Theodolite by Andreas Albrecht

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Has no specific name.



Andreas Albrecht (?-1628)

Historic Period



Original instrument of the German mathematician Andreas Albrecht designed for both surveying and perspective purposes, as stated in the title of the treatise describing its operations: "Accurate description and design of a particular mechanical instrument, useful and necessary fixed to a drawing desk which can be very advantageously utilized for land surveying, measuring fortresses, heights and depths, land and water, as well as for perspective ". The operations of this theodolite are described in the book that accompanied the instrument. The compass mounted on the cover of the book was used for topographical measurements like any surveying compass, but also for measuring angles in constructing fortresses with regular or irregular outer walls. The half-disk with altimeter scale, plumb bob and diopter was used instead to measure heights, distance and depths, as well as to level terrains and build aqueducts. Lastly, the two elements together, the compass and the altimeter scale, were used in perspective drawing, through a complex procedure of converting linear measurements into angular measurements.

Bibliographical Resources

Albrecht, Andreas. Eygendliche Beschreibung und Abriss eines sonderbaren nutzlich und nohtwendigen mechanischen Instruments: so auff ein Schreibtafel gerichtet welches zum Feldmessen zum Vestung aufstecken zum höh und tiefen messen zum Land und Wasser abwegen desgleichen zur Perspectiv gar füglich zu gebrauchen ist. Nürnb., Simon Halbmayer bibliop., 1625, figg., 10, 11, 12, 13.

Albrecht, Andreas. Andreae Alberti duo libri. Prior de perspectiva, cum & praeter arithmeticam inventa posterior de umbra ad eam pertinente. Noribergae, apud Pauli Furstij, b.m. viduam et heredes, 1671, cap. V, figg. 72-73, 86-89, 97-100.

Existing Instruments

Firenze, Museo Galileo. Istituto di Storia della Scienza, inv. 150.

Links (External)

Teodolite di Albrecht .
Andreas Albrecht.


Author of the entry: Filippo Camerota

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