Kübel Theodolite

Edward Kübel (1820-1896) was born in Bavaria, moved to Washington, D.C. around 1849, and went to work as foreman for William Würdemann. He went into business on his own in 1875, advertising that he "continues to manufacture the class of Astronomical and Geodetical Instruments formerly made by Mr. Würdemann." According to an account written in 1884, Kübel employed seven or eight skilled workmen, and his business was principally for the U. S. government.
This instrument was made for the U. S. Geological Survey, which was organized in 1879. It was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1907. The inscriptions read "No. 172 Edward Kübel, Washington, DC" and "U.S.G.S. 8 IN No. 1." The horizontal circle is silvered, graduated to 20 minutes, and read by opposite verniers and magnifiers to 20 seconds. The vertical circle is silvered, graduated to 20 minutes of arc, and read by vernier and magnifier to single minutes.
Ref: Silvio Bedini, "Edward Kübel (1820-1896) Washington, D.C. Instrument Maker," Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 85 (1998): 247-279.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Kübel, Edward
overall: 14 in; 35.56 cm
horizontal circle: 9 in; 22.86 cm
graduated horizontal circle: 8 in; 20.32 cm
vertical circle: 4 1/4 in; 10.795 cm
telescope: 18 in; 45.72 cm
place made
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
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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