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Two men independently rediscovered the sextant around 1730: John Hadley (1682-1744), an English mathematician, and Thomas Godfrey (1704-1749), an American inventor. A sextant is a navigation instrument used for measuring angles, primarily altitudes of celestial bodies. Originally, the sextant had an arc of 60°, or 1/6 of a circle, from which the instrument derived its name. Because of the double-reflecting principle used, such an instrument could measure angles as large as 120°. The image shown is of an early sextant by John Bird which was invented in 1759. The frame is mahogany with an ivory scale. It is so large and heavy that it needed a support that fitted into a socket on the observers belt.