Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Medieval Astronomical and Timekeeping Instruments
(Fall 2004)

Introduction: For this workshop I have brought instructions and materials for you to make two different time keeping instruments typical of the 11th-13th centuries. Before we begin the projects I will show you some instruments I have made which illustrate the operation of these instruments in terms of astronomical observations and phenomena. I will also discuss briefly some of the techniques I have used in making them, and relate how my methods compare to techniques current in the late Medieval period. You will find additional details about these instruments and techniques on my web-site.

I have brought three instruments that I have made over the years: an armillary sphere (a Ptolomaic, or Earth-centered, model of the Universe), a planispheric astrolabe (a combination observational tool and 2-D model of the heavens), and a torquetum (a complex observational tool, which also illustrates different reference frames useful for astronomical observation). Detailed descriptions of these instruments are available via the instrument page on my web-site. All of these instruments are fabricated from copper and/or copper alloys.

Projects. Two simple projects were constructed during this workshop. These projects are illustrated along with instructions for construction and sample calculations via the links below:

Workshops Medieval Science & Scientific Instruments


© R. Paselk
Last modified 18 October 2004