Antique scientific instruments are fast becoming collector’s items, yet they differ from other art objects in that their function markedly dictates their form. Though old instruments are often masterpieces of craftsmanship and may be beautifully embellished, they are primarily for use, not decoration. They provide a measure of the intellectual achievement of the age in which they were made. They are ideas made into brass, ivory and wood. From the 17th century onwards, instrumentation was increasingly used in all scientific activity. A few instruments survive from the eariy period, but most are in museums, and are very valuable because of their rarity. However, from the 18th, and particularly the 19th century, a wide variety of inst,ruments remain, many of which are within the’reach of the modern collector. In fact those in good condition can often actually be used by the collector.