Twelve-inch quadrant by John Bird

Made:
1760-1769 in London
maker:
John Bird

Twelve-inch quadrant on pillar stand with two plumb bobs, two glass beakers and two detachable reading microscopes, by John Bird, Strand, London, England, 1760-1769. This instrument has its original mahogany case. This type of quadrant was used by Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook during his first voyage of exploration aboard HMS Bark Endeavour (1768–1771).

Quadrants such as these were used to measure the altitudes of the Sun and stars. Lieutenant James Cook took an instrument similar to this – possibly this very one – on his expedition to the South Pacific island of Tahiti, from where he was to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun in 1769. Upon arriving on the island, Cook’s party used their quadrant to set the time of their astronomical regulator clock, and to determine precisely the position of their observatory.

On display

Science Museum: Science City

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1876-572/1
Materials:
brass and glass
Measurements:
overall (Object total): 640 mm x 450 mm x 270 mm,
overall (quadrant height only): 304.8 mm
type:
quadrant - optical
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • measuring device - instrument

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.