Sectors -- Resources


In addition to the 23 instruments discussed in this object group, sectors are found in many of the sets of drawing instruments contained in the mathematics collection. The Smithsonian Institution Libraries own several 17th and 18th-century treatises that discuss the sector; the catalog records are available through the Collections Search Center.

These museum databases also have notable sector collections, sometimes within cases of drawing instruments:

Further Reading

Adler Planetarium. Webster Signature Database. Provides brief information on the makers of instruments owned by a variety of museums.

Bennett, James A. The Divided Circle: A History of Instruments for Astronomy, Navigation and Surveying. Oxford: Phaidon and Christie's Limited, 1987. Provides technical details for constructing instruments (although not the sector) but also focuses on the historical, scientific, and economic issues involved in production.

Bennett, Jim, and Stephen Johnston. The Geometry of War, 1500–1750. Oxford: Museum of the History of Science, 1996. Explains how a variety of instruments, including sectors, were used for gunnery, surveying, and constructing fortifications.

Bion, Nicolas. Traité de la construction et des principaux usages des instruments de mathematique. Paris, 1709. Prominent maker's classic treatise on the construction of mathematical drawing and calculating instruments.

Daumas, Maurice. Scientific Instruments of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries and Their Makers. Edited and translated by Mary Holbrook. London: B. T. Batsford, 1972. English translation of 1953 pioneering work that is especially useful for its information on French makers.

Galileo, Galilei. Operations of the Geometric and Military Compass. Translated and introduced by Stillman Drake. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1978. English version of Galileo's explanation in Italian of the sector he designed, with historical background.

Gessner, Samuel. "The Conception of a Mathematical Instrument and Its Distance from the Material World: The Pantometra in Lisbon, 1638." Studium 4, no. 4 (2011). Evaluates Gunter's work on the sector as it was understood by an English Jesuit living in Portugal.

Hambly, Maya. Drawing Instruments, 15801980. London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988. Thorough and richly illustrated treatment of a full range of instruments.

———. Drawing Instruments: Their History, Purpose and Use for Architectural Drawings. Applied Research of Cambridge Limited, 1982. Exhibit catalogue for the British Architectural Library inspired by Stanley's treatise.

Harkness, Deborah E. "Managing an Experimental Household: The Dees of Mortlake and the Practice of Natural Philosophy." Isis 88, no. 2 (1997): 247–262. Explains how one mathematical practitioner and his family juggled technical pursuits and daily life.

Heather, J.F. Mathematical Instruments: Their Construction, Adjustment, Testing, and Use. Rev. ed. 3 vol. London: Crosby Lockwood and Co., 1870. Describes the structure and use of various instruments, including the sector.

Hill, Katherine. "'Juglers or Schollers?': Negotiating the Role of a Mathematical Practitioner." The British Journal for the History of Science 31, no. 3 (1998): 253–274. Examines how 17th-century English mathematical practitioners defined themselves and found audiences.

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza. Galileo's Compass. Florence, 2004. Discusses the history of the sector, describes the scales typically found on sectors, and provides practice exercises so readers can try using sectors themselves.

Johnston, Stephen. "The Identity of the Mathematical Practitioner in 16th-century England." In Der "mathematicus": Zur Entwicklung und Bedeutung einer neuen Berufsgruppe in der Zeit Gerhard Mercators, edited by Irmgrade Hantsche, 93–120. Duisburger Mercator-Studien, vol. 4. Bochum: Brockmeyer, 1996. Considers the locales and activities of mathematical practitioners and the historical meaning of the term.

McConnell, Anita. Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800): London's Leading Scientific Instrument Maker. Ashgate, 2007. Well-written and accessible biography.

Sangwin, Christopher J. "Edmund Gunter and the Sector." 21 January 2003. Explains Gunter's contributions and several of the scales found on all styles of sectors.

Scott-Scott, Michael. Drawing Instruments. Shire Publications Ltd., 1986. Slender but informative discussion of a variety of drawing instruments.

"The Sector." The Galileo Project. Brief description of Galileo's contributions to the instrument.

Stanley, William Ford. Mathematical Drawing and Measuring Instruments. 6th ed. London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1888. Treatise on the manufacture and operation of various instruments, including the sector.

Tomash, Erwin, and Michael R. Williams. "The Sector: Its History, Scales, and Uses." Annals of the History of Computing 25, no. 1 (2003): 34–47. Particularly strong at explaining the mathematics used on the instrument.

Turner, Anthony. "Sector." In Instruments of Science: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Bud and Deborah Jean Warner, 526–528. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1998. Concise but thorough overview of the instrument's history.

———. Early Scientific Instruments: Europe 1400–1800. London: Sotheby's Publications, 1987. Coffee-table book with photographs of museum objects and brief general explanations.