Instrument for Measuring Sea Depths

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Has no specific name.



Leon Battista Alberti

Historic Period

ca. 1450


Instrument described by Leon Battista Alberti in the Ludi matematici [Mathematical games] for determining the depth of the sea. An iron bar bent in the shape of a "7" is hooked to a floater and dropped to the floor of the sea. When it reaches the bottom, the iron bar settles and frees the floater, which returns to the surface. The time elapsing between the floater's disappearance into the water and its reappearance on the surface is measured with a sort of hour-glass consisting of a vessel from which water falls, drop by drop, into a recipient below it. From the amount of water, equivalent to a determined length, the depth of the sea can be computed.

Bibliographical Resources

Alberti, Leon Battista, Ex Ludi rerum mathematicarum, in L.B. Alberti, Opere volgari, a cura di Cecil Grayson, Laterza, Bari, 1973, III, pp. ??


Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

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