Meeker's
Mechanical
Nature Antiques
Larry and Carole
Meeker

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

Contact Us At
AntiqBuyer@gmail.com


Antique American Surveying Transits

Past Sales Archive

This is just a sample of the many antique surveying instruments we have sold.
Click link to see other Past Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Surveying Related Antiques Contact Us.

Special Note Concerning Prices Seen Below:
Most prices seen reflect actual sale results from this website.
Prices seen span a long period of time and may not reflect current values.  Some are selling for more, many now sell for less.
On some pieces you will see no price, or a price range, with or without an explanation.  The reasons for that are discussed on the FAQ page.

Our current offering ofAntiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.


Buff & Berger #11 Theodolite / TransitBuff & Berger # 11 Theodolite / Transit  This  unusual special use surveying instrument is in excellent condition. The partnership of Buff & Berger was formed in the 1870's and dissolved in 1898.  Each partner went their own way, and opened up new shops under the names Berger & Sons, and Buff & Buff.

The scope on this unusual instrument is 11"  long and the image inverted.  The optics are crisp and clear.  The end plate on one side is marked City of Boston St Laying Out Department.  In reading from a Buff & Buff catalog from this era it can be seen that this style theodolite was designed specifically for this type of application.  Road building that is.  An interesting feature is that the caps on the end of the scope axles can be swung out so that the scope can be lifted and reinserted 180 degrees so that one could shoot a line to the rear without disturbing the set-up of the base. This design was necessary as the scope can not be turned in a full circle when mounted because the optics were such that the scope is too long to do that.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original.  There are two magnifiers over the vernier scales to help with reading the fine graduations on the silver scales.  There is no tripod or box. 

A large, graphic and rare instrument that is in very nice condition and will be a highlight of any display or collection.

Good + . . . . . . $500.00       SOLD!!




George Shilling - Washington DC Surveying TransitGeorge Shilling - Washington DC Surveying Transit  An interesting instrument made by a little known but documented maker who was born in Norway in 1844 and first opened up his own shop in Washington DC in 1875.  There is a short bio on him at the Smithsonian site who own several of his instruments, in Smarts book on Surveying instruments, and some more info at the SurveyHistory.org site.  The info found indicates the government was his best customer, and that he died about the time of WWI. 

The optics are OK, but one of the 3 horizontal crosshairs has broken. That has affected the vertical crosshair.  All the motions are free and move well enough. The level bubble on the plate is broken, the one on the plate is OK.  It came in a box, but it is not original.  For some reason the vertical circle is not marked off in degrees.  The edge is silvered and tarnished, but there is no increment markings on it.  A mystery.  It has a nice patina, and will display nicely as it sits.

Good  . . . . . $395.00        SOLD!!






Weiss & Heitzler Prismatic Scope TransitWeiss & Heitzler Prismatic Scope Transit This is a very unusual transit.  The maker mark, Weiss & Heitzler Instrument Co. Denver Colo. and the patent info of June 1908 can be found under the glass on the compass face.  Paul Weiss was born in Switzerland, and moved to the United States in 1881. From 1906 to 1910 he worked in partnership with Frank Heitzler, whose patent (#891,773), dated June 23, 1908, described a telescope with two prisms making it substantially shorter than telescopes ordinarily used with surveying instruments at the time.  The scope on this transit measures under 7" and is of the type described.  There are short Bio's on both Weiss and Heitzler in Smarts book on surveying instruments, and all of that info was derived from that.

The Smithsonian has a transit / instrument that looks very similar to this one marked Weiss & Heitzler in their online collection. They show, and refer to the binocular style scope like this transit has, but get the patent date / number wrong.  The correct patent for the offset scope with prisms, much like a binocular is Pat. 891773 - June 23 1908.  Heitzler pulled another patent,  US Pat. 946602 - Jan 18, 1910, for a mining transit with a very unusual feature of a sliding standard so that the transit could be used for mining purposes when the standards were shifted to the edge of the plate.  There are no known examples of that transit known.

The overall condition is fine.  Parts of this transit like the screw base and parts of the scope are made of Aluminum.  Most of the rest is brass.  The scope is approx. 7" long.  The compass needle 3 1/2" and working.  The finish, a mottled bronzing, is factory and in super condition.The optics are clear and not inverted.  The crosshairs, 3 horizontal and one vertical, are present.  The vertical circle is 4" Dia.  All motions are free, and operable and smooth.

This is an interesting and rare transit that would be a fine addition to any collection of surveying instruments.  Opportunity Knocks.

Good +  . . . . . . . $995.00         SOLD!!





Ainsworth Light Mountain Mining Transit in Box Ainsworth Light Mountain Mining Transit in Box   This is a nice looking light mountain size transit by Ainsworth of Denver Colorado. Ainsworth was a major western maker and supplier for the mining industry in the western states,  The axle for the main 9" scope is threaded on both sides to take a second mining scope and counterweight. That scope and counterweight are missing.

