Wright Common Theodolite

Thomas Wright (about 1686–1767) was a prominent London maker who had gone into business for himself in 1718, after learning the trade from John Rowley. He traded at the sign of The Orrery & Globe, was appointed Mathematical Instrument Maker to His Royal Highness, George, Prince of Wales, and produced "all sorts of Mathematical Instruments for Sea & Land According to the best & latest Improvements." The title of Wright's royal appointment changed in 1727, when George II ascended to the throne. Wright retired from business in 1748. This elegant instrument has two open sights attached to the circle, and two on the alidade. The circle is graduated to degrees, and read by vernier to 5 minutes. It is signed "Made by Tho. Wright Instrumt Maker to Ye KING."
Ref: Gloria Clifton, Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550–1851 (London, 1995), p. 306.
Currently not on view
Object Name
theodolite (common)
date made
Wright, Thomas
base plate: 12 in; 30.48 cm
needle: 4 1/2 in; 11.43 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
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
maker referenced
Clifton, Gloria and Gerard L. E. Turner. Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers 1550-1851
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