Astronomical compendium (lid)

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made in London

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

Astronomical compendium (lid)

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 upper leaf of the compendium.

The outside of the top leaf is laid out as a nocturnal with two circular scales. The outer one has the Latin names of the zodiacal signs and their symbols, the inner one the Latin names of the months and the corresponding number of days.

The central disc is marked 'THE POLE STERRE'. Nocturnals enabled the telling of time at night by the position of the fixed stars around the Pole Star.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-911-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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