Object 109: Intricate Instrument

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Note markings on the wood

Note markings on the wood

Size: Table Lamp

Recorded: May, 2014

Found: (hidden)

Material: Wood and Brass

Circa:  17th Century

Made: Germany

Status: Known

Needs one other thing to work

Needs one other thing to work

This attractive object is an example of a fairly common device, but this particular example is odd in that it wasn’t made for practicality so much as to solve puzzles. It is functional, and could be used today for something useful.

Hint 1: 

Spoiler

We have better tools for this purpose today.

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Hint 2: 

Spoiler

As displayed, the item is useless.

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Answer:

Spoiler

It’s a polyhedral sun dial, but it’s a bit weird. Found at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, it was built by Oronce Finé about 1650, and it was meant more to solve the puzzle of fitting a few dozen sun dials on one object rather than become and actual time piece.

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3 Comments

  1. Looks like a sundial designed by someone who’d had a few too many at the local tavern and wasn’t sure just how to proceed.

  2. This reminds me very much of a sundial I saw on the grounds of Sans Souci in Pottsdam. I think this device may have been used in designing sundials.

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