Stackpole & Brother Transit

A. J. Kirby of Westchester County, New York, acquired this instrument around 1870 and used it for about 50 years. His son donated it to the Smithsonian in 1930. The instrument is unusual in several ways: the telescope is transit-mounted but too long to transit, and an adjustable strut at the objective end holds the telescope at a fixed angle of elevation. The horizontal circle is silvered, graduated to 20 minutes, and read by opposite verniers to 20 seconds. A magnetic compass in the center of the circle is suitable only for rough orientation, and a hanging level is below the telescope. The signature reads "Stackpole & Brother, New York 939."
F. E. Brandis, who was working for Stackpole at the time this instrument was made, later incorporated some of its features-most notably the long transit mounted telescope and the adjustable strut-in what he called his Improved City Transit.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1870
Stackpole and Brother
overall: 8 1/2 in; 21.59 cm
horizontal circle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
telescope: 13 in; 33.02 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
maker number
accession number
catalog 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

Visitor Comments

11/21/2016 5:35:47 PM
Mary Patterson
I have this same instrument that I believe belonged to my grandfather.. Just thought someone might like to know about it. It was in its original wooden case.
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