Dresden – The Zwinger

As it turned out, the Residenz, the main museum in Dresden was closed the day I went to see it … but the Zwinger, the second main museum, was open … or most of it was. The bit with the Old Masters (paintings) was, of course, being refurbished and only a small selection were on display … but since old paintings, by and large, aren’t my particular thing, that wasn’t a big deal.

A proper ruler, at least in Germany, kept good records … and, to create many of those records, he needed many scientific and measuring instruments. One of the sections of the Zwinger contains all of those which belonged to the ruling house.

This is a magnetic compass, of course, and, as you can see, it is a gimballed one – that is, it is designed so that it will retain a stable orientation regardless of how its contained moves. Normally this would be used aboard ship – but, in order to carry out accurate surveys of their domains, rulers needed accurate measurements … and so a gimballed compass often accompanied them when they were surveying.
And, of course, they needed geometrical tools – but, being princely types, ordinary ones weren’t good enough … as you can see.
Pocket Sundials with corrections for various latitudes were also handy before the development of decently accurate clocks.
Likewise, weighing things was a necessity … and accurate fancied up Scales were part of the princely equippage.
And that’s probably about the only picture of me you’re likely to see. It does show, however, how piss poorly the lighting mixed with glass cases interact to make photgraphy virtually impossible in many cases. You’ll also note that, if you look closely, all of the photos here are fuzzy … no flash photos allowed and the rubbish lighting effects coupled with the glass reflections meant that exposure time was so long … a second or two … that I couldn’t get a decent focussed shot of, oh, pretty much anything.
A mechanical calculator – the type created by Blaise Pascal. IIRC this one was actually made in his French workshop and purchased by the ruler.

There were other collections in the museum, including the aforementioned Old Masters (which had nothing I was really interested in photographing) and the Porcelain collection – one of the rulers was a big collector and his descendants hung onto it …

This one’s for Jen! Chinese porcelain guardian cat in the Porcelain collection!
Chinese Temple Dogs
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