Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Medieval Scientific and Philosophical Instruments
(Summer 1999)

Introduction: For this workshop I have brought instructions and materials for you to make three different instruments typical of the Medieval period. Two of them, the cross-staff and the quadrant will be useful if you come to this evening's star-gazing for measuring the positions of celestial objects. Before we begin I would like to show you some instruments I have made, and 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 a number of instruments that I have made over the years for your inspection: a cross-staff, a navigational astrolabe, a planispheric astrolabe, an armillary sphere, and a torquetum (see the instrument page on my web-site). With the exception of the cross-staff, described in the handout, all of these instruments are fabricated from copper and/or copper alloys.

Projects. Three 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 16 August 1999