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The sextant was designed for maritime navigation to determine the angle between the sun and the horizon. Invented in the 1930s by John Hadley (1682-1744), an English mathematician, and Thomas Godfrey (1704-1749), an American inventor, it quickly replaced the astrolabe and the octant as the principal instrument used for navigation. A sextant is made up of a small telescope, to focus on the horizon, two mirrors (reflecting the image of the sighted object), shades (for the sun), a moving arm and a scaled arc. The scale of a sextant has a length of ? of a circle (60º), hence the sextant's name.
Brass sextant with rosewood box elegantly decorated with brass inlays.