Cross-staff (replica)

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Postcard of Cross-staff (replica).
© National Museums Scotland

Cross-staff (replica)

A cross-staff was used for taking altitude measurements with the sun or a known star. This is a replica of a Dutch cross-staff made in 1745 and now in the Maritime Museum in Bergen in Norway. The replica dates from 1929.

The instrument has a cross bar made of pear wood and an ebony centre bar with engraved scales.

In Scandinavia and the Netherlands, the cross-staff retained its popularity when others had turned to the backstaff.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-680-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1929.140
Date: 1929
Original: 1745; (Replica: 1929)
Material: Ebony centre bar, pear wood cross bar
What: Cross staff / reproduction
Subject: 5. CARTOGRAPHY, Surveying (Departmental Classification)
9. NAVIGATION (Departmental Classification)
Who: Sjofartsmuseum, Bergen (Owner of original)
Description: Reproduction of an 18th century cross staff in Sjofartsmuseum, Bergen, with a cross bar made of pear wood and scales engraved on an ebony centre bar, 1929
  • Horsburgh, Ellice M., 'The cross-staff and its use in navigation'. The Scottish Geographical Magazine. Vol 46, March 1930, pp 92-100 
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