Charles A. C. Eckhold, a German engineer living in Alexandria, Egypt, obtained a British patent for the omnimeter in 1868. Contemporary accounts term it an "important surveying instrument," noting that it "measures distances and altitudes with an extraordinary degree of accuracy and great economy of time and labor; it accomplishes, without being moved, the work of Theodolite, Level, and Chain, and may be used as an ordinary Theodolite."

The key feature of the Omnimeter is a tangential scale located across the horizontal circle that is read by a telescope mounted perpendicularly to the main telescope. This example is marked "Eckhold's Patent Omnimeter, No 26" and "Elliott Bros LONDON." It belonged to George Shattuck Morison (1842-1903), a prominent American engineer and bridge builder. The horizontal circle is silvered, beveled, graduated to 30 minutes, and read by opposite verniers to single minutes. The vertical circle is silvered`, graduated to 30 minutes, and read by opposite verniers and magnifiers to single minutes.

Ref: "Distances" in [Edward Spon], Spons' Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval (London, 1872), pp. 1210-1214.

Eckhold's Patent Omnimeter, Manufactured by Elliott Brothers (London, n.d.)

"George Shattuck Morison," Civil Engineering 8 (1938): 288-289.

Maker: Elliott Brothers

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United Kingdom: England, London

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences, Surveying and Geodesy, Measuring & Mapping


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Spons' Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, American Society of Civil Engineers. Civil Engineering

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1993.0112.01Accession Number: 1993.0112Catalog Number: 1993.0112.01

Object Name: theodolite

Measurements: overall: 15 1/4 in; 38.735 cmhorizontal circle: 5 3/8 in; 13.6525 cmneedle: 4 1/2 in; 11.43 cmvertical circle: 5 3/8 in; 13.6525 cmtelescope: 13 in; 33.02 cmoverall in case: 8 1/8 in x 23 1/8 in x 10 1/4 in; 20.6375 cm x 58.7375 cm x 26.035 cm


Record Id: nmah_747573

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