Meeker's
Mechanical
Nature Antiques
Larry and Carole
Meeker

Purveyors of Americana
Patented & Mechanical Antiques
www.Patented-Antiques.com

patentedantiques@gmail.com
Orders / Inquiries / Questions

530-748-7297
(ORDERS ONLY)

Antique & Vintage
Surveying / Surveyor Instruments & Tools

Keuffel & Esser / K & E Transits


K & E / Keuffel & Esser # 5081 1/2 Engineers Mining Transit w/ 5Aux Scope & AttachmentsK & E / Keuffel & Esser # 5081 1/2 Engineers Mining Transit w/ Aux Scope / Tripod & Attachments in Original Box  This is a very nice condition Engineer's Mining Transit. It is in near mint original condition. The black crinkle finish is 95% or better and near pristine noting just a few minor scuffs. It looks to have seen little use.  All motions operate smoothly. The silvered compass face is flawless, and the 3 1/2" Gold compass needle swings north. Cross hairs are present in both scopes. 1 white plastic vernier scale cover is missing. NO other apologies. The nice collapsible leg tripod is included as well.

The serial # 124,320 is found on the box, the horizontal plate of the instrument and is on the second scope as well. That dates this mining transit from 1952 according to the charts available at www.surveyhistory.org.The K & E marked loupe, plumb bob, oiler and more are all present. Note how the plumb bob comes apart and is made to hold a second tip. An unusual feature that is not seen very often.

Mining transits were developed for use in mines or places where the user would need to shoot a line where the plate would be in the way. The scope could be mounted on either the top over the main scope, or on the outboard side. The counterweight is also present.

This graphic, rare & desirable surveying instrument will display very nicely in a mining related collection or a number of other settings. Very Nice!!

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SR-KE-5081-HF

Fine +  . . . . . . $1450.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com






K & E / Keuffel & Esser c. 1919 # 5070 Engineers Mountain & Mining TransitK & E / Keuffel & Esser c. 1919 # 5074 Engineers Mountain & Mining Transit  This model and style transit with its unusual 3 screw leveling base is very rare. In catalogs it gets an asterisk with explanation that it is only available through special order. K & E called this style of transit off as "Extra Fine" & The serial # is 38611 dating it from 1920 or so.  The tag on the door says the needle is calibrated for Buenos Aries Argentina.  There is a tag on the box that also indicates it came from South America. Note that it has 2 auxiliary magnifiers to allow for a more precise reading of the extra fine scales on the different vernier scales.

All motions and thumbscrews operate smoothly. The silvered compass face is near flawless, and the 3 3/4" compass needle swings north. The black oxidized finish is mostly fine. All three level bubbles are good and appear to be original. The optics are clear and good.

There are a few minor apologies. The door on the box has been remounted on the opposite side of the opening. Not sure why and no apparent reason. There is one vertical and 2 horizontal crosshairs. One crosshair above the center horizontal crosshair is broken or unattached. Also, the protective outer cover or guard for the vertical circle / vernier scale is cracked. I see no damage to the wheel itself. Finally, there is a small dent on the end of the scope as pictured.

This rare & desirable surveying instrument will be a highlight of the well rounded surveying instrument collection and will display very nicely in any number of settings.

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ARG-KE-5074

Good +  . . . . . . $795.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com






K & E / Keuffel & Esser 12" Wye LevelK & E / Keuffel & Esser 12" Wye Level This small K & E wye level is in very nice condition.  The serial # of 15517 would date it from 1908 according to the dating chart found online.  Its matte green lacquer finish is very nice.  No issues, no apologies.  A Genuine and nice display piece.

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AMN-KE-12WYE

Fine  . . . . . . . $225.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com


W. & L. E. Gurley Instruments
Transits / Levels / Alidades & Compasses


Gurley 22 Inch Railroad Wye LevelGurley 24" Inch "Railroad" Wye Level This is an unusually long wye level at 24" overall.  Note how it is designed to be stored in the box as two pieces. The serial # begins with a 28 dating it from 1928. The label in the lid of the box is in Spanish and so it appears this was used in South America.

Levels like this with extra long scopes were used to layout long level lines in the field for railroad track, roads, and the like. The rear eyepiece has to be held and twist tension applied for the rear focus to work properly and not skip. The crosshairs are good, and the optics are OK as well. The scope has been polished. A nice display piece. 

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GV-G25-WYE

Good +  . . . . . . $495.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





Gurley Expedition Size Alidade in Leather Covered BoxGurley Expedition Size Alidade in Leather Covered Box   The serial # of 272026 would date this from 1927. It is in good condition. Crosshairs present, optics good.  Good bubble. Compass works.  All motions are free and smooth.  The scope is approx. 10" long. The box is solid and shows age and wear.    Nice!!

