Surveyor's Transit

Surveyor's Transit

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Gurley described this instrument as a Light Mountain Transit with two verniers to the horizontal circle. The inscription on this example reads "W. & L. E. GURLEY, TROY, N.Y." It has a 4-inch needle, vertical arc, hanging level, and clamp and tangent to the telescope axis. With solar attachment and latitude arc, it cost $300. These features were designed by Robert M. Jones of New Mexico, and described in his patent (#270,679) of Jan. 16, 1883. The transit is also equipped with a gradienter that measures elevations of the telescope, and that cost an additional $18. Gurley began making these gradienters in 1885.
Gurley introduced the Light Mountain Transit in 1876. This example was made after 1886, when Gurley began using bent standards, and before 1908, when Gurley began using serial numbers. The label in the box, with an image of "W. & L. E. Gurley's Instrument Manufactory," was used until 1900, and suggests that the transit was made before that date.
Ref: W. & L. E. Gurley, Manual of the Instruments used in American Engineering and Surveying (Troy, N.Y., 1904), pp. 28-32, 56, 61-69, 83-84.
Currently not on view
Object Name
surveyor's transit
date made
about 1889
W. & L. E. Gurley
place made
United States: New York, Troy
overall: 13 1/4 in; 33.655 cm
horizontal circle: 5 1/2 in; 13.97 cm
needle: 4 in; 10.16 cm
telescope: 8 in; 20.32 cm
hanging level: 5 in; 12.7 cm
overall in box: 14 1/2 in x 10 1/2 in x 10 in; 36.83 cm x 26.67 cm x 25.4 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
LaVerne Watkins
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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