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Antique American Surveying Transits

Past Sales Archive

This is just a sample of the many antique surveying instruments we have sold.
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Fauth Co. Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar AttachmentFauth & Co. Solar Transit w/ George Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This is a rare and unusual solar transit.  It is an expedition size instrument with its main scope just about 7" long.    The transit is double marked with both maker & company names.  Under the glass is the name Fauth & Co. This company was formed in the 1870's between George Saegmuller and his two brothers in law, Camille Fauth and Henry Lockwood.  On the beveled plate, next to the vernier, it is marked George N. Saegmuller Wash. DC.  This is an unusual feature to be found on any transit, and was very hard to manufacture and keep in working order.

In later years Saegmuller bought out both partners, first Mr. Lockwood, and Fauth Co. Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment around the turn of the century Fauth.  Shortly afterward he renamed the company George N. Saegmuller. I am not sure if this is a transition piece made right near the turn of the century after he renamed the company, or an earlier instrument made for Fauth and signed by Saegmuller when he worked as part of Fauth & Co.  

George Saegmuller is most famous for his design and patent of the solar attachment you see.  He was granted the patent for this idea in the 1870's. The one pictured came with this instrument, but is housed in its own box.  The box has some damage to the lid, but looks OK.  The optics of the solar attachment are crisp and clear. The eyepiece cap or right angle piece is missing as can be seen.  The overall condition is like new. 

The transit has an 7" scope and would be designated as a Expedition model.  The box for the transit is a study in compactness, and there is no way you could have ever fit the solar attachment in the same box.  Being an expedition size they tried to keep everything as small and compact as possible to be easier to transport in the field.   The transit is factory fitted with a mount on the top of the scope to accept the solar attachment.   Solar attachments gave the user a very exact way to determine their exact location using the sun and the horizon.  They were especially useful here in the west or in places where large deposits of  minerals or ore could affect the magnetic compass readings allowing for mistakes in the work being performed.

The mahogany box for the transit  shows just a few minor scuffs from storage. All motions are free and turn as they should. The optics are perfect and exhibit no cloudiness or other problems. The crosshairs 1 vertical, 3 horizontal, and 2 crossed in the middle are present. The compass needle works, and measures 2 1/2" long .  This is a very rare example of a desirable solar transit and one I have not seen offered for sale before.  It is an opportunity that will not likely present itself again for a long time.

Excellent . . . . . . .$4750.00      SOLD!!






Sala Transit w/ Solar Attachment MountJ. C. Sala Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment Mount  J. C. Sala was a California surveying instrument maker who worked with John Roach, one of California's earliest instrument makers and later took over the business after Roaches death.  Sala died in 1916.  His instruments are uncommon and are a well made example of precision quality.  The serial # on this transit is 815 which I would think would date this from right around the turn of the century.  There is a paper tag on the base with a short bio of his working dates and history that the previous owner found in Smarts book on instrument makers, and included for reference. 

Burt solar attachments were typically the style used by Gurley and Roach on their instruments.  Roach had patented the idea of applying a solar attachment to transits and sold the rights to that idea to Gurley. This transit is set up to accept a solar attachment with the threaded attachment point on the top of the scope.  It probably looked like a Saegmuller as Burt solar attachments, which resembles a miniature sextant, usually set down over a post.  I suppose Sala offered either design as options as I have seen Sala instruments with a Burt solar. 

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 compass and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain 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 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. 

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 silvered compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should.  The box is nice.  The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina.

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

Good + . . . . . . $895.00    SOLD!!





H. S. Crocker San Francisco / Sacramento Surveyor's TransiH. S. Crocker San Francisco / Sacramento Surveyor's Transit  This unusual surveying transit is in excellent condition. It is marked H. S. Crocker Co. San Francisco / Sacramento under the glass on the silvered compass face.  While there is plenty of info on the H. S. Crocker company and their history in California during and after the Gold Rush Era, I can find no information or reference to them making surveying instruments, or mention of other instruments marked with their name.  There are no other examples or references to others be found at the several surveying instrument reference sites online, and there is no reference in Smarts reference book on instruments either.  One possibility is that Crocker is not the maker, and that it was made for them by somebody else.  I am not sure who that would be as it has characteristics unlike most of the better known makers of the time.  I am pretty sure it is not a Gurley or K & E, and have been told it is perhaps a Queen or Young out of Pennsylvania.  The most notable feature is the way the caps are done to hold the scope in place with split screws. (see Pic 5226) 

The scope on this unusual instrument is 9"  long making it a light mountain size.  The optics are crisp and clear.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original. All motions are smooth.  The box shows signs of having been covered with fabric or canvas at one time given all the small holes in the wood. 

A rare instrument in very nice condition and will be a highlight of any display or collection.

Fine . . . . . . $1750.00   SOLD!!






Warren Knight Sterling Transit w/ Solar AttachmentWarren Knight "Sterling" Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This Warren Knight Solar transit is a very nice instrument that has a great look when all set up. This transit is set up to accept the Saegmuller solar attachment seen in the first pic mounted on the board next to the instrument.   K & E used a dovetail sliding arrangement to mount their Saegmuller solar on their instruments.  Warren Knights version used a threaded mount.   The transits mainWarren Knight Sterling Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit .  It has an erect image  and the optics are OK.  The compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should.  The box is nice.  The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina on the brass surfaces, and those areas that were finished in black are showing their age.

