Nicholas Bion style silver compass sundial – early 18th cent.

An exceptional Butterfield-style compass sundial dating to the early 18th century and signed on the bottom, “N. Bion, Paris.”  Nicholas Bion and Butterfield are two of the most well-known instrument makers of 17th and 18th century France.  Bion is particularly known for the books he wrote on scientific instruments.  It measures 2 3/8” long and 1 7/8” wide.  The horizon plate is engraved with the hours IIII-XII, and I-VII.  It is indicated for a latitude “pour 50 degrez,” but also has separate scales for 45 degrees and 40 degrees.  Fine adjustment is made with a folding gnomon and bird indicator -- it’s scale measuring from 40-60 degrees.  The compass points are “Nort, Est, Sud, and Ouest.”  The needle is blued steel.  The latitudes of twenty-two European cities are engraved on the bottom.  The dial is made entirely of silver and is in excellent working condition for its age.

Item 7088

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