Heliograph Chesterman Surveyors Chain Larry & Carole Meeker
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Antique Dealers & Brokers

Purveyors and Dealers of Americana  /  Patented & Mechanical Antiques

Antique & Collectible
Surveying Instruments & Related Tools

Transits, Theodolites, Solar Instruments, Levels, Compasses, Chains, Plumb Bobs, Etc.

We Buy or Can Help You Sell Vintage Surveying & Scientific Related Antiques!!

I buy, sell, and deal in many antique surveying instruments and related tools. Gurley Solar Transit In addition to this informational antiques related website www.AntiqBuyer.com,  we own and operate our antique sales website www.Patented-Antiques.com. It is from that website that we conduct our surveying instrument sales and other antique sales.  If you are in the market to buy vintage and antique surveying instruments or other scientific related antiques please visit that page.

If you have surveying instruments or other tool & technology related antiques you would like to sell please visit that page to see how we conduct our consignment sales.

If you would like to consign antiques with us and have additional questions please see the FAQ page and other informational pages at either site or Contact Us.

Surveying Instruments General Outline

I am interested in many different types or forms of early survey instruments and associated gurley survey compass tools and accessories.  I have specific pages covering other different types of surveying instruments you should visit through the links provided on the left.  To see past sales results look through the appropriate links in the right column.

There is a separate page for surveyor's compasses like the compass to the right.

There is also an informational page covering surveyor's levels like Wye and Engineer's levels or Farm levels and Dumpy levels.

We are especially interested in early surveying transits  K & E Solar Transitfocusing on more complex antique surveying instruments such as mining related transits, Theodilites, solar transits or solar compasses.  Surveyor's instruments that have solar attachments, or those with auxiliary scopes used for mining, or those that have other unusual patented or special use features are in general more difficult to find as they were offered to perform specific jobs as opposed to general work and so fewer were made and are considered more desirable and valuable.

If you have antique surveying instruments or vintage surveyor's tools that you want to sell, please contact me at AntiqBuyer@gmail.com with as many details as possible, including the size, the maker's name, or any other important written information. A pic would be especially helpful.

Pictures of the instrument are critical, and without them it is going to be impossible to determine what you have or be able to discuss it intelligently.  Just telling me you have a Gurley, a Berger, David White, Lietz or Leitz etc. and giving me the serial number, or what you say is the serial # or model # is not enough information.

1859 Gordon's Patent Goniometer / ProtractorAsking me what is it worth with just some verbal info would be like me asking you what my car is worth without me telling you anything more about it then that it is a Toyota.

In the past I  have had people tell me they had an American Lietz transit worth 2000 or more dollars, that was supposedly appraised by one of the countries leading authority in surveying instruments, DALE BEEKS, that turned out to be nothing more than a piece of Japanese junk worth next to nothing.  He saw no pictures, I saw no pictures, and in the end that piece of garbage ended up being worth not $200 or less, its actual value, not the 2000.00 or more it was said to have been appraised at, but closer to $500,000.00 when all was said and done.  Was it lies and deceit, or just Gee, I just did not know.  I am still trying to figure out how that all Antique Drafting Sethappened, but no pictures was one reason.  Long Story Short. Send a pic or two.

The list of American surveying instrument makers is extensive, and starts with such famous makers as Rittenhouse, who made instruments during George Washington's time, to the more well known and prolific makers like W. & L.  E. Gurley, A. Lietz, Buff, Berger, Heller & Brightly, Keuffel and Esser, Roach, Sala, or Queen & Co. to name just a few.  There are numerous makers of surveying instruments that have normal given names that were in business for varying periods of time in the 19th century.  The list of individual maker names is extensive and can not really be given here but there is interest in many of these lesser known makers and their pieces. 

Surveying Tools & Accessories

One surveyor's tool that is always of interest is called a surveying chain, surveying link chain, or Gunter Chain.  Antique surveyors chainSurveyor's chains are linked wire measuring devices and came in various lengths from 33' to 100' and in several different configurations including Metric.  Commonly found examples are either unmarked or English and marked Chesterman.  Chains can also be found marked K & E, Gurley, or by other American makers.  Some have special features to compensate for heat or expansion, most do not. The links on earlier ones are not welded, and typically are on later ones.  Steel tapes on reels that were used by surveying parties in the recent past are also referred to as chains but in general are not nearly as collectible or in demand as these earlier link chains.

I am also interested in early tripods or staffs that came with most surveying instruments. They come in many different sizes for different instruments.  The earlier the better.  Plane tables and their tripods are also of interest.  I have both of these listed for sale on our sales antique plumb bobswebsite www.Patented-Antiques.com if you are looking to buy them. 

I am interested in other precision tools and accessories that a surveyor or related  trades would use on the job or in the office.  I have mentioned many of these on other pages of this site, but the list would include planimeters, anemometers, early drafting sets in fitted wooden boxes, alidades, plane tables, plumb bobs & Plummets, and any other form of lights used in mines, etc.  plumb_reel2.jpg (16841 bytes)

Unusual plumb bobs like the one pictured here with an internal reel or string winder are especially sought.  This style internal reel plumb bob can be found with several different names or can be found unmarked. Other unusual plumb bobs have external wheels, or cranks, while those used for mining were called plummets and have a lighting feature so that they could be sighted in on at the end of a dark shaft or tunnel.  Plumb bobs come in all shapes and sizes, and are very collectible when patented or have some unique attribute.

Surveying Stadia Rules

Surveyor's also used different calculators or means to figure large numbers in their Surveyors Stadia Rule work and all of these different devices are of interest as well.  The latest examples used that we would be interested in would be hand held Curta calculators. Additional info on them can be found on the calculation page.  Also of interest are different stadia slide rules used by Surveyors that were put out over the years.  K & E  made or offered several different models through the years with their more typical stick rules being the 12" 4100 Stadia Rule, or the 4101 20" model.  They also offered the Webb Stadia Rule that was a small portable circular or drum style stadia rule that is very difficult to find today.  I have one of those pictured in the past sales archives that I sold.

If you have antique surveying instruments or vintage surveyor's tools that you want to sell, please contact me at  AntiqBuyer@gmail.com with as many details as possible, including the size, the maker's name, or any other important written information that is given.

To see example of previously sold antiques from our websites visit the Past Sales Archive Pages through the links on the right.

To see examples of antique surveying instruments and related equipment that I have currently have for sale, please go to our sister site www.Patented-Antiques.com. and visit the surveying related sale pages you will find there. 

Thank you!!
Larry & Carole

J. C. Sala SF Long Neck / Wide Shoulder Brass Plumb Bob Negretti and Zambra pocket sextant

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Larry & Carole Meeker