The overall condition is nice. Cross hairs are present, and the optics are good.  All bubbles are full.  All motions are free and smooth.  The compass points north.  A pretty rare instrument that would be a standout if the missing scope could be found.  Different, and Nice!!

Ainsworth Light Mountain Mining Transit Ainsworth Mining Transit Ainswort Transit

Good +  . . . . . . $550.00    SOLD!!




Antique Explorer Transit Expedition Size Transit w/ Aux. Compass & Tripod  This is a super condition rare & unusual miniature antique surveying instrument. The scope on this tiny transit is only 4" long. There are two tags in the lid of the box.  One from the San FranciscoAntique explore Transit w/ Compass instrument maker Lietz and one from Schwalb Hermanos who I believe was a large distributer in South America and also had an office in France. I see no marking on the instrument itself but am confident that it is French or European and not US made.

The aux. compass mounts over the top like a striding level.  Note that West is called off with a O.  Also note the beveled limb on the plate.  The tripod legs are hollow and the extension leg slides up into the larger portion.  A neat design.  The box measures approx. 6" square.  The plumb bob is a two piece affair,  I assumes so that it will stop swinging quicker given the extra weight.  The optics are good, and crosshairs are present.  A super display piece for the science / technology antique collection or home decor.

Fine . . . . . . $800.00    SOLD!!






Lietz Aluminum Solar TransitLietz Aluminum Solar Transit   This is a rare transit form in a rare material for surveying instruments from this period.  Lietz was the premier maker of instruments in California and the west coast.  They first opened for business in the early 1890s.  This solar transit has a serial # 1690Lietz Aluminum Solar Transit  which according to Uzes's book on surveying instruments would date it from pre 1906 Earthquake era in San Francisco.  Lietz first opened their doors in the 1890s in San Francisco CA and offered some innovative instrument designs to compete with other more established makers and satisfy their customer base on the West Coast.  

The solar transit is shown on the left w/o the attachment, and on the right with it in place.  It is being sold either way as I also have a Bausch & Lomb Solar Transit that this attachment fits on.  The Saegmuller type solar attachment is unmarked as to maker and is housed in a separate box.  (see last few pics)  There is no provision in either transit box for an attachment so it would be proper to go with either instrument as it would be something special ordered according to the users preference.

The transit is in overall very nice condition. Some of the motions are a bit stiff from sitting for so long, and it needs to be lubed and cleaned. The transit optics are good and so are the solar attachments.  A rare instrument that will display nicely in a number of collection themes.  Very Nice!!  

Fine  . . . . . . $2250.00 w/ Attachment     SOLD!!





C. L. Berger & Son Engineer TransitC. L. Berger & Son Engineer Transit This is a nice looking Engineer size Surveying transit that is in in nice condition.  Good Patina.  No condition issues. There is no box.  A nice piece that will fit into many different collections or decors.

Good +  . . . . . . . $350.00        SOLD!!







W. & L. E. Gurley Transit w/ Smith Solar AttachmentW. & L. E. Gurley Transit w/ Smith Solar Attachment   This W. & L. E. Gurley transit is equipped with an unusual form solar attachment known as the Smith Solar Attachment named after the inventor who was issued his patent in 1881. Solar transits are one of the most desirable and sought after of all surveying instruments to be found. They are graphic, historically important, rare, and represent an important aspect of surveying history.  This example dates from the 1950s and the end of the era for this design or style instrument before GPS and electronic instruments took their place. 

This instrument and the Smith Solar attachment are in like new near mint condition.  The serial # on the transit indicates a manufacture date of 1956.  The box is very nice as well.   All motions and the screws are free.  The compass works and the compass face is very nice. Also included is a brochure and an additional print out on the instruments use and proper setting up of it.  Also included is a Cox Stadia rule put out by Gurley.  This instrument once belonged to Bud Uzes, the well known surveying instrument collector and author of the book Chaining the Land.  There are two pictures of him using this transit on a job in 1989 in New Mexico.  

The idea behind solar instruments, either transits or compasses, was that in certain areas the magnetic deviation was so great, and the errors it could cause so great, that these unusual and significant devices were developed as a way to compensate for or alleviate this effect.  The Burt Solar attachment was first Patented in the 1830's to be used on solar compasses.  Gurley later bought the rights and offered this style attachment with their instruments.  Later on they also offered the Smith Patent version.  A solar instrument enabled the user to find a true reference or location using the horizon and the position of the sun instead of the standard method employing the compass. Even though the concept had been around and employed in seafaring navigation for centuries,Gurley Transit w/ Smith Solar Attachment very few of them were actually made for use in the field w/ transits or compasses. They are rare.

Each major surveying instrument maker made a transit that could be equipped with one form or another of these devices. The best known names in the surveying instrument field were Gurley and Keuffel & Esser, but Berger, Buff, Dietzgen, Lietz, Warren Knight, Sala, and others offered versions solar transits.  Different attachments are typically known by the name of the inventor, and the examples designed and developed by Saegmuller, Smith, Pearson & Burt being the best known solar attachments.  The Saegmuller, Smith and Pearson utilized small secondary  scopes, while the Burt design more closely resembled a octant or sextant in design and used a peep site. 

