This oval dial made of silver has a bird-shaped gnomon that folds up. Holes in the dial and in the bird's eye may be for a string gnomon. The dial is calibrated from IIII to XII to VIII (with each hour divided into four parts) for a latitude of 50 degrees, from 5 to 12 to 8 (with each hour divided into two parts) for a latitude of 45 degrees, and from 5 to 12 to 7 (with each hour divided into two parts) for a latitutde of 40 degrees. Approximate latitudes for sixteen Eurpoean cities are engraved on the underside. The peg legs on the underside may have been aded later. The compass opposite the gnomon has its silver housing screwed to the back of the dial. The compass needle is metal; the cover glass. Only the four cardinal compass points are marked. There is a fleur de lis on the dial at Nourth.
The design of the overall dial is called the "Butterfield" style after Micael Butterfield (1635-1724), an English instrument maker who worked in Paris. The Choizi (or Choizy) firm made mathematical instruments at least as early as 1667 and existed into the 1700s.
The red leather case has a velvet lining and brass fasteners.
The Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Catalog 6: Sundials and Related Instruments, 1998, Part I, Section 6.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.