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    Frisius's Improvements to the Radius Astronomicus, or Cross-Staff

    Reinerus Gemma Frisius. (1508-1555). De radio astronomico & geometrico liber. In quo multa quae ad geographiam, opticam, geometriam & astronomiam utilis sunt, demonstrantur. Paris: G. Cavellat, 1557. Second edition. Octavo. Cavellat's small woodcut device on title and his large woodcut device on verso of last leaf, many woodcut illustrations and diagrams. (Upper blank margin of title repaired, a few illustrations trimmed at fore-edge, short tear to a7). Modern vellum.

    Second edition of Gemma Frisius's work on an improved cross-staff, with illustrations. Frisius created or made improvements to many scientific instruments including the astrolabe and astronomical rings in addition to the cross-staff. His students included Gerardus Mercator (later a collaborator), Johannes Stadius, John Dee, Andreas Vesalius, and Rembert Dodoens.

    Frisius's nephew Arsenius made another version of the cross-staff, from brass, that was transported by John Dee to England, and Tycho Brahe in his Astronomiae instauratae mechanica said that his observations relied on the instrument. The modification of the cross-staff directly influenced the northern navigations in the 16th century (Waters, The Art of Navigation in England in Elizabethan and early Stuart Times page 135). Renouard Imprimeurs Cavellat 124. Van Ortroy Gemma Frisius 124.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
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