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Instruments and Illustration

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the use of images in a single text on instruments: Edmund Gunter's De Sectore et Radio (On the Description and Use of the Sector and the Cross-Staff) of 1623. This work contains a remarkable variety of diagrams and illustrations, thus allowing study of the ways in which both woodcuts and engravings, and both simple and complex images were used to illustrate instrument texts in the early modern period. The chapter describes early manuscripts on instruments often included diagrams of the items. In the latter part of the sixteenth century, this abundant illustration of instruments in text was matched by the appearance of mathematical instrument-making as a viable trade. The focus of De Sectore et Radio was Gunter's new version of the sector, an instrument that had been developed as a calculational tool roughly simultaneously by Galileo and Thomas Hood at the end of the sixteenth century.

Keywords: De Sectore et Radio; Edmund Gunter; Galileo; Thomas Hood



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