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine ones 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 compass and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain 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 looks like a miniature sextant, was used on Gurley instruments and on those by California makers Sala and Roach.  K & E used the Saegmuller style, as seen here, which was a small telescope that mounts above the main scope. Other types od solar attachments are the Smith and Pearson Patent Solar Attachments named after the patent holder or inventor. 

This solar transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.

Good + . . . . . . $2250.00        SOLD!!






Young & Sons Solar Transit with Smith Patent Solar Attachment in Original BoxYoung & Sons Solar Transit with Smith Patent Telescopic Solar Attachment in Original Box  This is a rare c. 1913 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 serial number on the transit indicates it dates from shortly after the turn of the century. 

Young's use of Aluminum for many of the different parts of the transit is very unusual for an instrument from this time period.  It has a 4½" horizontal circle, a 4" silvered vertical circle, a 3.3" needle, and a 10" main telescope. The 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.

Fine   . . . . . . $3750.00     SOLD!!





Heller & Brightly TransitHeller & Brightly Engineers Transit  The overall condition of this large graphic surveyor's / engineers transit is very nice. The main scope on this surveyors or engineers transit is 11" long. The bronzed lacquer finish is in great condition and has developed a nice even patina. The serial numbers on the instrument and box match.  2 level vials are good and one is empty. All motions are free and the compass works.  Note how the leveling head detaches and mounts separate in the box. 

The serial # is 5228 which from published records we can assume dates this large transit w/ compass from the early 1880's or so.   Heller and Brightly formed their partnership in 1870. Heller had worked for Young previously, and before Young died in 1870 he had become a partner in that firm. This was before teaming up with Brightly soon after Young's death and starting the new firm of Heller & Brightly. H & B began their numbering system at 4400 and so this would be approx. the 800th instrument made after they began operations.

All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection.

Good  . . . . . . $1095.00     SOLD!!



Info on Heller & Brightly from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores. Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.




John Roach Surveying TransitJohn Roach Surveying Transit   John Roach's working dates were from approx. 1833 to 1891 when he died.  He was California's second well known surveying instrument maker.  William Albert Schmolz was California's first recognized surveying instrument maker.  John Roach came to California during the beginning of the Gold Rush era.  The serial # on this transit is 791 and using some creative math and a bit of guesswork would date this transit from a period near the Civil War.

Before coming to California Roach had been in partnership in New York with a fellow named Warner.  Another instrument maker named  J. C. Sala worked with John Roach here in California and later took over the business after Roaches death in 1891.  Roach instruments are not common and are a well made example of precision quality. 

The transits scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit .  It has an erect image and the optics are clear w/ crosshairs.  The blackened compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  It has a nice overall appearance and patina.  All motions seem to operate as they should noting that the thumbscrew which would lock the scope is broken off.  The box is OK.  There is no tripod.

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

Good + . . . . . .$950.00     SOLD!







P & R Wittstock / Berlin Scott's Mine Tachymeter / Mining TransitP & R Wittstock / Berlin "Scott's" Mine Tachymeter / Mining Transit  The overall condition of this unusual surveying instrument is very nice. This style transit / theodolite is pictured online in the book titled "The evolution of mine-surveying instruments" by Dunbar Scott. That online book, published in the 1890's, illustrates, discusses and makes claims for this style instrument as being very useful and an advanced design. The serial # on this piece is 604. Other than the reference noted above there is little info to be found on this maker or instrument online.  Wittstock is not listed in Smarts, and there are no examples in the Smithsonian collection.

The leather cover for the box is coming apart at the seams and is very fragile. It did a good job protecting the wooden box which is in fine condition. (see pics) The instrument itself, and the auxiliary scope are very nice. The main scope is approx. 8" and the smaller one 6". Both have sun shades and reflectors. There are also lens covers for both. The counterweight which mounts opposite the aux. scope screws onto the wooden base when not in use. There is a spot built inside the box for the second scope but no means to lock it in place. The optics are good, and crosshairs are present in both scopes. There are also 2 right angle eyepieces with a sliding feature for 3 different lenses.  Note the 2 magnifiers to aid in reading both the vertical and plate vernier scales. All motions operate smoothly. The leveling head and plate are made of brass. The instrument frame is cast aluminum. The scopes are constructed of both brass and aluminum making for interesting contrasts. The maker info and serial # are stamped onto the top plate. The collapsible leg tripod in the last pic is included. It is a small light weight piece in nice condition. The cap for it is a C.L. Berger but it fits the instrument properly and i believe is original to it.   Nice!!

This transit looks great and will display very nicely in, and be a highlight of, any collection of surveying related instruments or mining related collection.

Fine . . . . . . $1950.00          SOLD!!







Cary / London Mining Theodolite w/ Aux. Oil Wick LightCary / London Mining Theodolite / Transit w/ Aux. Oil Wick Light This unusual English Mining Transit / Theodolite is in superb original condition.  It dates from near the turn of the century.  Be sure to look at all the pics to see the details and how it is fitted into the original Mahogany Cary / London Mining Theodilite w/ Oil Wick Light box.  It is complete and then some.  Some features are as follows.  There are 3 different interchangeable rear eyepieces.  A short one, a long one, and a right angle one.  There is also an extra set of crosshairs in a small brass container in the box. 

The most unusual feature of this mining transit / theodolite is the small oil fired aux light for use in mines or poor lighting conditions that is still present and complete in the box. (See pic of different parts)  It is mounted on the left side of the theodolite in the left side pic above.  This small auxiliary light can be mounted on either side of the transit.  The main scopes axis is hollow and has a lens on both sides that this light would shine light into illuminating the inside of the scope so the user could see better for use in mines or other poor lighting conditions.  Note also that this instrument has four small magnifiers to aid in reading the scales. 2 on the lower plate and 2 for the vertical circle vernier.  The plate vernier is silver and beveled.  The compass operates and points north.  The compass face is silvered and very nice.  This instrument also has a removable striding level which fits crosswise on top after the instrument has been set up.    A wonderful and very graphic looking instrument.

