Manthey's Photograph Gallery - Surveying Instruments

A collection of photographs of compasses, transits, and other surveying tools.

All photographs were taken by and are copyright 2001 by David William Manthey. Click on a photograph to see a larger version.

There pictures are all from the Charles E. Smart collection owned by the New York State Museum. They were photographs solely for my own edification. This collection is currently archived in the Museum's warehouse. I was allowed to look and carefully handle them.

The instruments are presented in approximate chronological order.

Semi-circumferentor, made by John Potter in 1785. This is item US21 in the Smart collection. The wood on the base is worn, but the woodwork was obviously top quality. The entire instrument still works perfectly (except for the missing hairs), with the needle readily responding when the lifter is dropped. There must originally have been a card with markings in the trough compass.
Top view of the circumferentor Top view with the index turned Bottom view. The thumb screw operates the needle lifter Trough compass Side view. Note the folding sights
Outside of the sight Outside of the sight End view Informational card made up when the semicircumferentor was on public display Oblique view with the index partially turned
Top view Edge view. The indices don't stand quite straight End view showing the trough compass Indices partially folded End view
Close up of blade of index Blade on index and trough compass Top view of compass One of the sights Index turned around 90 degrees

Vernier compass, made by William Davenport between 1802 and 1829. This is item US8 in the Smart collection. Perhaps it is just the needle lifter, but the needle looks off center.
Overview of the compass Top view. Note that the main base of the compass is cast Face and limb detail Level and sight base detail. Note the off center mount at one end of the level Outside of sight, including original vertical hair
Inside of sight Bottom, including needle lifter screw and vernier screw Vernier End view Face and vernier detail

Improved Compass, made by Andrew Meneely between 1841 and 1850. This is item TR3 in the Smart collection. This compass has levels such that it can be turned on its side and used as a clinometer to measure vertical angles.
Overview of the compass The fine calibration adjustment mechanism The calibration vernier Flower de luce and the compass face. Note how the limb has marks on both the top and on the inside Inside of one of the sights. Note the level for use when the compass is on its side
Outside of one of the sights Side vernier Levels. The left one is used for both upright and sideways positions Flower de luce and the compass face Outer limb and side vernier

Transit, made by Pike and Sons between 1841 and 1854. This is item US13 in the Smart collection.
Overview of the transit The opposite side of the transit Eyepiece end of telescope Level mount and telescope detail Top view of level
Vernier Side of limb Base Another view of the base Vertical limb and telescope
Another view of the base Objective end of telescope

Transit, made by King and Sons between 1841 and 1858. This is item ST51 in the Smart collection. I'm not sure of the purpose of the post on the wooden base.
Overview of the transit Vernier and face Vertical limb Objective end of telescope Eyepiece of telescope. Also note the protective cover on the level
Fine adjust mechanisim, face, and levels Rack and underside Levels Another view of the fine adjust mechanism Overview of the transit

Surveyor's vernior compass, made by Phelps and Gurley in 1851. This is item TR33 in the Smart collection.
Overview of the compass Face of the compass and one level Calibration vernier Calibration vernier Inside of sight
Outside of sight Side view

High-post alidade, made by Gurley in 1914. This is item TR42 in the Smart collection. This is attached to a plain blade for use with a plane table. Surprisingly, the blade has no scale on it.
Overview of the alidade Eyepiece of telescope, part of limb The vertical limb and vernier, level, and telescope The front of the telescope, with lens cap Back of the limb showing the fine and coarse adjustment methods
Overview of the alidade from the back Detail of how the post is attached to the blade Top back view

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