B. Pike & Son Transit

The "B. Pike & Son. New York. Warranted" signature identifies the shop in which this instrument was sold, but not necessarily where it was made, or by whom. It was used between 1831 and 1841, when Benjamin Pike worked with his son Benjamin Jr., and again between 1843 and 1850, when Benjamin Pike worked with his son Daniel. The word "Warranted" represents the Pikes' guarantee of quality. In design and production, however, this instrument is less successful than those made by men who specialized in instruments of this sort.
As in William J. Young's original surveyor's transit, the horizontal circle here is inside the compass face. The circle, however, is graduated every 30 minutes of arc, and read by vernier to single seconds. The vertical circle is graduated every 1 degree, and read by vernier to 4 minutes.
Currently not on view
Object Name
B. Pike & Son
overall: 9 in; 22.86 cm
base plate: 8 1/2 in; 21.59 cm
vertical circle: 5 in; 12.7 cm
needle: 6 in; 15.24 cm
telescope: 9 1/4 in; 23.495 cm
level vial above the telescope: 4 1/4 in; 10.795 cm
place made
United States: New York
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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