Object Title

Gunner's quadrant

Gunner's quadrant



Object Number



From the General Peuker Collection, sold in Brussels, 28-30 August 1854, Lot 242.

Physical Description

The dial is shaped like an axe blade and is balanced by a hammer face on the opposite side of a quadrangular socket. The dial is pierced and etched with a design of acorns and two rampant lions supporting a crowned shield bearing the monogram IHSZ. A pivoted pointer or pendulum marks the degrees of elevation on a quadrant etched on the edge of the dial, this being calibrated from 1 to 12 and from 1 to 10 outwards from the centre. On the opposite side the edge of the dial is inscribed in Gothic script: PRINCEPS IULIUS DUX BRUNSWIGENSIS ET LUNEBORGENSIS ME FIERI FECIT HENRICOPOLI ALIIS IN SERVIENDO CONSUMOR 1585. The socket is etched with the Fire-steel badge of the Order of the Golden Fleece and with the date 1585. The staff of rectangular section, is strengthened with steel strips running full length, these being etched with divisions headed BLEI, EISEN, STEIN, SLAGGEN, giving the diameter of lead, iron, stone and slag shot for a given weight. The ferrule at the base of the staff has a flange cut with a V-shaped notch while the neck of the hammer face which backs the dial is pierced with a longitudinal hole to form a peep sight. The gunner sighted the target through the peep sight using the notch in the ferrule as a fore sight, the elevation being read off the scale, presumably by an assistant. The staff was then placed in the bore of the gun which was elevated until the pointer registered the same elevation on the quadrant



Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976.

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: arms and the man, Leeds, 2009,


Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg, 1528-89, invented slag shot made from compressed iron slag. The Duke made frequent use of the motto ALIIS IN SERVIENDO CONSUMOR ( I spend myself in the service of others) and it was engraved on his weapons ( see 'Catalogue of Brunswick Exhibition', Tower of London, 1952; Laking, 'Windsor Catalogue,' 1904, No.338). The ducal monogram ISHZ OR HISZ (for Julius Herzog) is reversible and can be read as IHZS ('Jesus hilf zur Seligkeit'). It appears also on pistols made for the Duke's Guard; one is in the Armouries (No.XII.1076). Henricopolis was Heinrichstadt, the then new part of Wolfenbuttel in Brunswick, named after Julius's father Henry. It is possible that this quadrant was made to the design of Johannes Krabbe of Hannoversch-Munden who became the Duke's mathematician and astronomer in 1585. There is an almost exactly similar quadrant in the Army Museum, Warsaw (Muzeum Wojska Polskiego), Inv. No. MWPX 266. The quadrants were discussed at length by Viscount Dillon in 'Proc. Soc. Ant. Lond.' XVII (1898), 211. Their use is described by Robert Ward in 'Animadversions of Warre', 1639, chap. 50.