Square and Ruler

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Names adopted by the inventor (in German, recht winckelmas and richtschentlein; in Latin, norma and regula; in Italian (Bartoli), squadra giusta and regolo).



Albrecht Dürer

Historic Period



Instrument for measuring heights described by Albrecht Dürer in his treatise on geometry: "Then take a square and with a nail, fix a rule to the end of one of its sides, so that it can move freely. Position the square on line 'ac' [ground line] so that its vertical side is parallel to the tower, and the eye behind it at point 'a', where the mobile ruler is fixed. Now point the ruler at point 'b'. After having found the exact point, mark the angle formed with the square and fix the ruler at that inclination. Then without moving it from that position, turn the square with the ruler over on the ground and mark on the side of the tower its height at point 'd'. In this way you will have formed two equivalent triangles: one vertical, 'abc', and one on the ground, acd. You will thus have determined the height of the tower on the ground line 'cd' ".

Bibliographical Resources

Dürer, Albrecht. Underweysung der messung mit dem zirckel und richtscheyt in linien, ebnen unnd gantzen corporen, durch Albrecht Dürer zusamen getzogen und zu nutz allen kunstliebhabenden mit zu gehörigen figuren in truck gebracht im jar 1525. Nürnberg, 1525, III, fig. 19.
Dürer, Albrecht. Albertus Durerus nurembergensis pictor huius aetatis celeberrimus, versus è Germanica lingua in Latinam, pictoribus, fabris aerariis ac lignariis, lapicidis, statuariis, et universis demùm qui circino, gnomone, libella, aut alioqui certam mensuram opera sua examinant propè necessarius, adeò exacte, quatuor his suarum institutionum geometricarum libris, lineas, superficies et solida corpora tractavit, ad hibitis designationibus ad eam rem accommodissimis. Pariis, ex Officina C. Wechelii, 1535.
Dürer, Albrecht. Underweysung der Messung, mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt in Linien Ebnen vo gantzen Corporen. Nürenberg, durch Hieronymum Formschneyder, 1538. Dürer, Albrecht. I geometrici elementi, traduzione di Cosimo Bartoli (1537), ms., San Pietroburgo, Biblioteca dell'Accademia delle Scienze, Sobr. Muzeja Prijenisej Skogo Kraia 69, edito a cura di Giovanni Fara, Nino Aragno Editore, Torino, 2008.


Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

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