Astronomical compendium (open)

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made in London

Postcard of Astronomical compendium (open).
© National Museums Scotland

Astronomical compendium (open)

This astronomical compendium - a nocturnal, a latitude list, a pocket sun-dial, compass and calendar combined - was made in London in 1575 by Humphrey Cole, a notable instrument maker. This picture shows the compendium open.

The leaf on the left (the lid) contains the calender, the one on the right (the base) the compass. A universal equatorial sundial is hinged between the two. There is a loop for suspension so that when closed, the instrument can be worn around the neck.

Humphrey Cole was the first native-born English maker of scientific instruments. 26 of his instruments have survived, many made in precious metals for wealthy customers, such as Sir Francis Drake.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-352-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.NL 18
Date: 1575
Material: Gilt brass. Inscription: THIS TABLE BEGINNETH AT 1572 AND SO FOREVER ETC
What: Compendium dial, pocket / sundial / compass / calendar
Subject: Jewellery: clocks, watches (NMAS Classification)
Who: Humphrey Cole, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Pocket compendium dial of gilt-brass, with sundial, compass and calendar combined, made by Humphrey Cole, London, 1575
  • Gunther, R.T. The Great Astrolabe and Other Scientific Instruments of Humphrey Cole. Archaeologia 76 (1926), pp 273-317, esp. p 289 
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