Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Fine's Treatise on the Use of Quadrants,
    Geometric Squares, and the Jacob's Staff

    Oronce Fine [Orontius Finaeus Delphinatus]. De re et praxi geometrica, Libri tres, figuris & demonstrationibus illustrati. Ubi de Quadrato gemoetrico, & virgis seu baculis mensoriis, necnon aliis, cum mathematicus, tum mechanicis. Lutetiae (Paris): Giles Gourbin, 1556. First edition as a separate text. Quarto. å4, a-p4. (8), 59 pages. Printer's device on title. Numerous text woodcuts and diagrams, illustrations depict geometrical instruments in use in the field, including the cross staff, the quadratum geometricum, and the astrolabe. Contemporary limp vellum, title and catalog number in old ink on spine and back cover respectively, small stain to front cover, lacks ties, two small holes to spine. Contemporary owner's signature "Johannis Ferary" and note from Jesuit institution on title page. Light foxing, a few small worm holes to front free endpaper, one very small hole to title, outer margin, no affect. Page 59 misnumbered "56", as usual. Covers and leaves are lightly cockled. Some light foxing, else a very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
    Please visit for an extended description of this lot.

    More Information:

    Oronce Finé (1494-1555), French writer on mathematics, astronomy and cosmography.

    "This work was published posthumously by Fine's son the year after his father's death. The content is similar to that of many other early books on surveying in that it deals with the elementary instruments of quadrants and geometrical squares. Most of the material had been published by Fine about twenty-five years earlier in Protomathesis, and this volume is essentially an update. The only real advance is that Fine apparently built very large instruments of four or five feet in size and thus was able to graduate them in finer detail than their simpler hand-held cousins. An illustration shows a geometric square with 120 divisions in the quadrant - a significant improvement over the usual dozen or so on the shadow scales of the smaller instruments. One illustration shows a mechanism for finding the heights of towers by observing their reflection in a mirror.

    After describing the use of quadrants, geometric squares and the Jacob's staff, Fine includes a section of areas and volumes, ending with an illustration of finding the volume of a wine barrel." - Erwin Tomash Library F63.

    The first book deals with surveying, the second with plane and the third with solid geometry. Fine's geometrical square is the forerunner of the proportional compass.  

    Adams F466. STC (French) 166. Graesse II: 580-81. USTC 152009. Poggendorff I:748. Brunet II:1261. Pettegree/Walsby:70645. Mortimer French 230. Erwin Tomash Library F63.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 604

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $621,865