Dip circle used to study the earth’s magnetic field at Parramatta Observatory

Made by Gambey a Paris in Paris, France, 1800-1840.

This dip circle or inclinometer almost certainly came from the Parramatta Observatory where it was used for studying the Earth’s magnetic field. It is listed in the 1825 and 1847 lists of Parramatta instruments as well as being mentioned in research papers on magnetism by observatory staff.

A dip circle measures the inclination of the Earth’s magnetic field compared with the horizontal. In contrast a magnetic compass points horizontally, but the magnetic field is only horizontal at the equator...

Summary

H7507
Inclinometer, (also called dip circle or dipping compass), metal / wood / glass, made by Gambey à Paris, Paris, France, [1815-1818]

An inclinometer used to indicate the vertical direction of the earth's magnetic field. The inclinometer or dip circle consists of a horizontal circle with a graduated scale engraved on its surface. The horizontal circle is fixed to a tripod with adjustable legs. A brass platform attached to the horizontal circle supports a brass level and a vertical brass frame. The level has a glass window in the top through which liquid can be viewed. One side of the level has corroded and become detached from the brass plate. The vertical frame holds a vertical circle with a graduated scale engraved around its edge. Balanced in the centre of the frame is a needle that is pointed at both ends. A square wooden and glass frame surrounds the circle of the inclinometer.

Observatory stock number 212.

Dimensions

375 mm
340 mm
225 mm

Production

The inclinometer was made by Henri Prudence Gambey in Paris, France between 1815 and 1818.
Gambey a Paris 1800-1840

History

Sir Thomas Brisbane who founded Parramatta Observatory spent 1815 to 1818 in Paris with Wellington's victorious army after the Battle of Waterloo. During that time he purchased the Breguet and Sons clock H9890, another important item that he eventually brought to Parramatta. It is likely that Brisbane purchased the Gambey dip circle at that time as well.

The Gambey dip circle came with other Parramatta Observatory instruments to Sydney Observatory in 1858 but it's association with the historic Parramatta Observatory was forgotten when Sydney Observatory disposed of the old and unused instrument to the NSW Government Stores in 1964. In turn Government Stores transferred the equipment to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences but no history or provenence was recorded.

The association was rediscovered in 2009 when a member of the public, Ms Sharon Rutledge, who had studied Parramatta Observatory, contacted Dr Nick Lomb, Curator of Astronomy with information that a Gambey dip circle had been listed in the 1825 and 1847 lists of Parramatta instruments as well as being mentioned in research papers on magnetism by observatory staff.
Parramatta Observatory 1825-1847

Source

Gift of Government Stores Department, 1964
30 June, 1964

Cite this Object

Dip circle used to study the earth's magnetic field at Parramatta Observatory 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2017, <https://ma.as/248651>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/248651 |title=Dip circle used to study the earth's magnetic field at Parramatta Observatory |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display at the Sydney Observatory.
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