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SR-G-ALI-27

Good +  . . . . . . $175.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





Gurley High Post Alidade in BoxGurley High Post Alidade in Box  The serial # of 521532 would date this from 1952. It is in very good condition. Black crinkle finish on scope is good. Crosshairs are present, optics good. Good bubble. Compass works.  All motions are free and smooth.  The scope is approx. 10" long. The box is solid.  No key.    Nice!!

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GV-G-HPALI-52

Good +  . . . . . . $225.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com


Transits / Theodolites by
Young / Buff  / Berger / Dietzgen / Lietz & Misc. Makers


Buff & Berger Bevel-Limb TransitBuff & Berger Bevel-Limb Transit This large & graphic Buff & Berger Bevel-Limb Transit is a rare instrument.  It is in very good overall condition. There is no serial number but given the Buff & Berger inscription pre-dates the partnership breaking up in 1898. This style transit with a beveled limb made the back cover of the 1897 Buff & Berger catalog and was also offered in a few later Berger catalogs after the Buff & Berger partnership dissolved in 1898. A renamed version still commands the back page of the 1908 Berger catalog I have. I had one other Buff & Berger bevel limb transit 15 or so years ago and have never seen another offered for sale, or in other collections. That other one I had came from a direct descendent of the original makers family.  The catalogs that had this transit as the back cover featured the also rare double standard mining transit they offered.  Given such prominent placement was not by accident.  It is a very special piece.

It is one of the few American instruments produced with a beveled limb on the horizontal circle. The write up in the catalog explains why the idea was not utilized for long, why so few were produced, and why it was not promoted as a "new improved better idea". Bottom line, it was difficult and expensive to produce, very fragile, and prone to wear out or get damaged. The write up further warns that repairs would cost several times more than on a typical instrument with flat plate vernier scales. The catalog description goes on and on about all the draw backs, and ends with the statement "To our mind bevel graduations should be confined to exceptional cases and to larger instruments read by micrometer microscopes. Marketing at it worst. It is a wonder anyone ever bought one given the catalog write-up.

The scope is 12" long, and the compass needle 3 /34" long. The brass areas have a nice even natural patina. The optics are good. There is one vertical crosshair. All motions operate smoothly. The needle swings freely and points north. All level vials are good. The box is period and made for the instrument but is sort of crudely done to be factory. It has a 3 point leveling system, and the proper tripod with some minor repairs is included.

One of but a handful known. This rare beveled limb transit will display very nicely and has a great graphic look and patina to it. Very Nice!!

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DOYL-BBBL-TRAN

Fine  . . . . . . $1895.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





A. S. Aloe Optician / St. Louis Mo. Transit w/ French CrossA. S. Aloe Optician / St. Louis Mo. Transit w/ French Cross This is an odd form transit that instead of having a typical horizontal plate, has what is called a French Cross, a drum like device w/ a compass, several sighting slots and a revolving features, below the scope. Below that is a small 4 point leveling base. It all fits tightly & neatly into the box shown in the pics.

The French Cross is inscribed with the Aloe name, St Louis Mo. location and his occupation, Optician. At different times Aloe offered other makers work, including Gurley pieces and ones of French manufacture. He marked many of them as if he was the maker. A. S. Aloes working dates are from approx. 1860 to his death in 1893. After that the company continued with various owners. 

Typical French crosses are devices to help the user find right angles. There are sighting slits in the body at 90 degrees to each other.  It also has a silvered scale.   It is unusual to find one combined with a transit scope, and especially with an American makers name. An interesting and nice display piece.

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AMN-ALOE

Fine  . . . . . . . $495.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com




Lietz Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary ScopeLietz Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary Scope This Lietz Mining Transit is in very good overall condition. The A. Lietz Co. of San Francisco stopped making instruments around the beginning of WWII and opened up shop shortly before the turn of the century. The name info is under the glass below the north point on the compass face. The serial # is 6402. Records indicate it dates from 1914.

Note how the both ends of the scope axles have threaded caps for mounting a second scope and counterweight on the opposite side.  There are also attachment points on the top and bottom of the scope.  The black finish is 90% or better and the brass areas have a nice even patina. The optics are OK, and crosshairs present. The box is present and nice. It will display very nicely and has a great patina and graphic look to it.  Nice!!