Fine. . . . .$2950.00      SOLD!!





Knox & Shain Surveyors / Engineers TransitKnox & Shain Surveyors / Engineers Transit  The partnership of Knox and Shain was begun in the 1850's.  The Smithsonian sight says they opened their shop in 1850, while the bio on them  in Smarts says they were first listed together in the Philadelphia directories in 1855.  The serial # on the compass face is 900.  It is not known if this number reflects the date from the beginning of this partnership, or from the time Knox left the employ of Young and opened his own shop some years earlier.  This transit though has the look and fell of an instrument that dates from the 1860's to 1880's.   The Smithsonian site mentions that Knox & Shain instruments look similar to Young's transits because both partners worked for him in the past.  The information there goes on to say they bought the dividing engine of Jesse Ramsden, an early English maker of surveying and other scientific instruments.  . 

This surveyor's transit is in good condition. It stands just about 11" tall to the top of the 5" vertical circle which reads to 30 degrees. This transit is from an era when the leveling base remained with the tripod, which we do not have. There is no place for it in the box. which is OK.    The box is dirty and has been re-glued where it split at some point in the past but has a great look and a lot of character.  

The compass is a gold finish and works properly. The needle is 5" and the transit measures approx 7" across.  The silvered horizontal vernier is inside under the glass and operates as it should. All other knobs and motions are free as well.   All three level bubbles are full and appear to be original.  The optics are clear, and it focuses well, but there do not seem to be any cross hairs if there ever were any. 

This Knox & Shain is a very early transit, by a relatively rare and obscure maker from Philadelphia one of the hubs of early technology manufacturing in America.  This transit will make for a great showpiece on display in the collection or any other setting.

Good+ . . . . . . .$650.00       SOLD!






Heller & Brightly TransitHeller & Brightly Transit    The serial # on this super condition Surveyor's transit is 4683, and from the information available from the Smithsonian's informative site on surveying instruments we can surmise that this instrument was made in the early 1870's just a few short years after this company was formed between Charles Heller and Charles Brightly. The serial # can be found in three separate places, on the inside of the box, on the lower detachable leveling base, and under the glass of the highly engraved compass face.  From the information found at the Smithsonian's site we can see that this company started their serial #'s at 4400 which would put this instrument at the very beginnings of this companies time line.   ( see below for the info from that site, and a link to it for further info ) 

The original condition of this instrument is second to none, and it is obvious that it has seen little or no use over the last 130 years.  The unusual Mahogany box is nice, noting that the leather handle has come unattached. This transit also includes a correctly marked and original tripod, and the correctly marked original plumb bob and an instruction sheet on setting the instrument up are also included. ( These are Not Pictured )  The original lacquer finish is near perfect and all motions are free and smooth. The level vials are all good.

These early transits were hand built and Heller and Brightly was a small company that produced less than 100 instruments a year in their early days.  Note the unique feature of the leveling base being detachable and fitting into a separate holding position inside the box. All in all one of the nicest and earliest American transits that I have had the pleasure of buying.  The condition is second to none, and it will be a long time before another in this condition or this early ever shows up again on the market.

Good . . . . .$1250.00       SOLD



Info from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly    Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.

LLink:   http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=16




Dietzgen Mining Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope
Dietzgen Transit w/ Aux. Mining ScopeDietzgen Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment & Scope w/ Setup for  Solar Attachment    This transit dates from just after the turn of the last century.  I have an auxiliary sighting scope that fits onto the outboard attachment point, but I am also in the market for the small solar attachment that the top of this transit is set up to accept.  I believe it is a similar looking telescope affair that is mounted in a U shaped yoke with a center threaded rod that would go into the fitting visible on the top.  It is a female receptacle, and a different size from the base of the other scope that is present now.

Good . . . . .$1250.00     SOLD






A. Lietz Co. Light Mountain TransitA. Lietz Co. Light Mountain Transit   I believe that this beautiful little instrument would be considered a Light Mountain Size Transit, both because of the overall size, and the bayonet or twist lock system for locking it to the tripod. But it may be their Expedition size as it is so small, and I have no catalogs to check on this. The tube measures 7.5 inches long, and the overall height is just about 10" to the top of the wheel. The optics are clear and crisp as are the 3 crosshairs.  The compass measures just 3" across and works properly.  The limb measures 4.5 inches across at this point. The serial #  6220 is written on the compass face which is black and in perfect condition. The level vials are good and appear to be original.  All of the other knobs and wheels appear to be working as well. This piece has never been polished and has a nice even patina. Those portions that were finished in black look good as well, noting some minor losses to the edges of the wheel.  At some point, a well meaning antique dealer did refinish the box. There are a series of original labels inside the lid of the box. The mounting system for the instrument to the tripod is a simple line it up and twist with no threads to be found.   I have given you a series of pics, but if you need more or have questions simply ask.

Good . . . . .$750.00     SOLD





Bausch & Lomb Light Mountain Transit    Bausch and Lomb had been in business for many years and  were well known in the optics business before they went into a business partnership with, first, George Saegmuller in 1905, and then Carl Zeiss in 1907 at which point they also began to produce Surveying instruments, transits and other engineering instruments.  They only manufactured surveying instruments up until the entry of the United States into the First World War in about 1917 when production stopped.   After the war,  production of these sorts lines was never resumed.  It seems there was better money making things for the military and that became their primary focus.

