernier with top-mounted tangent screw to single minutes of arc. The inscription reads "HARRIS & Co Holborn London." It probably dates from the first half of the 19th century when there were several men of this name working at this address, making and marketing mathematical and optical instruments. It belonged to Bowdoin College.
Ref: Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851 (London, 1995), pp. 124-126.
Currently not on view
Harris & Co.
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
ebony (frame material)
ivory (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 11 1/2 in x 9 1/2 in x 3 in; 29.21 cm x 24.13 cm x 7.62 cm
overall in case: 4 3/4 in x 11 5/8 in x 13 1/4 in; 12.065 cm x 29.5275 cm x 33.655 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Bowdoin College
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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