Vetus Universal Dial

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Reproduction of medieval quadrants used in navigation and astronomy


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The quadrant was a very popular instrument for several centuries since its use was relatively simple and did not have an excessive cost. It consists of a quarter of a circumference (90º) usually made of brass or wood.

There were many types with specific applications, initially with the simple application of measuring angles or heights of stars, buildings, mountains.

They were equipped with two viewers along one of their edges, a weight attached to a rope and an engraved scale from 0 to 90º with which to make measurements. With the angle obtained once the measurement of the object had been carried out, specific questions of navigation, artillery, architecture, etc. were resolved.

The quadrant that Antiquus presents is one of the so-called schedules. Its main use is to find out the time (uneven hours) using the position of the Sun, but it has other applications

This type of quadrant called quadrans vetus (old quadrant) is of Islamic origin and was introduced in Europe in the late Middle Ages, achieving great popularity for several centuries.

It also consists of a shadow square and on the back of an original universal hour converter from the 16th century.

A string holds a weight that will act as a plumb line, suspended from a hole located in the upper corner of the instrument. A small piece called a pearl slides along the string.

The calendar moves along the arc of the instrument in order to locate it at the exact latitude of the observer. It is therefore an instrument that, although not universal, does include a wide range of latitudes corresponding to the northern hemisphere.

On the left side is inscribed the scale with the solar declination throughout a full year.

With our quadrant we can find out the following data:

-Maximum height of the sun for that day when passing through the meridian of the place
-Declination of the sun for that day
-Latitude of the place where we are
-hours passed since sunrise (uneven hours)

It is made of an alloy called Zamak, which is very hard and resistant to changes in temperature and humidity and does not require any type of maintenance.

It comes in a beautiful case and includes a wooden stand for displaying the instrument and a complete booklet with instructions for its use.

It is a perfect gift for those curious and intelligent people who love astronomy and science.

Additional information

Weight 2 kg
Dimensions 20 × 15 × 3 cm

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Vetus Universal Dial
90,75 VAT Included

Availability: In stock

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