& 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.
& 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
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.
Transits / Theodolites by Young / Buff & Buff / Berger / Dietzgen
/ Lietz & Misc. Makers
Lietz 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!!
Bausch & Lomb
Surveying Transit Bausch & Lomb
is most famous for their line of binoculars
and other optics but ventured in to the surveying instrument field after George N. Saegmuller,
the inventor of the solar attachment that bears his name, joined the company in 1905.
They stopped making instruments for the general public during WWI so they were
not in the surveying instrument business for long. There is a nice history
on the company at the
This transit has the logo the company adopted after 1907 and dates
from right around that time period. The transit comes in the proper original box.
It is a large, heavy, and
overall nice condition piece. All motions are free, optics OK but not really crisp, good
bubbles, crosshairs, etc. Box is nice.
G. 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
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.
/ Kassel Mining Suspension Theodolite in Box
This unusual instrument is NOS never been used. It appears it was sold
through K & E and dates from the 70's. There is a translated set of
instructions for use and a K & E bulletin announcing their carrying the
product is included. Basically it
is a theodolite designed to be hung upside down from preset points installed
in mines or tunnels.
I found another in a collection with a good
I did not do a good job of showing the knuckle joint like attachment on the
bottom that one would use to mount it from the ceiling of the mine or
tunnel. Different, Unusual, and Very Nice!!
Breithaupt & 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!!
Young / Maker Philadelphia TransitA
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.
Young ALUMINUM TransitA
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 they sold out to K & E in 1918
The use of Aluminum in surveying instruments, because of the light weight, is
quite unusual on instruments this early. Aluminum was
still a relatively new material to work with and had drawbacks in use.
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 vernier. Good optics w/ crosshairs.
It comes in the original box. The fixed leg wooden tripod, with an
Aluminum head is included as well.
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
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.
& 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 4½" 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.
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.
H. M. Pool Survey Transit H. M. Pool was
from Easton Mass. Pool was born in 1803, and according to Smart's bio on him
his working dates were from 1828 till his death in 1878. He is best
known for his compasses, and very few transits by him are known. This
a large, heavy, well built instrument with a very graphic look.
The scope measures approx. 9" and the plate is 6 3/4". The compass
needle is 4 1/2". The compass works as it should. All motions are free and move smoothly.
The bubbles are good. The optics clear, and crosshairs are present.
The box is in nice condition. It has a Thaxter label on the door.
Thaxter was both a distributer and maker during this period. The
transit fits inside, barely. There is no mounting ring on the
bottom plate for it to attach to.
& 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 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 this one 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.
The overall condition of this example is every nice. Both level vials are
good although one is blue and one a later clear replacement. 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.
Whitney Surveying Compass The Compass Directory site puts Thomas
Whitney's working dates at
from 1798 to 1823. He was based in Philadelphia PA.
Whitney was a prolific early maker with an interesting history including
the fact that he made instruments for the Lewis & Clark
expedition. William Young apprenticed to him for 7 years before
becoming famous in his own right. The
serial number on this compass is 381.
It is listed in the data base of known instruments he made, and it is dated
as from 1818 in that info. No box. No issues. Good
& E / Keuffel & Esser Dumpy Level This K & E Dumpy is in very good overall condition.
It looks to have seen little use. The serial # is 125338 which
according to the dating chart available online dates make it
from the end of 1952.
The optics are
good, crosshairs present. Black crinkle finish is 95% or better. The box is present and nice
as well. A
nice user or display piece.
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
motions are free and smooth. The scope is approx. 10" long. The box is solid and shows age
and wear. Nice!!
High Post Alidade in Box The serial # of
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
motions are free and smooth. The scope is approx. 10" long. The box is solid. No key. Nice!!
Lutz 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!!
25 Inch "Railroad" Wye Level This is an
unusually long wye level at 25" 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. From the label in the lid of the box it appears this
was used in South America. Levels with extra long scopes
like this 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.
Precise Engineer's Level J. C. Sala was
a San Francisco based California instrument maker who worked for and took over
John Roaches business after he died. This level looks to be a specialty
precision level with a very sensitive precise level vial mounted atop the scope. A
typical Dumpy levels vial would not be as sensitive and was typically
mounted beneath the scope. Good optics, crosshairs are present, and
the finishes have appropriate wear. A bit different and unusual. A
nice display piece.
Gurley Wye Level This Gurley Wye
Level is double marked with the name Dietzgen, another drafting supply & instrument maker and distributer in the
early 20th century marketplace. This level must date
from before Dietzgen began produced their own line of instruments and were just
distributers or marketers of them. The instrument itself is pretty nice
with no issues. The box has led a rough life. Painted and the lid has been
refitted / flipped and the hinges reattached. The Gurley label
inside the lid is still present. A
nice display piece.
Pair of World War II Era Mark V English Heliographs
This pair of World War II Era Mark V English Heliographs are in nice condition and pretty complete.
are basically signaling mirrors on stands that were used as a means of communicating over long distances by
reflecting light back and forth between the mirrors. Morse code, or other
codes were used. Early versions date from the mid 19th century. The English were still using them into the 1960s.
Wikipedia has a long detailed write-up that fully explain their history and use.
The entire setup includes two
tripods, 2 mounting brackets, 4 mirrors, 2 leather cases, 2 cans of
replacement mirrors, and 3 articulated arms - w/ one being an extra.
The tripods are marked as shown
in the last pics. Note how the legs are shaped in such a way that when
folded up they form a circle. The original leather cases are also
marked. One case has dividers inside, the other does not.
A very nice and interesting piece of surveying history that are becoming very hard to find.