Everything on this small transit seems to be working nicely, and the optics are clear.  It has developed a nice rich even patina.  I believe this transit was made in 1908 from the chart that gives that information that I was able to find on the internet.  Given the short production span, and the limited number produced, instruments by these folks are pretty hard to come by. This includes the proper and original collapsible tripod as well.

Top Notch!!

Good . . . . .$950.00        SOLD






Sala Transit w/ Burt Style Solar Attachment Sala Transit w/ Burt Style Solar Attachment    This transit was made by one of the three famous West Coast Surveying Instrument Makers out of San Francisco During the 19th century.  These makers 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 the person first 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.  This agreement expired in 1884 when the patent became part of the public domain.  This instrument dates from some point after that, as Sala who was born in 1841 and at first apprenticed to Roach was listed first in San Francisco Directories as Roach's partner in the 1861 Directory took over the business upon Roach's death in 1891.  This instrument is #934 and was probably made just after the turn of the century.  Sala died in 1916.

This instrument is in an amazing state of preservation.  The box is dovetailed, and has a later Lietz sticker in the top of the lid   The compass face has a green finish and the points are nicely engraved.  There is a half vertical circle, and the vernier is silvered. The solar attachment is clearly marked Sala, and is basically identical with the version put out by Gurley.

Good . . . . .$4000.00     SOLD






John Zeiser St Louis TransitJohn Zeiser St Louis Transit    This transit was made by the little known and rare maker of surveying instruments who hailed from St Louis just after the turn of the 20th century. He is not listed in Smarts or at the Smithsonian site, but there is a brief mention of his name as a maker on one site on the internet. This example is a nicely done Light Mountain size with a 9 1/2 inch scope and half circle vernier. The optics are clear and it has a simple cross for the crosshairs. All motions turn freely and the vials are full. The compass is functional as well. It has developed a very nice patina and will display nicely. The serial # is 550. The box seems correct, but the plate it rests on is plywood and may be a replacement. All in all a nice looking instrument by an obscure and relatively rare maker.

Good . . . . .$750.00    SOLD







Heller & Brightly Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope AttachmentHeller & Brightly Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment    Transits set up to take an Auxiliary Scopes for either mining related work or other precise applications are a unusual configuration. This style of surveying instrument that was basically used in only one or two specific applications.  They were not widely distributed and thus quite hard to find.  With this example, the transit was made by Heller and Brightly of Phila. PA., and the scope is unmarked, but I have been told is a Lietz who were an established West Coast supplier, distributor, and manufacturer of quality optical equipment and surveying supplies.  It is a nice looking instrument.

Good . . . . .$1450.00       SOLD







B. L. Makepeace Loxo Combination Transit / LevelBB. L. Makepeace Loxo Combination Transit / Level   This small combination Transit / Level was patented in 1912 and offered for sale after that. The Makepeace company is still in business and has an long and interesting history that began in the 1890's.  The company began in the blueprint and paper end of the business, expanded to offer a line of K & E products, and then just after the turn of the century Mr. Makepeace began offering his own line and design of surveying instruments including this style instrument.

This combination level transit has seen little use and is in excellent condition. The box is very nice, and the label inside the lid is very good as well. The optics are clear, and the crosshairs present. The level vial is full and all motions turn freely. The bronzed lacquer finish is near flawless. There is no tripod. This instrument will make a nice addition to the collection to round out all the types and styles of instruments that were made and offered or would make for a good user around the property or building site. It will display very nicely.

Good . . . . .$350.00     SOLD






Negretti & Zambia Transit / TheodoliteNegretti & Zambra Transit  / Theodolite Negretti & Zambra was an English outfit whose origins dates back into the mid 19th century.    This transit / theodolite has an interesting form with its half circle beneath the scope.

The leather covered mahogany box looks really nice. The box still has nearly all of its original finish. This instrument was dropped or handled badly at one point, as I had to re-glue nearly all of the different pieces inside, and repair a crack in the top where the base was trying to break through as it was banged around. It looks great now.  The theodolite breaks down, and the different parts are fitted throughout the box as can be seen in the last photos.  There is a bit of damage to two pieces from when it was shipped.  The small aux magnifier lens, for the vernier,  is cracked. Also a piece of the spring loaded fine adjust beneath the plate broke off at its attachment point when this was banging around in the box.  The rest is fine,  looks great and will display well..  

The crosshairs are present, and the image is inverted.  There is a stamp on the side of the scope indicating that this was made for a firm in Lima Peru.  The serial number is in the 2000 range, but I could find no info that would allow for dating it. It has a 3 point leveling system, and it has the tripod mounting plate which is set up to fit in the box and has a quick release feature.  an interesting design that will look fine as part of the display.

Good+ . . . . . .$650.00      SOLD!




Hildebrand Freiberg Surveyors / Engineers Theodolite / TransitHildebrand Freiberg Surveyors / Engineers Theodolite / Transit This precision Theodolite is by Hildebrand Freiberg a well know and respected optical instrument maker that was begun in the 18th century in Germany as Freiberg and evolved and changed names over a period of time to what it is now. You can visit their present website here.

The name Hildebrand became associated with the company in 1872 and Hildebrand Freiberg company was in operation until the Russians took control of the plant at the end of WWII. The only place this precision instrument is marked Hildebrand Freiberg Surveyors / Engineers Theodolite / Transitwith the company name is on the handle of the case. There is also a stylized logo & number on the instrument itself which probably would help date it for those with access to that info.

