Antique Scientific Instruments

Learn more about Antique Scientific Instruments

What is a Scientific Instrument?

Scientific instruments cover a broad spectrum from astronomy, time, navigation, sundials, surveying, drawing and calculating, optical, weights and measures and medical instruments.

The earliest instruments were concerned with astronomy, such as armillary spheres and the astrolabe, and are recorded as far back as the Greek times. The humble sandglass is thought to have been invented in the Mediterranean area as early as the twelfth century.

Scientific Instrument Features

When and Where Were Scientific Instruments Made?

Scientific instruments have been produced from a very early age but only began to be produced in significant numbers from the seventeenth century, and it was not long before they were becoming collectors’ items.

Although they may be masterpieces of craftmanship and beautifully embellished, their function is of greater importance than their appearance. They were intended for use not decoration. They appeal first to the mind and give a measure of the intellectual achievement of the age in which they were made.

Scientific Instruments for Sale

A large number of scientific instruments have undergone a great deal of alteration over the years and as such prices of scientific instruments are influenced by condition, originality and authenticity.  The best advice which applies to buying any type of scientific instrument is to be vigilant and go to a reputable experienced dealer.

Olde Time Scientific Instruments for Sale

Olde Time stock a wide variety of scientific instruments including, sextants, telescopes, quadrants, compasses, scales, armillary spheres, protractor’s, theodolites, surveyors’ levels, whimshurst machines etc.

Scientific Instrument Maintenance and Repair

In order to keep your scientific instrument looking as good as new, here are some maintenance guidelines:

  • Keep the instrument out of direct sunlight and avoid excessive hot or cold temperatures.
  • A weekly feather dusting or cleaning of the casework with a mild natural beeswax or crystalline wax will help to remove fingerprints and a build-up of dust from the case. Crystalline wax is a mixture of refined waxes, blended to a formula used by the British Museum to revive and protect valuable furniture, leather, paintings, metals, marble, etc. It is available to buy from Olde Time.
  • Never use household cleaners or abrasives of any kind to clean any part of the scientific instrument.

An antique scientific instrument should only be cleaned and overhauled by a specialist restorer.  Never attempt to clean or repair a scientific instrument yourself.

Celestial Tabletop Globe

Celestial Globe

Victorian Sextant by Crichton Brothers of London