Rarely seen or offered for sale this transit will move your collection to the head of the line.  A super piece.

Fine   . . . . . . . $2750.00      SOLD!!





Buff & Buff Mfg. Co. Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment Buff & Buff Mfg. Co. Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment / Box & Tripod  This Buff & Buff solar transit is in exceptional condition. From the serial #28294 we can surmise this solar transit was manufactured in the 1920's - 1930's.   The Buff & Buff MFG. Co was formed after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century. The original firm of Buff & Berger split into two companies with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, hence the company names, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons found on those later instruments.

The transit has developed a nice even patina on the brass portions. The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit.  It has an image erect and the optics are good and clear.  Crosshairs are present. The 4" silvered compass works properly.  The silvered vertical circle is 4" and has an aux Stadia scale as shown.  All level bubbles are good, and there are 2 striding levels as well.  All motions operate as they should but this instrument should be gone through and lubed as some thumbscrews are "gummy" tight from sitting unused for nearly 100 years.  The solar attachment has an inverted image, and 4 crosshairs.  3 in one orientation and one intersecting.  The serial # on the box and instrument match. Even the leather strap is original and stamped with the serial # 28294. The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish. The counterweight is a molded piece of lead that is fitted between the standards on the opposite side in such a way as to save space and allowing the box to be smaller and easier to transport in the field.Buff Solar Transit

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location in the field without relying on the magnetic compass.  Magnetic deviations would adversely affect a magnetic compass and so they were not an accurate means to determine ones location in many areas. The idea with solar transits was to use the position of the sun and the horizon to determine ones location, much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points. The first patent for a solar transit was granted to Burt in the 1830's but many other variants were developed and patented afterward.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments. The Burt solar attachment was used on Gurley, Roach and other instruments.  K & E, Buff, Warren Knight, Fauth and others used the Saegmuller patent attachment.  Saegmuller Solar Attachments were a top mounted scope. (see below)  The Smith Patent Solar Attachment and the Pearson Solar Attachment mounted on the side of instruments and are both more unusual.

This is is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying or engineering related instruments.

Fine  . . . . .  $1995.00   SOLD!!





Buff & Buff Mfg. Co. Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar AttachmentBuff & Buff Mfg. Co. Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This Buff & Buff solar transit is in exceptional condition. From the serial #6625 we can surmise this transit was manufactured shortly after the turn of the century.  The Buff & Buff MFG. Co was formed after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century. The new company began their serial # at 4000. 

The instrument has a near perfect lacquered finish on the brass portions.  The original solar attachment is nickel plated and has a great contrasting look. The transits main scope is 12" long which would make this an engineer's transit.  It has an image erect and the optics are crisp and clear. The 4" silvered compass works properly.  The silvered vertical circle is 4".  All level bubbles are good.  All motions operate as they should. The serial # on the box and instrument match. The box is very nice. 

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location in the field without relying on the magnetic compass.  Magnetic deviations would adversely affect magnetic compasses and so were not an accurate means to determine ones location in many areas. The idea was to use the position of the sun and the horizon to determine ones location, much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points. The first patent for a solar transit was granted to Burt in the 830's but many other variants were developed shortly afterward.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments. The Burt solar attachment was used on Gurley, Roach and a few other instruments.  K & E, Buff, Fauth, Warren Knight and others used the Saegmuller patent attachment.  As evidenced by the other Buff Solar listed, a buyer could order different style solar attachments of his choice.

This is is a rare surveying instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of engineering related instruments.

Fine  . . . . .  $2550.00     SOLD!!





C. L. Berger Surveyors' No. 6 1/4-rs TransitC. L. Berger Surveyors' No. 6 1/4 Transit   A minty nice 70 some year old surveyors' transit in its original box. The serial # of 29060 would date it from approx. 1945.  Everything about it is nice. It looks to have never been used.  The black crinkle finish is near perfect. 

It is a large graphic instrument with a 11 1/2 inch scope.  The compass needle is 3 1/2.  Note the triple reading vernier on the 5" vertical circle.  Very Graphic, and Very Nice!!

Fine . . . . . . $395.00    SOLD!!




Seiler Builders Transit in BoxSeiler Builders Transit in Box   A super condition instrument that is NOS / Never been used.  This Seiler transit looks to date from the 60's.  Seiler began operations in the 1940s and  the company is still in business today.  They are based in St Louis MO.  They have moved into other related fields.  A history can be found at http://www.surveyhistory.org/st__louis_instrument_makers1.htm

This instrument is a clone to the K & E version offered above or similar instruments by David White, Berger, or others that are out there.  It is the design instrument I use to have and use for layouts and general work when I was a general contractor.  It served me well. This builders transit / level has a single spring loaded lever release on the side to turn it into a limited transit to shoot vertical angles.  It would be perfect for the casual user or builder and a better piece of equipment than Home Depot or Lowes peddles these days for more money. 

Fine . . . . . . $150.00     SOLD!!



