William Cary1760

Naval Museum

Naval Museum
Madrid, Spain

This instrument was used to calculate inaccessible distances and heights, measure horizontal angles, draw charts or topographic maps, and make trigonometric calculations.

It has a semicircle calibrated from 0 to 130 degrees with a cut-out center. An alidade rotates around a small cut-out circle. The base is bordered by a graduated ruler used to mark minutes on the edge and note down the angles from topographic measurements. To create charts, it was used on a board of approximately one meter square, supported on a tripod, on top of which the paper that was to be drawn on was laid.


  • Title: Protractor
  • Creator: William Cary
  • Date Created: 1760
  • Location Created: London, England
  • Provenance: This transporter was made by William Cary, a world-famous artisan scientific-instrument maker from England whose products were sold as far afield as India and Russia. It was given to the Naval Museum of Madrid collection by Baroness de Peltres in 1964.
  • Type: Scientific Instrument
  • Original Source: Museo Naval Madrid.
  • Rights: Museo Naval, Madrid - All Rights Reserved
  • Medium: Brass and cristal
  • Length: 14,5cm
  • Height: 3,3cm
  • Depth: 11cm

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