Range Finder

Range Finder

<< >>
Henry Watkins, a captain in the Royal Artillery, obtained a British patent for a range finder in 1876. The instrument was soon adopted for service in Britain, and tested and found satisfactory by the U.S. Army in 1879. J. J. Hicks was a leading meteorological instrument maker in London. This is the model for Watkins' American patent issued in 1879. The inscriptions read "WATKINS Field Range Finder -- J. HICKS MAKER, 8 Hatton Garden, London" and "No. 12."
Ref: H. S. S. Watkins, "Improvement in Surveying-Instruments," U.S. Patent #213018 (1879).
F. H. Phipps, "Report on Range Finders," Report of the Chief of Ordnance to the Secretary of War for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1879, Appendix X.
Anita McConnell, King of the Clinicals. The Life and Times of J. J. Hicks (1837-1916) (York, 1998).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Range Finder
Object Type
Patent Model
date made
J. J. Hicks
place made
United Kingdom: England, London, City of London
overall: 1 1/4 in x 5 3/4 in x 2 5/8 in; 3.175 cm x 14.605 cm x 6.6675 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object