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GV-LIETZ-MINE

Good +  . . . . . . $2250.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





G. W. Wilson Concord New Hampshire c. 1877 Transit TransitG. W. Wilson Concord New Hampshire c. 1877 Transit This unusual Engineer size Surveying transit is in very nice condition. Smarts book has a short Bio on G. W. Wilson, an early New England maker, but scant other info comes up with Google searches.  He is not in the Smithsonian 's list of makers, nor listed in the Compass Makers Directory.

Note the very unusual pillar style round standards. They have a great look and are a near unique feature for transits.   All the bubbles are good.  Compass points north and the compass face is nicely engraved.  Nice even patina. Also included is the correct and proper taper leg tripod (not pictured).  You must view the pics to see how nice and different this instrument is from the typical instruments from this era.  The compass is clearly marked with the maker name and location as well as the 1877 date.   A nice piece that will fi into many different collections.

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TMK-WILSON-T

Good +  . . . . . . . $1995.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com






William Young / Maker Philadelphia TransitWilliam Young / Maker Philadelphia Transit  A very early and nice example of William Young's work. Young is credited with producing the first surveying instruments known as transits in the 1830s.  The serial # of this transit is 3859.  The Smithsonian has a very similar instrument in their collection with a serial # in the three thousands that they date as being from the 1850s.

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AH-YOUNG-T

Good + . . . . . $595.00 

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





William Young ALUMINUM TransitWilliam Young ALUMINUM Transit  An unusual and nice example of William Young's work. Young is credited with producing the first surveying instruments known as transits in the 1830s. The serial # of this transit is in the 8000s thus dating it from shortly after the turn of the century and before Young sold out to K & E in 1918 or so.

The use of Aluminum in surveying instruments, because of the light weight and being non-magnetic is quite unusual on instruments this early. Aluminum was still a relatively new material to work with and had drawbacks in use.  It was soft, and at this point in time was pretty brittle and prone to cracking.  As can be seen some parts are in brass as well, and the contrasting materials, and finishes, give it a very pleasing look.

The transit has been cleaned and adjusted. The motions are OK noting some stiffness in the main plate. Good optics w/ crosshairs. It comes in the original box. The fixed leg wooden tripod, with an Aluminum head, is included as well.

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ALA-YOUNG-AT

Fine . . . . . $1250.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





Queen & Co. Aluminum Transit w/ Tripod This is an unusual light mountain size Aluminum transit by the well known PA maker Queen & Co. Aluminum transits by any maker from this period are pretty unusual. According to information provided by the well known surveying instrument collector Mike Beal, it is only the 2nd known Aluminum transit known by Queen. The serial # is 5505. It weighs a mere XXXX. Similar instruments in brass would weigh close to twice as much.

The scope is 8" long and the plate measures approx. 5 1/2. The needle is 4". The compass face has a great looking patterned finish that is very unusual. It also has an unusual 3/4 vertical arc as opposed to a full circle or 1/2 circle that one would normally see. Another unusual feature is the tripod mount.  It is a clamp on style as opposed to the typical threaded mount. The optics and crosshairs are good. All motions are free. Bubbles good.  It has a great look with its near all aluminum construction and just the screws and a few aux. pieces in brass.  An interesting and nice condition instrument for the collection that will make for a nice display piece.

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GV-QUEEN-ALUM

Good +  . . . . . . $1250.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com





Young & Sons Aluminum Transit w/ Smith Solar AttachmentYoung & Sons No. 10 Aluminum Transit w/ Smith Solar Attachment This is a rare Young solar transit with an unusual Smith Patent Telescopic Solar attachment. This transit is called off as No. 10 in an early Young catalogs. The patent for the solar attachment was first granted in 1880. This example is an improved model that was patented in 1902. The 8513 serial number on the compass face indicates it dates from shortly after the turn of the century.

It has a 4" horizontal circle, a 4" silvered vertical circle, a 3.3" needle, and a 10" main telescope. The brass telescope on the Smith solar unit is 7" long, and is inscribed "Pat Sep 16, 1902." There is a counterweight that mounts on the standard opposite the side with the solar unit. All motions are free and move smoothly. The compass works as it should. Note that there is a vernier scale on the outside plate, and another under the glass.

Young's use of Aluminum for many of the different parts of the transit is very unusual for an instrument from this time period.  Although quite a bit lighter than Brass it was also quite brittle and prone to crack.  Its formulation had not yet been perfected to alleviate that problem. There has been a repair done to an aluminum part of the leveling head that can be seen from the bottom.  A brass ring has been epoxied to the aluminum bell shaped housing part of the leveling head as it was cracked.  That seems to have fixed the problem and it mounts to a tripod with no issues.  The transit fits into the lift top box with the solar attachment in place. The box shows age but is OK.  The proper tripod is available for an additional $200.00. 

