Davis Quadrant or Backstaff - ROM2006_6304_1


Davis Quadrant or Backstaff

Maker: Unidentified maker
Medium:Boxwood and brass
Geography: England, UK
Date: c. 1700-1725
64.8 (height) x 36.0 (width) x 6.5 (depth) cm
Object number: 958.9.1
Credit Line: Gift from the Estate of William Eason Humphreys
On view
Gallery Location:Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada
DescriptionAdvances in navigational instruments facilitated global exploration and trans-oceanic travel. The quadrant measured the distance of the sun or a star, which was used in turn to calculate latitude and the geographical position of a ship. The Davis quadrant, invented by Captain John Davis (c. 1550–1605), allowed the observer to avoid looking directly at the sun while measuring. It became the standard navigational instrument of British seamen for the next 150 years.
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