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Pocket compass sundial with lid

Date: c 1830
Dimensions:
Overall: 27 mm, 18.28 g, 55 mm
Medium: Wood, metal, glass, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Pocket compass sundial
Object No: V00046751

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    Description
    This style of compass sundial was quite popular in the eighteenth century. Each hour is divided into four sections, theoretically making it accurate to fifteen minutes. A common feature was the listing of the latitudes of a number of European cities and towns, for which the time could be determined by use of the sundial. This sundial base was made by the Massachusetts watchmaker Tuxford.
    SignificanceThis example by the Massachusetts watchmaker Tuxford is highly unusual in that in lists 52 place-names, including a number in the Pacific discovered during Cook’s voyages, ranging from Botany Bay and Norfolk Island to O-why-hee and Nootka Sound.
    HistoryPocket sundials were highly fashionable objects throughout the seventeenth century before the proliferation of clocks and pocket watches. Even in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries they were still favoured by many because they were more accurate in establishing true time, particularly at sea where mechanical timekeepers were unreliable.

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