A Walter Hayes brass universal equinoctial ring dial combined with a surveying plate,   English,  third quarter of the 17th century,
Lot 69
A Walter Hayes brass universal equinoctial ring dial combined with a surveying plate,
English, third quarter of the 17th century,
Sold for £12,500 (US$ 16,700) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Walter Hayes brass universal equinoctial ring dial combined with a surveying plate,   English,  third quarter of the 17th century,
A Walter Hayes brass universal equinoctial ring dial combined with a surveying plate, English, third quarter of the 17th century,
The plate signed W. Hayes fecit the universal equinoctial ring dial is mounted between two vertical 'L'-shaped struts themselves screwed and steady-pinned to a circular disc that can turn within a degree scale engraved on the base-plate fitted with three levelling screws (one missing; the central pivot screw and washer replaced). The scale reads to 1° by numbered groups of 10° in four quadrant in each of which the 90° position is represented by one of the cardinal points. One of the struts is pierced beneath the screw to carry the line of a plumb playing in a circular aperture at the base. On the North side, the circular plate is extended through a double lobe on each side to provide a straight edge. The dial, which is mounted, like the struts, by wing nuts so that it can be dismounted for use and ease of transport, has a meridian ring engraved with four quadrants divided to 1° by numbered groups of 10° and subdivided to 30' for latitude setting on the obverse, and a 90° scale for a 'nautical ring' reading to 30' on the reverse. The graduations of this scale are radial from a small hole in the blank part of the ring opposite where a small pin gnomon (lacking) could be set for making altitude observations when the instrument is suspended at the appropriate latitude via a sliding index/suspension piece (lacks suspension ring). The equinoctial ring is engraved with a double hour scale on reading to fifteen minutes. The bridge is engraved on one side with a month calendar, on the other with a declination scale, 20-0-20 also reading to 30'.

Detached from its stand, the dial can be used in the manner usual to equinoctial ring dials to find time throughout the day. When mounted, if one postulates an index against which to set the dial for latitude, placed at the centre of the base plate where the axis pin has been replaced, it could be used as a standing dial and perhaps also as a declinatory. The engraved lettering of the ring dial and the base is very similar without being identical. Both are probably late 17th century; that both are by Walter Hayes is likely but cannot be affirmed just as the date at which they were combined cannot be determined, base plate, 7in (17.5cm) diameter

Footnotes

  • For a simple theodolite by N. Huguet, Orléans, similar in form to the base plate of this instrument, see Olivia Brown, The Whipple Museum of the History of Science: Catalogue 1 Surveying, Cambridge 1982, No. 58.

    Walter Hayes (b.1618, d. pre-1696?) was the son of Peter Hayes, merchant of Chichester. Apprenticed to John Allen in the Grocer's Company 22 February 1632, he became free 14 June 1642. He first worked in Birchin Lane, Cornhill, but by 1651 was established 'at the Crosse-Daggers in Moor-fields, near Bethlem Gate' (or the 'near the Pope's Head Tavern'), where he would remain for the rest of his life. Hayes entered the Clockmakers' Company in 1668 and held several positions in it before becoming Master in 1680. The following year he was Warden of the Grocers' Company as he was again in 1686. Hayes produced the full range of mathematical instruments in wood, brass and silver, and enrolled fourteen apprentices. He was also closely associated with the writers and publishers of mathematical textbooks in particular with William Leybourne advertising his instruments in his works and engraving some of the plates with which they were adorned.

    Literature:
    Joyce Brown, Mathematical Instrument-Makers in the Grocers' Company, 1688-1800, London, 1979, pp26-7; pp65-7.
    H. K. Higton, 'Hayes, Walter, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004.
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