This instrument dates from somewhere near the turn of the century up to the time of WWII when the Russians took over the plant. It is interesting to note the Japanese writing on the outside of the case and the "military" colored tan finish of the tripod would lead one to believe it was sold to and used by the Japanese military prior to or during WWII. The instrument itself is in great condition and is as complete as one could imagine or hope for. All of the level bubbles are good. All of the fitted holes in the internal carry case / tray are full and this instrument was designed to be locked into the case on the base to withstand all sorts of travel bumps and abuse. All of the tiny magnifiers over the vernier scales are present.

There is a striding level, an auxiliary compass, plumb bob, counterweight, and even a small wind up tape in feet / metric with Japanese writing. The tripod is nice, proper, and the instrument has the proper 3 point leveling base for it. There are also additional parts and pieces stored on the door, like an extra eyepiece, sunshade, and right angle eyepiece. The optics are clear and the cross hairs present. It is a very nice looking and graphic instrument to add to several different focus collections.

Good+ . . . . . .$750.00     SOLD!





A. Lietz Aluminum Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar AttachmentA. Lietz Aluminum Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This A. Lietz Solar transit is a very nice instrument that has a great look when all set up. The entire instrument is made of Aluminum except for the lower clamp brackets and leveling head parts which are brass.  This transit is set up to accept the Saegmuller solar attachment seen mounted on the instrument in the first pic.   K & E used a dovetail sliding arrangement to mount their Saegmuller solar on their instruments.  This marked Lietz version used a threaded mount and is proper and right for the instrument. 

 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 OK. The compass is operable, and the silvered face is very nice.  The serial # is 1346.  I would think this transit dates from just after the turn of the century.  Aluminum was a new material at this point in time, and very few tools or instruments were made using it.   Note that the solar attachment platform is part of the original casting and not an added mount as is usually seen.  The solar attachment is marked Lietz as seen in the pics.  It is made of brass and finished in black.    All motions seem to operate as they should on both the transit and the attachment.  The box is OK.  There is no tripod. 

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 compass reading and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain areas.  The idea with solar instruments 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 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 are the Smith and Pearson Patent Solar Attachments named after the patent holder or inventor. 

This unusual aluminum solar transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.

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






Bausch & Lomb Explorer / Expedition Size Transit w/ BoxBausch & Lomb Explorer / Expedition Size Transit w/ Box This compact / small size transit is very nice and very unusual.  Bausch and Lomb first opened their doors in the mid 1850's and  were well known in the optics business before they went into a business partnership with, George Saegmueller in 1905, and then Carl Zeiss in 1907 at which point they also began to produce Surveying instruments, transits and other scientific and engineering instruments.  They manufactured surveying instruments up until the entry of the United States into the First World War in about 1917.   After the war, production of these sorts lines was never resumed.  It seems there was better money making things for the military and that became their primary focus.

Everything on this small transit seems to be working nicely.  The scope is approx. 8" long and the optics are clear with crosshairs present. The serial # 7937 is seen under the compass glass.  There are also 2 patent dates found there from 1903, as well as the name Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.   Note how the leveling vials are incorporated into the plate under the compass glass as opposed to being mounted on the standards like on most larger instruments.  The transit fits into the box laying on it side.  The box is OK with normal scuffs.   The different 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 3" full vertical circle scaled to 30'.  

Given the short production span of 10 years or so, and the limited number produced, instruments by these folks are pretty hard to come by.

Good  . . . . . .$950.00     SOLD!!






Heitzler Instrument Co. #52 Solar #1 TransitHeitzler Instrument Co. Transit Serial #52 Marked #1 Solar w/ 1911 Patent  This is a very unusual transit in several respects.  The maker mark, Heitzler Instrument Co. Denver Colo. and the info about this transit being serial # 52 and #1 Solar can be found under the glass on the compass face.  Frank Heitzler operated his mathematical and instrument making business from Denver Colorado back near the turn of the last century.  He is first listed in 1904 as working by himself.    For a short period of time starting in 1906 he was in a partnership with a fellow named Weiss an optician and instrument maker.  He opened his own business, Heitzler Instrument Co. for a short 2 years in 1910 -1912 before he disappeared from the directories.  There are short Bio's on both Weiss and Heitzler in Smarts book on surveying instruments, and all of that 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 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.  

This transit has a 3rd patent date under the glass of April 1911 and just above that says Solar #1.    I can find no reference to this patent or any patent for anything solar related for this transit.  Inside the box there is a space in the bottom of the box for what one would assume would hold a striding level.  It might have been meant to hold something bigger, but there is no solar attachment or striding level there or elsewhere.  There is also no attachment point on the transit to accept a solar attachment.  Perhaps it just sat on top like a striding level might, but there are no points that show any wear from something like this either.  A mystery!!

Parts of this transit like the screw base are made of Aluminum.  Most of the rest is brass.  The scope is 8" long.  The compass needle 3 1/2" and working.  The finish is in super condition, and appears to be a two coat process with a dark green / black, over a lighter base coat with some of that showing through for the effect it gives.. That is factory.  The optics are clear and not inverted.  The crosshairs are present as well.  The vertical circle is 4" Dia.  All motions are free, and operable.

This is an interesting and rare transit. With a bit more research, and some luck, you could be the owner of one of the rarest forms of all surveying instruments produced.  Think about that, a solar transit with the serial # 52 and the  #1, solar that maker made.  This transit would be a fine addition to any collection of surveying instruments.  Opportunity Knocks.

