Wild Theodolite

Heinrich Wild's Precision Theodolite, introduced in 1925 and later known as the T3, is a geodetic version of the T2. The horizontal and vertical circles are glass, and read directly to .2 seconds. The telescope has a range of 20-60 miles. With some modifications, the T3 remained in production for about 50 years.
The U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey described the T3 as a "satisfactory first-order instrument" suitable for the most exacting survey work. The U. S. Army published a detailed account of the maintenance and use of the T3 in 1963. The Geodetic Survey Squadron, a branch of the U. S. Air Force that became part of the U. S. Defense Mapping Agency when that organization was formed in 1972, used T3s to provide orientation at launch sites for missiles and satellites.
The National Imagery and Mapping Agency, successor to DMA, transferred this example to the Smithsonian in 2000. It was apparently purchased in 1969, and has its original airtight and watertight steel case, and its original wooden shipping case. The signature reads "WILD HEERBRUGG SWITZERLAND T-3 91599." Other markings read "1969 US" and "CONTR DSA-700-69-C-G570 FSN 6675-411-5446." A decal on the shipping case reads "DEFENSE MAPPING AGENCY, GEODETIC SURVEY SQUADRON."
Ref: Wild, The New Precision-Theodolite Wild T3 (Heerbrugg, 1939).
Currently not on view
place made
overall: 14 1/2 in; 36.83 cm
horizontal circle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
vertical circle: 3 3/4 in; 9.525 cm
telescope aperture: 2 23/32 in; 6.9342 cm
telescope: 10 1/4 in; 26.035 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
U.S. Department of Defense, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Geodesy and Geophysics Department
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


"I was an Inertial Guideance tech on the Atlas-E ICBM missile from 1960 to 1965 at F.E.Warren AFB in Cheyenne, WY. I used the Wild T3 to set the true North azimuth of the Alignment Group (which was used to align the gryos) within 1-second of arc by using Porlas (the North Star)."

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