A scarce French and signed sundial compendium in ivory, gilt-brass and ebony, c1866

A scarce French and signed sundial compendium in ivory, gilt-brass and ebony, c1866



Lenght of the box : 13 cm



Categories: Microscopy, Surveying Instruments & Mining, Portable Sundials


An ivory, gilt-brass and ebony spirit level, compass, rule and magnifying glass/microscope, French, 1866 signed on the reverse Brevete Cicile Larbre A Reims S.G.D.G, the ebony and ivory dial of slender cylindrical form with gilt-brass fittings.


The upper face of the dial with a veneer of ivory with magnifying glass to one end adjacent to a magnetic compass, and a spirit level to the center. 

The ivory veneer is engraved with two sets of hour lines one for the morning Matin and one for the evening Soir. 

At one end of the dial is a hinged gilt-brass calendar scale the height of which can be adjusted according to the month, the scale is surmounted by a pin hole sight. At the opposite end is a hinged gilt-brass sighting vane. 


The reverse of the dial has an ivory veneer engraved with a 10cm rule. 

Contained within a leather covered fitted case, with blue velvet and blue silk lined interior. 

This form of compendium being made from ivory and ebony is a deluxe example. Lesser examples were made in boxwood.”(See, Sotheby’s auction, Masterpieces from the time Museum 13-14 October 2004, number 794). 


François Cicile-Larbre is an “inventor” established at Reims in France between 1850 and 1870. 

He developped and patented some new technical/scientific instruments in all fields. This portable/traveling sundial compendium is certainly one of the most  famous. 

This portable compendium sundial was patented in 1866 and built during a very short period. 

A scarce French sundial in luxuous material. A rarity in perfect original condition

-For an other luxuous example in tortoishell and ivory see the 2004 Sotheby’s auction cited. I also owned recently a second example in tortoishell and ivory : http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.794.html/2004/masterpieces-from-the-time-museum-n08039

-For a lesser example in boxwood without case, see Tesseract catalogue 33, number 22 in 1991. 

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FR Le Zograscope

Established by Alexandre Piffault in 2014 and based in Paris, Le Zograscope specializes in antique and rare books in Science, Medicine and Technology, and rare antique instruments in the same fields. We have especially a strong interest in early and continental microscopy, early and special mathematical/drawing instruments, medical and surgical instrument, and rare technology.

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