Good + . . . . . .$1750.00     SOLD!






William Ainsworth & Son Denver Colorado Mining TransitWilliam Ainsworth & Sons of Denver Colorado Mining Transit   This is a very small and light transit whose overall condition is very nice.  The original bronzed lacquer finish is in super condition.  The exposed brass has developed a nice even patina.  It has a 3 1/2" needle and is either an expedition or explore model given the small size.  The transit has threaded axle ends to allow for a secondary auxiliary scope or solar attachment and counterweight. Neither is present.  The idea for a second scope is to allow the user to shoot angles that would otherwise be impossible because of the plate being in the way such as at very steep angles, or straight down. 

The main scope is just over 8" long.  The serial # is 2658.  William Ainsworth was an English immigrant who first opened his door for the making of surveying instruments in Denver in the 1880's.  In 1905 he added Sons to the name, so we can assume this transit dates from near that date.    Ainsworth is most famous for their production of the Brunton pocket compass which is still produced today.  In the day they were a well known and respected regional maker of surveying instruments, scales, and watches. 

 The tripod mount is only 2 1/4"  I have a Ainsworth tripod that is almost miniature with a 2 7/8 ring that is smaller than a Gurley explorer or expedition size tripod.  Imagine how small and light the tripod for this would be with a 2 1/4" ring.  All level vials are all good and all motions are free.  The optics are good, and the crosshairs are visible.  They are the finest that I have ever seen.  All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection.

Good+ . . . . . . .$850.00     SOLD!






William Stackpole Surveyors / Engineers Transit William Stackpole Surveyors / Engineers Transit This surveyor's transit  is in good condition. Stackpole & Brother was a relatively early New York surveying instrument maker and began operations in the mid 1800's.   The box as shown  in the pics is pretty nice as well.  The bubbles are all good.  The compass is nice and the needle swings freely.  The company name and location are on the compass face under the glass and pictured below.  The optics are clear, and the crosshairs (3h & 1v) are good.  Stackpole produced a quality product and this transit is no exception. Note the positioning of the tangent lock.   The green lacquer finish is 90% or better and looks great  Those areas  that were not lacquered have a nice even patina. 

The Smithsonian site has a bio on the brothers who formed the company, and they have several of their instruments in their collection.

See below for some of the info from the Smithsonian site.

Good+ . . . . . . .$850.00     SOLD!





Queen & Co Engineers TransitQueen & Co Engineers Transit   This is a large & nice looking Queen & Co. Engineers transit.  James Queen first opened shop in 1853, but the name of the firm was changed to Queen and Co in 1896 and this dates from after that time. The serial # 8414. is found on the compass face under the glass.  There are no published records to help pinpoint the exact date that this was made but it dates from before 1912 when the name was again changed.. 

The transit is in overall very nice condition and has 90% or more of the black matt finish remaining.  The scope measures 11" long.  It has a 5"  needle, and the silvered compass face is nice.  The needle swings freely and operates as it should.  .     The horizontal vernier are graduated to 30 degrees. The small opaque shades are present. All screws and motions move freely and as they should.  The optics  are clear and crosshairs present.   It takes a 3 1/2" x 8 tripod fixed leg tripod which is present but not pictured.  It is included in the price.  .  The box is OK, but is damaged and has been repaired.  A nice display piece at a reasonable price.

Good . . . . . .$550.00       SOLD!!






Fauth & Co.  Expedition Size TransitFauth & Co.  Expedition Size Transit   This Fauth & Co. of Washington DC expedition size transit is a rare and unusual surveying instrument. This company was formed in the 1870's between George Saegmuller and his two brothers in law, Camille Fauth and Henry Lockwood.  The transit is marked with the Fauth & Co.  as well as the Washington DC location under the glass on the compass face.  The serial #50 is also found under the glass. If I am reading right at the Smithsonian site George Saegmuller was a partner in the firm at this time and applied serial #'s to the instruments only after 1887.  The company disbanded in 1905 and I assume this dates from near 1887 with so low a #. 

The transit has an 7" scope and would be designated as a Expedition model. Be sure to see the leather case that the wooden box slips into.  Being an expedition size the makers tried to keep everything as small and compact as possible to be lighter and easier to transport in the field. The box for the transit is a study in compactness.  The leather field case has done a fine job protecting the mahogany box. The mahogany box for the transit shows just a few minor scuffs from storage.  The leather covering is in fine condition as well with  minor losses to the stitching and the straps missing.

All motions are free and turn as they should. The optics are perfect and exhibit no cloudiness or other problems. The image is inverted, and I do not see any crosshairs. The 3" compass needle swings freely and goes to north.  There are 3 different eyepieces, one of them being a right angle. The tripod size looks to be 2.75 x 13.

This small interesting instrument represents an opportunity that will not likely present itself again for a long time.
Highly recommended!!

Fine . . . . . .$1050.00      SOLD!!






Heller & Brightly Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary Scope & TripodHeller & Brightly Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary Scope & Tripod  The main scope on this large surveyor's or engineers transit is 11" long.  The serial # is 4928 which from published records we can assume dates this mining transit from right around 1876 just a few years after Heller and Brightly formed their partnership in 1870.  Heller had worked for Young, and before Young died in 1870 he had become a partner in that firm.  This was before teaming up with Brightly soon after Young's death and starting the new firm of Heller & Brightly.