A. Lietz San Francisco Mining Transit w/ Secondary Scope in BoxA. Lietz San Francisco Mining Transit w/ Secondary Scope in Box   A large graphic antique mining related surveying instrument with a 11 inch main scope and 7" secondary scope.  This good condition antique mining transit is in its original box and was made by A. Lietz California's premier surveying instrument maker and dealer. The black finish is very nice overall. The compass needle is 3 1/2.  The optics in both scopes is nice.  Lietz instruments are hard to date, but I would think this dates from after the turn of the century and pre WWII.  The box is solid.  Very Nice!!

Mining transits were used in situations where the operator had to shoot down vertical shafts or odd angles. When mounted on the side it projected past the plate to allow the user to shoot along that line.  Different manufacturers used different approaches to solve the problem.  Gurley's number for the secondary scope was #160.  Catalogs of the era show that it could be ordered to mount over the scope as well.  Other manufactures used the same means or slight variations on the theme.  Buff offered a rare version where the main scope could be released and moved into another position further out on the standards above the plate.  There is also a version with a leaning frame to allow for the same effect. They are much harder to find than a standard instrument and make a great display when set up. 

Fine . . . . . . $1495.00    SOLD!!






Umeco Model 200 TransitUmeco Model 200 Transit   This small transit looks to date from the 1960's or so.  I believe it is Japanese and marketed here by Lietz w/o that info anywhere to be seen.  Similar to Sokkisha instruments also marketed by them.  It looks to have seen little use. There is a US Forest Department tag on the box.  Part of the US Government procurement process no doubt.  Buy new to replace the little used older instrument, sell that instrument for pennies, store the new one for a while, then sell it for pennies on the dollar.  Repeat every few years.

Everything works and the optics are crisp and clear. It will make for a fine general purpose user. 

Fine  . . . . . . . $195.00       SOLD!!





Wild Heerbrugg T 16 Theodolite Transit Switzerland Wild Heerbrugg T 16 Theodolite Transit Switzerland    Top of the line in its day.  It looks to be in fine condition.  The literature that came with it indicated it was bought as a gift by a son for his father to use on the ranch property without the son realizing it has an inverted image, and so was traded in for something else more suitable for casual use and then sat on a shelf in the shops storage room for 40 years.  

Fine . . . . . . $325.00       SOLD!!





Buff & Buff Mfg. Co. Mining Transit w/ Box & TripodBuff & Buff Mfg. Co. Mining Transit w/ Box & Tripod  This Buff & Buff mining transit is in exceptional condition. From the serial  #9842 on the plate we can surmise this transit was manufactured in the first quarter of the 1900's. Mining transits were developed so that the user could shoot past the plate when sighting down a mine shaft. The second scope could be mounted on the top, or off one or the other side.

The Buff & Buff MFG. Co was formed after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century. The original firm of Buff & Berger split into two companies in 1898 with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, hence the company names, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons found on those later instruments.

The transit has has a matte green finish showing just minimal scuffs & wear at some high spots. The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit.  It has an erect image and the optics are crisp and clear.  The main scope has 6 crosshairs.  One vertical, 3 horizontal, and an X.   The smaller scope has a simple cross.  The silvered vertical circle is enclosed and read from the side window facing the operator.  All level bubbles are good.  All motions operate as they should with some stiffness from sitting for nearly 100 years. They could use a lube.  The serial # on the box and instrument do not match. The leather strap is original and stamped with a serial #.   It has a break or tear in it.  The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish with minor scuffs. There is a counterweight and several sunshades mounted on the base board.  The base board has the same number as the strap, which is different from the # on the instrument. The original Buff marked collapsible leg tripod is in fine condition and is included in the price. 

This is is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any mining, surveying, or related collection.

Fine  . . . . .  $2200.00    SOLD!!





Buff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment in Original BoxBuff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment in Original Box This unusual Buff solar transit came from the Bureau of Land Management and was used in the Pacific Northwest to check lines and boundaries on government properties. From the serial #24846 we can surmise this Buff solar transit was manufactured in the 1920's - 1930's after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century. The original firm of Buff & Berger split into two companies with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, hence the names, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons on later instruments.

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location without relying on the compass in the field.  Because of magnetic deviations compasses were not an accurate means to determine ones location in many areas. The idea was to use the position of the sun and the horizon to determine ones location, much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments. The Burt solar attachment which was used on Gurley Instruments, and the Saegmuller solar used on K & E instruments being the most frequently seen. Both of those types mounted on the top of the scope.  Smith Patent Solar Attachments mount on the side of the instrument and are much more unusual.

The instrument has developed a nice even patina. The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit.  It has an image erect and the optics are crisp and clear. The silvered compass works and is 4" with a tiny 2" needle.  The silvered vertical circle is 4".  All level bubbles are good, and there are 2 striding levels in the box as well.  All motions operate as they should. The serial # on the box and instrument match. Even the leather strap is original and stamped with the serial # 24846. The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish. The counterweight is a molded piece of lead that is fitted to the opposite side in such a way to save space and making the box smaller and easier to transport in the field.

