Object Detail

Used by sailors, this instrument determined the latitude of a ship at sea by measuring the elevation of the sun from the horizon. Placed over the shoulders with the user's back to the sun, the angle of the sun could be cast through a slit along a graduated scale on the curved arc at the opposite end. Made from ebonised fruitwood, this backstaff, c.1790.
Collection Type
Date Made
Late 18th Century
670 x 365 x 130mm
130 x 43 x 18mm
122 x 39 x 33mm
120 x 38 x 30mm
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Accession No

Object Type