The transit is fitted for, and has the secondary auxiliary scope making this what would be termed a mining transit.  Heller & Brightly instruments in this form are very rare.  The box is fitted for the scope and other auxiliary pieces as well.  This transit is set to accept the secondary scope on just the right side and not on top.  It has a  very unusual split nut fitting that uses friction to hold the scope onto the spindle provided.  The axle on the other side of the instrument is set up to take a counterweight, and there is a place for a counterweight in the box, but it is missing.  The idea for a second scope is to allow the user to shoot angles that would otherwise be impossible because of the plate being in the way such as at very steep angles, or straight down.  

The overall condition of this rare mining transit is very nice.  The natural brass finish has developed a nice even patina. This transit has been on display in an office for the last 25 years or so.  It was found in Oregon, and the story was that it had come from PA where it had originally been in use. Also of  note is that the serial numbers on the instrument, box, and tripod all match.  The tripod is OK noting that it appears one leg has an early glue repair on a split in one rail.   The original screwdriver is in the box, and both scopes have sunshades.  All level vials are all good.  All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection.

Good+ . . . . . . .$3250.00      SOLD!!

Info on Heller & Brightly from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.





A. Lietz of San Francisco Preliminary / Light Mountain Size Universal Jr. TransitA. Lietz of San Francisco Preliminary / Light Mountain Size "Universal Jr." Transit   This A Lietz transit has a serial # of 6022.  It looks to date from 1920 or earlier.  There are no certain means to know the exact date for Lietz instruments other than they stopped producing them and started importing them right after WWII.  A. Lietz first opened his business in San Francisco in 1882.  

This is a small compact transit with a 9" scope and 3 1/2" needle. It is designated the Universal Jr. on the compass face.  There is a drilled and tapped hole in the top of the scope as if to accept a solar attachment or mining scope.    The compass face is very nice and there is no corrosion or damage.  The finish is a worn dark lacquer and natural brass.  It has a great patina with contrasts of the different natural brass colors used for the different parts.  The transit is in overall very nice condition.   All screws and motions move freely and operate as they should.  The optics are clear and clean and there is one vertical and three horizontal crosshairs.  The box is original and has been oiled.  The door has an early repair done to the inside.  This transit also includes the original proper tripod.  It has repairs done to two of the legs that were carefully and tastefully done.  You can almost not see them.  Although it has not been calibrated this will make for a nice user or will display nicely in the proper setting.

Good + . . . . . .$750.00       SOLD!





Dietzgen Light Mountain Size Engineering Transit   This small Transit is in good condition. The scope is 9" long and the vertical circle is 5" Dia. Dietzgen in all of their catalogs I have refer to all of their transits as being Engineering transits and offered them in 3 or 4 different sizes. This looks to be a #6024, and the serial # is 22930 dating it from 1936 or so.

This is a nice compact instrument that from the finish on the box was once part of the military or forest service. The finish is nice except for the one are on the tube where someone removed the property of sticker that was once there. The optics are crisp, and the cross hairs are a matrix like setup with several intersections of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines. It will display nicely, or after a calibration make a good user.

Good . . . . .$450.00        SOLD



Bostrom #4 Transit / Level   This small combination Transit / Level is in good condition. It is a precision but simple instrument that was offered for general layouts and lines by large concerns like Sears, Montgomery Wards or other outfits that sold surveying instruments for general use.  This style of surveying instrument are sometimes referred to as Farm levels   This one is unmarked as to maker but is a Bostrom.   I would estimate it dates from the 40's or so. As can be seen half of the box is present.  There is no tripod. It will make for a good general user, or a nice display piece on the shelf.

Good . . . . .$95.00       SOLD





Fennel Kassel TransitFennel / Kassel Builders Transit / Level   This is a quality transit / level made by the well known German firm Fennel / Kassel. The box is marked West Germany which would date this as post WWII. It looks a lot like the David White Builders transit I use to use for general layout, corners, and grades. This instrument is set up much the same with a positive lock for the level / grade function, and just one level vial below the scope to set up. Everything about the transit is nice, and I believe it is ready to go back to work. The box needs a new clap / latch, but is otherwise OK. It takes a standard 3 1/2 x 8 tripod.

Good . . . . .$150.00     SOLD





A. Lietz / San Francisco CA Light Mountain Size TransitA. Lietz / San Francisco CA Light Mountain Size Transit    This small Transit is in good condition. It dates from the 30's or so.  The box is nice, and the tripod is included.

Good . . . . .$450.00     SOLD








Heller & Brightly Mining TransitHeller & Brightly Mining Transit   This is a later piece by this famous PA maker.  Note that the ends of the main axle of the scopes are threaded and set up to receive a second auxiliary scope for use in mines and the like.

Good + . . . . . .$750.00      SOLD!!







Heller & Brightly Engineer's TransitHeller & Brightly Engineer's Transit   This original condition of this large and graphic looking instrument is very nice.  The serial # 8150  is on the compass face of this Heller & Brightly Engineer's or Surveyor's transit.  That would date it from approx 1915.  That information is available on the very informative site www.surveyhistory.org where you can find dating charts for not only Heller & Brightly instruments but other surveying instrument makers as well.    The Smithsonian site has a detailed bio on this company and informs us that his company was formed between Charles Heller and Charles Brightly in the 1870's.

The Mahogany box is nice. The leveling head is detachable and stores separately inside the box.  All motions on it and the instrument are free and smooth.  The compass needle does not swing as it should and the lock feature does not move the compass rose up and down to release it.  The level vials are all good. The optics and crosshairs are good.  This transit also includes a correctly marked and original tripod.  The tripod is very nice with nicely tapered and curved legs.  Note the heavy duty locks on the legs.  Heller and Brightly instruments were very well made and had a lot of ungraded features that made their instruments stand apart from other lesser makers from the same era.

