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    Bauer's book, was Re: Newton and Halley
    From: Nicol�s de Hilster
    Date: 2007 Nov 23, 18:05 +0100

    Scott Owen wrote:
    > Mike,
    > I freely admit my knowledge of this subject as limited to what I have 
    > read in CDR Bauer's book, "The Sextant Handbook" of which I hope the 
    > good CDR does not mind me quoting rather liberally.  As to whether or 
    > not he is a reliable source I leave that to your opinion. IMHO he seems 
    > to treat this subject fairly and objectively on pp 25-35.  
    Today I read Bauer's book and took a copy of Chapter I (A Short History) 
    with me. As most of you know by now I am specialised in the early 
    history of navigation (1590-1700), researching mainly the wooden 
    instruments (the astrolabe is the exception on that rule) before the 
    octant arrived.
    Bauer starts off with the Polynesian latitude hook, giving his chapter a 
    promising start (although he might have mentioned the use of 
    hand/fingers for altitude measurements). He then continues with the 
    Kamal (skipping the earlier Chinese version of that instrument), before 
    going over to the astrolabe. It is from that point on were he misses 
    virtually every aspect of the instruments that follow up to the 
    nocturnal. So his ideas of the astrolabe, the cross-staff and 
    backstaff/davis quadrant do not reflect proper research, even when 
    taking in account the year he published his book (figures 1.7 and 1.8 
    even show us a Davis Quadrant with the horizon vane assembled in the 
    wrong way). I could try to sum up the errors/omissions in his text, but 
    that might take more words than he spent on those instruments in total.
     From the nocturnal on the text seems to be more consistent with 
    history. There is also an increase in quotes showing that he did 
    research that part more thoroughly.
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