This is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.

Good + . . . . . . $2450.00     SOLD!!



Berger Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment
Berger Mining Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment 
  This was the third surveying instrument I bought that has a provision for taking an auxiliary scope mounting either on top or on the side of the transit.   These auxiliary scopes were typically utilized in mining applications as a means to more readily determine locations and reference points, allowing the user to shoot straight down past the plate.

I have bought and sold a lot of transits and levels by various manufacturers over the years, and during that time saw very few surveying instruments that had this provision to take an auxiliary scope that this style of transit does.  This example showed up on eBay one day with a BUY IT NOWicon and I hit it just a couple of hours after it had been listed.  I figured I had done OK.  Over the next month or so 3 more  appeared on eBay, with each one bringing less than the previous.  One of them was in absolutely immaculate condition, and I was the underbidder, with the next lower bidder at a lot less than I paid for this one. The other in lesser condition after 10 daysAntique Transit bought just about what I paid for this example.  Is it a case of them not being rare, or did these examples come out of the woodwork so to speak because of the price paid for the first one, or was it simply a fluke of timing.  Over the years I have seen and / or been part of this kinds of scenario before.  Where you run into a pocket of something that was previously considered very rare, and suddenly there are a dozen or more of them available. The prices fluctuate, and are volatile for a while.  I have yet to figure out exactly where this instrument fits into this picture, but it is a very nice example and comes complete with its tripod and box.  The auxiliary scope is a different finish, but that is to be expected and not improper.

The counterweight is present, as well s two different style sunshades. The box is in nice condition overall. and there are three different labels glued to the inside. The overall condition is very nice, and I believe that this instrument was factory refinished at one point it is so nice.  All bubbles are good, and all of the screws and motions turn freely as they should.   The collapsible tripod is very nice as well and is included in this offering.

Good . . . . .$850.00        SOLD





Buff & Buff Mining Transit w/ Secondary ScopeBuff & Buff Mining Transit w/ Secondary Scope  This engineer size Buff mining transit is equipped with a second scope to allow the user to shot over the edge of the plate when it is aimed straight down.  The second scope can also be mounted on the outside of the transit on the main axle. This arrangement with 2 scopes was used inside of mines to help in the layout of tunnels and shafts.  I believe it dates from sometime just after the turn of the century. 

The vertical circle is silvered and graduated to 30.  So is the vernier on the plate. This graphic looking transit has a 4" compass needle. The compass works well, and the silvered face is nice.  The optics are clear and the cross hairs are intact.  The smaller scope has a cloud on the end lens.  It is also stiff when trying to adjust it, but it does focus, and its crosshairs are present.  There is no counterweight.  All other motions are smooth, and work properly.  The three level vials are full.  There is no box.   A very nice looking and hard to find mining transit that will display very nicely.

Good  . . . . . . .$950.00        SOLD





Buff & Buff Mining TransitBerger Mining Transit   This engineer size Berger mining transit is set up to accept a second scope to allow the user to shot over the edge of the plate when it is aimed straight down.  This arrangement with 2 scopes was used inside of mines to layout tunnels and vertical shafts. There is no second scope although the last pics show it with the scope from the instrument listed above to show what it would look like.

The vertical circle is silvered and graduated to 30.  So is the vernier on the plate. This graphic looking transit has a 3" compass needle and black face. The serial number is 17503.  The compass works well.  The optics are clear and the cross hairs are intact.  The counterweight is present and attached to the base plate.  It has a double telescopic effect when focusing it.  The front extends out in 2 stages.  There is also a thumbscrew near the eyepiece which does not operate or turn.  The eyepiece focuses by twisting and pulling it out so I am not sure what this motion is there for.  All other motions are smooth, and work properly.  The three level vials are full.  The box is nice, and has several paper labels inside.  A very nice looking and hard to find mining transit that will display very nicely.

Good + . . . . . . .$975.00        SOLD!!




Berger Transit Berger Transit  This transit will make for a great display piece.  The box is a bit torn up and the door needs to be reset.  It looks as if somebody started to refinish it and stopped.   Everything seems to be working OK.   The scope is approx. 10" long and the optics are clear with crosshairs present. The serial # 14783 as seen under the compass glass.  I believe it dates from the 30's or so.  The black crinkle finishes on the mostly brass instrument are original and OK.  They purposefully left some areas like the base and eyepieces in natural brass.  It has a 4" full vertical circle scaled to 30'.   There is a pad missing under one of the leveling screws on the leveling head.   

Note:  I have a nice fixed leg tripod that will fit this instrument.  It is a non standard size approx. 3 1/4 x 12.  It is offered separately for $125.00 additional.

Good  . . . . . .$650.00       SOLD!





Buff & Buff Surveyor's / Engineers Transit Buff & Buff Surveyor's / Engineers Transit   This is a nice looking surveying instrument by one of the best known makers of surveying instruments in America.  George Buff studied under and made instruments for a number of other makers before going into business for himself in the 1860's.  In the 1890's he formed the company Buff & Buff in New York and this company remained in business until 1980 or so.  This instruments design was their mainstay and was produced for over 70 years from the research I have seen.   The condition is very nice noting the missing eye piece end cover, the optics are fine, and a repair to the Mahogany box.  The serial # and patent date can be seen in the close-up of the compass face, which also shows how nice the finish is.  The finish on the instrument itself is super and original.  I believe it dates from the first quarter of the 20th century.

