Capuchian Sundial, a Form of Quadrant

Capuchian Sundial, a Form of Quadrant

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Usage conditions apply
This brass rectangular horary quadrant is a sundial of the Capuchin type. A calendar slide in the interior of the dial is marked by month letter and zodiac sign. A “69” is engraved to the left of the slide. The user sets the slide to the appropriate month or zodiac sign and then adjusts the bead on the string tied to the slide so that the bead rests at the 12 o’clock point on the hour scale (marked “heures du mat.” and calibrated from 4 to 12 by 1 for daytime and marked “ou soir” and calibrated from 8 to 1 to 12 by 1 for evening) on the lower half of the dial. There are two brass sights at the top of the dial. The user looks through these (from right to left) and allows the string with bead and bob to fall so that the hour may be read. The circumference is crudely graduated from 0 to 90 by single degree with every 10 degrees numbered. The back of the dial bears a calendar arc marked by month letter and zodiac sign, again with a “69” engraved on the left side. There is also a horizontal arc for a latitude of 48 degrees. The arc is calibrated by hour from 6 to 12 and from 7 to 12, with lines at the half-hour points, and by degree from 0 to 90, with every 10 degrees numbered. These marks are all crudely made. The dial is stored in the original sharkskin case.
The Capuchin dial is named for the way the curved lines resemble a monk's hood. This Capuchin dial does not at all resemble catalogue numbers 295-297 in The Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Catalogue 6, Sundials and Related Instruments. However, it is like those dials depicted in the references.
References: Fer J. de Vries, et al, "Regiomontanus, Apian and Capuchin Sundials" (accessed 5 September 2002); "Sundial Links" (accessed 5 September 2002); C. L. Stong, "The Amateur Scientist," Scientific American 214 (May 1966): 128-135.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sundial, quadrant
overall: 9.5 cm x 7.7 cm x.7 cm; 3 3/4 in x 3 1/32 in x 9/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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