Rude Star Finder (1921)

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The Rude Star Finder lets a navigator identify a star from its altitude above the horizon. It consists of planispheric maps of the northern and southern skies, the rims of which are graduated to two minutes of time. Each planisphere has a celluloid meridian arm for determining the declination of stars, with a slide that can be adjusted for the latitude of the observer. There are in addition eleven transparent celluloid altitude-azimuth templates for use at different latitudes up to 66° north and south–that is, over the greater part of the navigable waters of the globe; a set of pins for marking the positions of the planets; an instruction brochure; and a cardboard case. The instrument bears the inscription "THE MARINER'S PRACTICAL STAR FINDER / A SIMPLE MEANS FOR IDENTIFYING AND SPOTTING STARS AND PLANETS / ... / G. T. RUDE Hydrographic and Geodetic Engineer / U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey / Patents applied for / Price $12.00"
Gilbert Rude applied for a patent for this device in December 1920. This example was made before the patent issued in December 1921. Rude donated it to the Smithsonian in 1957.
Currently not on view
date made
Rude, Gilbert T.
overall: 14 in; 35.56 cm
overall: 16 in x 16 in x 1 in; 40.64 cm x 40.64 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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