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What is this?

Scrolled square frame with animal allegories of the Four Continents: camel, horse, lion and monkey; hinged quadrant, hour circle with gnomon and pendulum; in center, recessed circular box with compass needle, the face engraved with mermaid and triton; set on three adjustable legs.

Why is this in our collection?

Sundials, which measure time by the sun’s angle, are not usually portable, whereas compasses often are. This pocket-size combination instrument tells time and direction. It is part equatorial sundial, which has a flat surface aligned with the celestial equator, and part gnomon compass, which consists of an angled piece perpendicular to the surface directed to the North or South celestial Pole. Such a device was also a status symbol: the small size, technological complexity, and classical decoration indicate it was a prized personal accessory in Augsburg, Germany, a center of scientific learning and instrument making in the eighteenth-century. The allegorical representations of the four continents at the corners and a mermaid and Nep¬tune engraved on the steel face suggest a learned owner and virtuoso creator. Maker Jacob Emanuel Laminit, who became a master goldsmith in 1748, applied his skills to this bronze sundial-compass at the height of fashion for such accessories.

This is a sundial and compass from Germany. It is dated 1748 and we acquired it in 1960. Gift of the Estate of James Hazen Hyde.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ This object is currently resting in our storage facility.

Its medium is

gilt and engraved brass, cut and blued steel, glass

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 2 x 6.4 x 6 cm (13/16 x 2 1/2 x 2 3/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Engraved signature, city and date: "J. E. L. Augspurge. 48", on back of compass.

This object was made by Jacob Emanuel Laminit

This object was donated by Estate of James Hazen Hyde

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Portable Equatorial Sundial And Compass, 1748 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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