Good . . . . .$750.00        SOLD






Buff & Buff Engineer's or Builders TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's or Builders Transit   The overall condition and look of this surveying instrument from the famous Boston Maker Buff & Buff, which dates from the early part of the last century is second to none.  It is fully operational and all moving parts and adjusters move freely.  All 3 of the level vials are good.  The sight glasses are nice as well.  The Compass is operational, and its locking feature functions.  The clear lacquer finish is near perfect and original.  The green finish portions on the supports and wheel cover are in great condition also and add a great contrasting look.  The box is also very nice as well.  A super piece for display or the collection.

Good . . . . .$650.00        SOLD






Buff & Buff Expedition Size TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's Transit   The overall condition and look of this surveying instrument from the famous Boston Maker Buff & Buff is very nice.  It is fully operational and all moving parts and adjusters move freely.  All 3 of the level vials are good.  The sight glasses are nice as well.  The Compass is operational, and its locking feature functions.  The box is also very nice as well.  A super piece for display or the collection.

Good . . . . .$750.00        SOLD






C. L. Berger & Sons Engineer's TransitC. L. Berger & Sons Engineer's Transit   The serial # is 17,502, and this would date this surveyor's or engineer's transit / instrument from approx. 1930 or so.  The optics are clear, the crosshairs present, and the compass is functioning.  All other motions are free and operate as they should.  All level vials are full and appear to be original.  There are 2 small screws that hold the shroud over the vertical scale that are missing.  This instrument is currently housed a nicely done craftsman made box that fits it nicely. 

Good . . . . .$575.00        SOLD



Below is a short history of this company that comes from the Smithsonian's well done site and pictures some of their collection.  The link to that site is http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm

Berger

Christian Louis Berger (1842–1922) was born at Stuttgart, and was descended from men who made arms and armor for the royal family of Würtemberg. He apprenticed with Christian Saeger, a local maker of surveying instruments and analytical scales, and worked in other instrument shops in Germany and England. Moving to Boston in 1866, Berger worked for E. S. Ritchie & Son and then for John Upham. In 1871 he joined with George Louis Buff, and began trading as Buff & Berger.

In 1898, after an acrimonious dispute over the roles that their sons would play in the business, Buff and Berger parted company. Berger acquired the assets of Buff & Berger, began trading as C. L. Berger & Sons, purchased a 30-inch dividing engine from William Würdemann, built a new factory in Roxbury, and continued to produce instruments for engineers and surveyors. Although C. L. Berger & Sons remained successful throughout the first half of the 20th century, they could not adjust to the electronic revolution that swept the instrument enterprise in the postwar period, or compete with inexpensive instruments from abroad. The Chicago Steel Tape Company purchased the remains of C. L. Berger & Sons in 1995.




Buff & Buff Explorer TransitBuff & Buff Expedition Size Transit   After the partnership of Buff & Berger was dissolved in 1898 each partner went off on their own to form new instrument making companies with Berger going into business with his sons, as Berger & Sons, and Buff doing the same starting the new company of Buff & Buff with his sons.

This is a nice looking transit with a 8" scope which I believe would make it an expedition size transit . The serial number is 10,616, and I am not sure how Buff & Buff went about numbering their instruments after the breakup of the partnership. Berger just picked up where the two had left off, and from the look of this transit and figuring Buff did the same I would think this transit dates from near the turn of the century and before the 1920's.

All of the bubbles are good, and the compass functions. All the motions are free and turn properly. The crosshairs are present. The serial number on the base is the same as the instruments. It has a 4" silver vertical circle scaled to read to a minute. A great size transit and very nice looking instrument that will display very nicely.

Good . . . . .$450.00        SOLD






Buff & Berger Bevel Limb TransitBuff & Berger Bevel Limb Transit   This is a rare transit that made the back page of the 1897 Buff & Berger catalog.  It is one of the few American instruments produced with a beveled vernier at the edge of the plate.  The write up in the catalog explains why the idea did not last long.  it was hard and expensive to produce, and was very fragile.  One of but a handful known.

Fine. . . . .   SOLD







Buff & Berger #2 Light Mountain Size TransitBuff & Berger #2 Light Mountain Size Transit   The partnership of Buff & Berger was formed in 1871.  They were located in Boston, and were in business until 1898 when the partnership was dissolved and each party went off on their own to form new surveying instrument companies.   Berger went into business with his sons, as Berger & Sons, and Buff did the same starting  the new company of Buff & Buff.  There are Bios for both companies from Smarts reference book that can be found at the Smithsonian site if interested. 

This is a nice looking transit with a 9" scope which according to the catalog I have would make it a #2 size transit.   From the serial number of 175 it seems that this transit was made during the first few years of the companies formation in the 1870's.

