Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Replica Instruments

A note on materials: I am an inveterate "recycler" and the materials used for the instruments I construct often reflect what I have on hand at the moment. Thus, although brass is the most common traditional metal for instruments, and has the best working/use qualities, a number of instruments are fabricated from copper because I was given a large sheet of 14 G copper. I have also used bronze (from cast plaques) because it was available, though in this case I also find it exceptionally attractive and easy to work. If you are purchasing metal brass is generally your best choice. If you are on a budget, I strongly recommend periodic trips to your local salvage yard, building up a stock of metal as you find it.


Astrolabes are probably the the sini qua non of ancient instruments. They have been collected for centuries, and forgeries have been made for centuries, though genuine, working, astrolabes were made in Islamic countries up through the nineteenth century. For background information on astrolabes a number of books are available. Some which I have used extensively are listed among the references for this site. The Astrolabe site on the Internet provides a brief essay on the astrolabe, museums having astrolabe collections, a history of the astrolabe, and finally, astrolabe links, references, and reproductions, including a "personal astrolabe" available for a fee made by that site's creator.

Armillary Sphere


Sun Dials


Cross Staff

Dry-Card Box Compass

Water Clock

Workshops Medieval Science & Scientific Instruments


© R. Paselk
Last modified 2 May 2014