These early transits were hand built by Heller and Brightly employees.  Over the course of their instrument making period they produced approx 4000 instruments.  Most were sold by order rather than marketed by distributers. All in all one of the nicest made American transits that I have had the pleasure of offering.

Good + . . . . . .$1250.00      SOLD!!


Heller & Brightly Info from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly
  Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55. Link: http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=16





A. Lietz Solar TransitA. Lietz & Co. Solar Transit  This A. Lietz solar transit has a serial # 74 and was probably made during Adolph Lietz's first year or two being in operation in San Francisco California.  Smart states in his book on surveying instrument makers that he first opened for business in 1882.   

This unusual transit is in overall nice condition.  It is a small compact size transit set up to receive a solar attachment on the top of the scope.  That attachment is not present. I believe that Lietz utilized the Saegmuller style attachment similar to those found on K & E / Keuffel & Esser instruments but this is set up with a threaded mount, and not a dovetail as typically seen on the K & E version..

The main scope is 7" long and so this could be referred to as either a light mountain or explorer / expedition size transit.  It has developed a nice patina over the last 100 plus years.  The compass face is marked with the maker name, location and #74 serial number.  All motions are free and the optics are good.  It has a full vertical silver vernier circle. The mahogany box is OK.  This instrument would sell for 3 to 4 times the listed price if one could find the solar attachment that fits on it.

Good + . . . . . . .$750.00      SOLD!!





Eagle Brand TransitEagle Brand Transit  This transit was sold as surplus from a college that either discontinued their engineering program or upgraded to more modern instruments.  It dates from the early 60's.  There is a pic of the information tag on the door that gives all the specs.  It is a well made precision instrument.  The overall condition is nice and it appears to have led an easy life spending most of its time on the shelf and not in the field.  The optics are clear, and the crosshairs present. The compass is operational.  All other motions are free and I see no issues.   It takes a 3 1/2 x 8 tripod, and I have several designed for this instrument listed for sale on another page at this site.   It will make a great user for the general contractor or casual user.

Good +  . . . . .$250.00   SOLD!!






Heller & Brightly Engineer's TransitHeller & Brightly Engineer's Transit  In the early 1870's Charles Heller and Charles Brightly formed this well known Pennsylvania surveying and scientific instrument making company.  They made very large and very heavy duty pieces.  This transit has an 11" long scope, and the bright laquear finish is original and correct.

The Mahogany box is nice, noting that the leather handle has broken off.  Note how the leveling base is housed separately in the box, and how it is a twist lock affair to join the top half to it.  All motions are free and smooth and the level vials are all good.   There is one empty hole on the barrel that would hold a crosshair and so while the optics are OK, there is a missing crosshair. 

Heller and Brightly was a small company that produced less than 100 instruments a year in their early days. 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!!

Info from the Smithsonian Site / Heller & Brightly

Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.

Link:   http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=16





Mahn & Co. St. Louis Mo. #3 Light Mountain TransitMahn & Co. St. Louis Mo. #3 Light Mountain Transit  This small surveying transit is by a little known  regional Midwest maker from St Louis MO. Herman Mahn's working dates were from 1891 -1906.  It is in excellent overall condition. 

I found an online catalog for this company and I believe they refer to this as their #3 Light Mountain transit.  The mahogany box spent most of its life inside the outer leather case seen in pic 6009 and the finishes on it are near perfect.  The leather case does have a tear in it.  The scope is 8.5"  long the image erect and crosshairs are present.  The optics are crisp and clear.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original.  It has a 4" vertical circle.

This transit came with a marked collapsible leg Gurley tripod that looks to be their explorer / expdition size with a  XXX size mount.  The legs are their early square-ish design with double lock screws and brass fittings.  It is in fine condition and the transit fits it properly.  I will sell it separately for $225.00 if you need it for something else. 

A small good looking compact instrument that will be a welcome addition to any display or collection.

Fine  . . . . . . SOLD!!





William Young TransitWilliam Young Transit  This is a nice early engineer's transit by the famous PA maker William Young.  It comes with the proper tripod.

Good + . . . . . .$650.00      SOLD!









Lietz Type 22 Preliminary Transit in BoxLietz Type 22 Preliminary Transit in Box   An interesting instrument.  The tag indicates it dates from the 1920s.   With a 6" scope, and weighing just 2 1/2 pounds ones first thought would be to call this near miniature transit an expedition size transit, but Lietz calls it their Type 22 Preliminary Transit and their description of it mentions it not being for precise work, but rather for farmers, ranchers, ditchers and so forth.

This example has had the base modified so it will fit on a standard tripod.  They took the hard plastic cap off a transit and drilled a hole and bolted the transit to that.  Should work, but - - - - .  It could be easily removed and would be back to the way it was first offered.  Beyond that it is a nice looking instrument that will display nicely where a small instrument is desirable. 

Good . . . . . . $175.00    SOLD!!



Craftsman Transit / Level    This small combination Transit / Level is in good condition. It is a simple style of instrument that was offered for general layouts and lines by large concerns like Sears, Montgomery Wards or other outfits that sold surveying instruments for general use. It has a sticker identifying it as being sold by Sears. I would estimate it dates from the 40's or so. It will make for a good general user, or a nice display piece on the shelf.

Good . . . . .$95.00      SOLD

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This is just a sample of the many antique & collectible surveying instruments we have sold.
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We can help you sell quality Antiques  Contact Us.

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


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Larry & Carole Meeker