The center yoke piece is made of a white bronze or brass and has a great contrasting look with the rest of the instruments darker patiniated brass contrasting with that color.  All of the bubbles are good, and the compass functions.  All the motions are free and turn properly.  The rear lens adjustment is tight and needs a lube to focus the crosshairs easier, but they are there.

A great size and very nice looking instrument from a maker better known for their larger instruments. Buff & Berger instruments are equal in quality and feature to anything Gurley or K& E were putting out during the same time period.  They were a well known and respected firm and this instrument is far rarer than a similar size instrument by either of those better known and more prolific makers.  It will display very nicely.

Good+ . . . . . .$450.00        SOLD!!






C. L. Berger & Sons Solar Transit w/ Pearson's Patent Solar AttachmentC. L. Berger & Sons Solar Transit w/ Pearson's Patent Solar Attachment   This C. L. Berger & Sons solar transit dates from right around the turn of the century.  It is marked on the compass face "C. L. Berger & Sons Successors to Buff & Berger Boston".  The serial # is 3249 which would date this from right around the turn of the century, and just after the breakup of the original Buff & Berger Firm in 1898. From available company records this transit was originally sold with the shown solar attachment.

The compass is very nice and operates properly.   The compass face measures approx 5" and the silvered needle just over 4".  The horizontal vernier is silvered and in excellent condition. The transit itself stands just over 12" tall, and the scope is approx 11" long.  All motions are free and turn freely.  The brass finish has developed a very nice patina.   The transit focuses and the crosshairs consist of three horizontals and one vertical.  The image is erect and not inverted.  At the eyepiece end it seems there is cap missing, and the adjustment to bring the crosshairs into focus is tight / stiff.  The half circle vernier is silvered and reads to 30 degrees.  The half circle vernier has a slight bend of about 2 degrees on the right side, as if it had been bumped at some point.  It still rides freely and reads from the scale just fine.  It has a 3 1/4 inch tripod mount and I do not have the tripod. Different makers utilized different styles of solar attachments and Buff & Berger adopted the Pearson Patent Solar Attachment.  The patent for the Pearson solar attachment was granted in 1882 about the same time as most other patents for these rare & unusual devices called solar attachments were issued. The Pearson patent, like the Saegmuller utilized a telescopic sight.  Because of its design and the way it mounts this solar attachment uses the transits frame and settings for its set up.   The Burt solar attachment and other top mounted style solar attachments had their own adjusters.  This Pearson patent solar attachment appears to be NOS and retains nearly 100% of it original finish and Lacquer.  It is marked on the inside of the attachment Buff & Berger which means it was made just before the transit and before the original Buff & Berger Co. broke up.  It is stamped with the #3 which may be its serial # or an assembly #.  The focus is crisp and the crosshairs present.  As can be seen in the pics there is a dark lens cap, and a sun shade for it as well.  There are places in the box these can be mounted to.

The transit has the proper box, and the cosmetic condition of it is pretty nice.  There are several paper labels inside including instructions on what to and not to do.  There is no place in the box for the attachment, but as I stated earlier, company records indicate the transit and attachment were originally sold together.

This style and form of transit with this unusual solar attachment was not widely distributed and thus is quite rare.  Over the years I have seen dozens of Burt Style solar attachments offered for sale on Gurley and other make transits.  I have seen and had a handful of the Saegmuller solar attachments that K & E,  Lietz, and Dietzgen used, and I have even seen several of the later Smith patent solar attachment offered for sale, but this is the first Pearson solar attachment by this patentee and maker that I have had or seen offered. It will make a great addition to the collection of rare scientific or surveying related antiques.

Excellent . . . . . .$2250.00       sOLD!!     





Buff & Buff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar AttachmentBuff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment  This unusual Buff solar transit came from the Bureau of Land Management and was used in the Pacific Northwest to check lines and boundaries on government properties.  From the serial #24846 we can surmise this Buff solar transit was manufactured in the 1920's - 1930's after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century.  The original firm split into two companies with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons.

Solar transits are a very hard to find surveying instrument that were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location without relying on the compass in the field.   Because of magnetic deviations compasses were not an accurate means to determine ones location.  The idea was to use the position of the sun, and the horizon to determine ones location, much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points.  There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments.   The Burt solar attachment which was used on Gurley Instruments, and the Saegmuller solar used on K & E instruments being the most frequently seen.  Smith Patent Solar Attachments are much less frequently seen than those or others that were developed during the period of roughly 1850 to the turn of the century. 

The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit to be used in the field .  It has an image erect and the optics are crisp and clear.  The silvered compass is 4" and operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should.  The serial # on the box and instrument match.  Even the leather strap is original and it too is stamped with the serial # 24846.  The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish.  The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina.  The counterweight is a molded piece of lead that is fitted to the opposite side in such a way to save space and making the box smaller and easier to transport in the field. 

This is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.

Good + . . . . . .$1950.00       SOLD!!





