Universal equinoctial ring dial

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probably made in Germany

Postcard of Universal equinoctial ring dial.
© National Museums Scotland

Universal equinoctial ring dial

This brass universal equinoctial ring dial was made in the early 18th century, probably by Antor Odelem, a scientific instrument maker based in Brunswick in Germany. Based on the 16th-century astronomical ring, this form of dial contains three rings.

To the outer circle are pivoted two inner circles which fold within it. The outer circle is engraved: 'Antor Odelem in Brauns: 52 Amsterd: 52 Augsp: 48 Bremen: 53 Breslau: 31 Berlin'. The other rings have the latitudes of other major European cities.

The user sets the index below the suspension loop to the local latitude. The pin-hole on the gnomon is then set for the date. The dial is suspended and turned until the spot of light from the gnomon falls on the hour ring, giving the time.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-102-842-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1895.382
Date: Early 18th century
Material: Brass
Dimensions: 3.75" D
What: Armillary dial
Subject: 20. TIME MEASUREMENT, Sundials (Departmental Classification)
Who: Antor Odelem, Brunswick, Germany (Maker)
Where: Germany, Brunswick
Description: Armillary dial of engraved brass, made by Antor Odelem of Brunswick, Germany, early 18th century
  • For other items by Odelem, see Zinner, E., Deutsche and Niederlandische astronomische Instrumente des 11-18 Jahrhunderts. Munich: 1967, p 459 
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