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GV-YOUNG-STRAN

Good +  . . . . . . $2850.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com






Breithaupt & Sohn Cassel TheodoliteBreithaupt & Sohn Cassel Theodolite  This small transit / theodolite was manufactured in approx. 1898 by F. W. Breithaupt & Sohn, in Cassel, Germany (today's 'Kassel'). The scope is 8 1/4" long. The total height is 12". The magnetic compass is 3" diameter, with a 360 degree silver ring. The needle is 2" long. It seems complete, including the double vernier vertical circle w/ magnifiers. Bubble levels are good. It has a three leg leveling head and beveled limb or plate. A beautiful instrument that will display well.  Nice!!

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GV-CASSEL

Good +  . . . . . . $695.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com



Surveying / Surveyor
Compasses / Solar Compasses / Telescopes


Antique W. & L. E. Gurley Aluminum Solar CompassW. & L. E. Gurley Aluminum Solar Compass  Gurley Aluminum Solar Compasses are amongst the rarest of the rare in antique surveying instruments. Gurley made an aluminum version of their solar compass for just a few years starting in the 1890s and only a handful are known to exist or thought to have been produced. Gurleys' use of Aluminum during this time period was very unusual.  Aluminum was a relatively new material whose characteristics had not been fully developed, nor understood, or had been perfected. The finished compass, while much lighter than one made of brass, is also much more fragile. Aluminum from this period was very brittle and prone to crack.

One Aluminum Solar Compass came to market at Skinners Auction 15 or so years ago and brought over 17K. I was told it later sold for 60K. There is another example currently on eBay as of Sept 2020 priced at 24K. The author of that ad, a well known authority on antique surveying instruments states that his is one of only a few others known. That would make this the 3rd or fourth known example.  I had another collector tell me of a couple others he was aware of. 

I went inside looking for a date or maker info. I saw no date info. The number 14 was stamped under the plate.  The Burt Solar Attachment is also stamped # 14.  It could be a serial # or have another explanation. There were some other marks and scratches inside, but they appeared to be reference marks related to assembly.

Inside the original fitted box, in the top compartment, is a dead mint 1920 Gurley Catalog and some other Gurley marked material from the same era. The catalog is still in the original mailing envelope. There are also some newspaper scraps used for packing that are dated 1920. I believe the compass itself dates from the 1890s, some 20 - 30 years earlier, and that the instrument with the 1920 catalog went into storage around 1920.W. & L. E. Gurley Aluminum Solar Compass Rare Antique

The overall condition of this Aluminum Solar Compass is very nice. Both level vials are good although one is blue and one clear. All motions and adjustments turn freely. There are two bases. One is a brass leveling head, and one a more typical brass knuckle joint for mounting the compass to a tripod. The striding level is present as is the adjustment bar. The striding level is full, but appears to have a hairline crack in it.  There are also two small sight vane attachments with a fitted spot in the box. The tops of the sight vanes are different designs, one rounded and one w/ a peak.  The cutouts, patina, and finish match on both and I believe they are "right".  One thing to note is that the holes through the aluminum plate under both sight vanes have been slightly enlarged for some reason.  This Gurley Aluminum Solar Compass is an amazing instrument that will fit into many different collections. A rare opportunity.

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RS-GUR-ASCOMP-3

Good + . . . . . . $17,500.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com






<br><br><br><br><br>William Young Surveyor / Surveying Compass William Young was an early well known Pennsylvania instrument maker. This compass is a pretty nice example with a nice even unpolished patina. It is a pre Civil War era piece dating from the 1850s.   The serial number found on the compass face is 3318. There is no box. The one apology is the circular level vial is dry. A nice display piece.

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AMN-YNG-COMP

Good  . . . . . . . $495.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com


Misc.
Plain Tables - Sextants etc..


Lutz Tripod & Plane Table w/ CaseLutz Tripod & Plane Table w/ Case These are like new and appear to have never been used. Probably government surplus or from a school engineering program. There is a NSN number on the canvas case, but it means nothing to me.  Nice!!

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GV-PLN-TBL

Fine  . . . . . . $395.00

To Order Email:  patentedantiques@gmail.com


We buy quality Antiques in this and other categories of Antiques.

To view examples of the types of antiques and collectibles we have previously sold
and are always interested in buying please visit our Past Sales Archive Pages at our sister website www.AntiqBuyer.com.

BACK to Surveying


Dating Your Surveying Instrument

Here is a link to a website that can help you date your Transit / Level or other Surveyor's Instrument.
http://www.surveyhistory.org/how_old_is_my_instrument.htm



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Larry & Carole Meeker