J. C. Sala Solar Transit w/ Gurley Burt Solar AttachmentJ. C. Sala Solar Transit w/ Gurley Burt Solar Attachment  J. C. Sala one of the three famous West Coast Surveying Instrument Makers from San Francisco working during the 19th century.  They were William Albert Schmolz, John Roach, and Joseph Charles Sala.  Schmolz, whose working dates were from the mid 1850's until his death in 1891 was responsible for patenting the idea to adapt the Burt Solar Apparatus to a transit and was granted a patent for this idea in 1867.  Gurley bought the rights to this idea, and introduced their version around 1874, agreeing to pay Schmolz $5.00 for each one they sold.   Sala who was born in 1841 and at first apprenticed to Roach was first listed in San Francisco Directories as Roach's partner in the 1861 Directory and took over the business upon Roach's death in 1891.  This instruments serial #  is1157 and was probably made shortly after the turn of the century. Sala died in 1916.

This solar transit is in an amazing state of preservation.  The box is dovetailed, and the original leather covering is very nice.  The box has a repair near the bottom on the right side. The compass face has a black finish and the points are nicely engraved.  There is a full vertical circle, and the vernier is silvered. All bubbles are good, and all motions are free.  The cross hairs are present.  The solar attachment is marked Gurley.  The transits main scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit .  It has an erect image  and the optics are crisp and clear.  The compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should. The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina.  The proper tripod is available for an additional $200.00

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location without relying on the compass in the field.   Magnetic deviations, especially here in the west, and in other locations where the geography contains large amounts of magnetic ore could throw off a magnetic compass and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain areas.  The idea was to use the position of the sun, the horizon, and time of day to determine ones location.  Much as a sextant or octant was used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points prior to GPS.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments.   The Burt solar attachment was used on Gurley instruments and on those by Sala and Roach.  K & E used the Saegmuller style which was a small telescope that mounts above the main scope. Other types of solar attachments are the Smith and Pearson Patent Solar Attachments named after the patent holder or inventor. 

This transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments or California history.  Different, and Nice!!

Fine  . . . . . . $2495.00    SOLD!!





Buff & Buff TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's / Surveyors Transit w/ Box  This transit has an engraving on the outer plate that says #6 California Highway Commission.  Under the compass glass is the maker name Buff & Buff, and a reference to a patent granted in 1900.  The serial # is 7237.  The Buff & Buff firm originated after the break-up of the original Buff & Berger partnership about 1898.  I would assume this transit dates from just a few years after the turn of the century.   

The overall condition is nice.  It does show signs of use.  It has all original finishes. Buff was known for this sort of thing, where they would finish the barrel one way, black in this case, the standards another, green,  and the base plate left natural.  It helped give their instruments a distinctive "look".  The compass operates, it turns nicely, The half circle on the side is silvered, and the all motions seem to move a they should.  The three level vials are OK. 

All in all a nice example that has a great patina and graphic look to it.  It will display very nicely.

Good  . . . . . .$750.00     SOLD!!




Dietzgen Light Mountain Solar / Mining TransitDietzgen Light Mountain Solar / Mining Transit   This is a very nice condition Dietzgen Light Mountain size Solar / Mining transit.  I could not find the exact catalog # looking through several old catalogs, but it is set up to take a solar attachment on the top of the scope, and the main scope axle ends are threaded to accept an auxiliary mining scope and counterweight there as well.  Dietzgen referred to such set-ups as "complete" in their catalogs.  Problem is, this example is not complete as neither the solar attachment nor the mining scope are present.    

Good +  . . . . .  $575.00       SOLD!!




Heller & Brightly Light Mountain Transit in BoxHeller & Brightly Light Mountain Transit in Box   This is a nice looking light mountain size transit by the well known Pennsylvania maker Heller & Brightly.  The serial number of 10,072 would date it from the 1930s and near the end of this companies production.  H & B were making 50 or less instruments per year during this later period. They first opened their doors for business of making surveying instruments in 1870.

The overall condition is nice. Cross hairs are present, and the optics are good.  All bubbles are full.  All motions are free and smooth.  The compass points north.  Different, and Nice!!

Good +  . . . . . . $395.00         SOLD!!






A. Lietz San Francisco Light Mountain Mining TransitA. Lietz San Francisco Light Mountain Mining Transit This is a nice looking light mountain size transit by the well known California make A. Lietz of San Francisco.  The serial number of 17,301.  It looks to date from prior to WWII.  The overall condition is nice. Cross hairs are present, and the optics are good.  All bubbles are full.  All motions are free and smooth.  The compass points north.  Note how the caps on the ends of the scope axles are threaded to allow a second scope to be affixed there.  That scope is missing.  Different, and Nice!!

Good +  . . . . . . $225.00   SOLD!!



BACK to Surveying

This is just a sample of the many antique surveying instruments we have sold. Click link to see other Sales Archive Pages on this Site.

We can help you sell quality Surveying Related Antiques Contact Us.

Our current offering of Antiques for sale are at our sister Website Patented-Antiques.com.


This website is Copyrighted
Larry & Carole Meeker