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Brass Reflecting Circle: Gambey, 19th Century

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  • Author: Henri Gambey
  • Date: 19th century
  • Medium: Brass circle with calibrated silver ring, dual verniers and swivel
  • Condition: Very Good - patina and minor scratches with age
  • Inches: Stand is 14 1/2" tall, diameter of circle is 10 1/2"
  • Centimeters:  36.83 [stand height], 26.67 [diameter]
  • Product ID: 2057

Brass reflecting circle produced by French inventor Henri Gambey (1787-1847). Gambey was the son of a watchmaker and the most talented French precision instrument maker of his time. He worked with many scientists both within France and abroad to invent and perfect various scientific instruments. Following his death, his family and employees ran his store in the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis until around 1855.

Reflecting circles are complex navigational instruments which were developed in the eighteenth century to determine longitude. Invented by German astronomer Johann Tobias Mayer, the instrument proved an important stepping stone to the invention of the sextant, and remained in use through the nineteenth century.