This is a rare example of an astrolabe that has been printed on paper, cut out, and mounted on a board. Other surviving examples are mostly French or German and are from the 16th century. This instrument is a 'complete' astrolabe, incorporating all the different types of astrolabes. As such, it forms an interesting teaching device that can demonstrate the history and development of the astrolabe. The fact that it was brightly coloured would certainly have enhanced its instructive nature. Bion wrote one of the most important books on scientific instruments: 'TraitÃ”Ã²Ã¡de la Construction et Principaux Usages des Instruments de MathÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬Â«matique' (Paris, 1709), (The construction and principal uses of mathematical instruments), in which he described this style of astrolabe. The book was translated into English in 1723 and the Museum recently acquired one of these editions.
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