Astronomical Staffs

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Name coined by the inventor.



Antonio Lupicini

Historic Period



Instrument used for astronomical, architectural and topographical measurements, invented and described by the Medicean engineer Antonio Lupicini. It is composed of two rods approximately 70 cm long and 3 cm wide, engraved with various measurement scales. The rods could be kept open to form a square and held in this position by a third transverse rod called the "proportional fourth", allowing it to be used as archipendolo (Plumb level), gunner's quadrant or geometrical square. With the proportional fourth fixed at one end only, the verges serve as folding square and, when fitted with sights and a compass, could be used for surveying. They could be opened to form a single ruler, operating in this case, equipped with a special sight, as a cross-staff (Jacob's staff).

Bibliographical Resources

Lupicini, Antonio, Discorso sopra la fabrica, e uso delle nuove verghe astronomiche, Firenze, Appresso Giorgio Marescotti, 1582.
Capra, Baldassarre, La nuova architettura militare, Cremona 1717, Tomo I, lib. IV, cap. VIII, p. 200: “La presente Verga serve à pigliar le lontananze, le altezze, e larghezze, et ancota a squadrare i Campi, per fare le loro misure…”.

Links (External) (Italian) (Scans of the italian book “Discorso sopra la fabrica e uso delle nuove verghe astronomiche” written by Antonio Lupicini in 1582).


Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

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