Galileo’s Instruments of Discovery

With these various instruments, Galileo Galilei was able to look into space and change our view of the universe.

Galileo Galilei invented the geometric and military compass. It was his first commercial scientific instrument. (Franklin Institute)

Telescopic Theodolite

Galileo telescopic theodolite
(Franklin Institute)

The theodolite, used in surveying, consisted of one telescope fixed on one side of a disk and a second telescope that rotated on the opposite side. This theodolite belongs to the Medici collection, but there have been other famous users. Thomas Jefferson purchased one in 1778 and later wrote that "the measure of angles, by the wonderful perfection to which the graduation of instruments has been brought… removes nearly all distrust from that operation."


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