Pfister Transit

This is marked "Herm. Pfister for L. M. Prince Cincinnati O." Herman Pfister (1847-1911) was born in Switzerland. By 1870, he was making surveying and engineering instruments in Cincinnati, Ohio. Louis M. Prince (1850-1918) opened a store in Cincinnati in 1873, selling a wide variety of optical and mathematical instruments. In this example of Pfister's work, the horizontal and vertical circles are silvered, graduated every 30 minutes of arc, and read by vernier to single minutes. There are stadia wires in the telescope, and a clamp and tangent to the telescope axis.
Ref: Charles Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700 (Troy, N.Y., 1962), p. 131; and vol. 2 (1967), p. 234.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Pfister, Herman
overall: 12 1/2 in; 31.75 cm
horizontal circle: 7 in; 17.78 cm
vertical circle: 5 in; 12.7 cm
needle: 5 in; 12.7 cm
telescope: 10 in; 25.4 cm
hanging level: 5 in; 12.7 cm
place made
United States: Ohio, Cincinnati
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Smart, Charles E.. Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700
Additional Media

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