Surveyor's Cross

Surveyor's Cross

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A surveyor’s cross is a simple instrument used to lay out straight lines and lines at right angles to one another. There are two forms. The open form has four arms set at right angles to one another, with an open sight at each end. The closed form is solid, with four slits at right angles to one another; this seems to have been introduced around 1803 by William Jones, an instrument maker in London.
This example, closed and cylindrical, has a silver band graduated to degrees, and read by vernier to 2 minutes. There are two slits on the lower part of the cylinder, and four on the upper part. There is a magnetic compass on top. It probably belonged to Llewellyn N. Edwards (1874-1952), a structural engineer.
Ref: The Cyclopaedia; or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature, ed. Abraham Rees (London, 1819), vol. x, art. "Cross, in Surveying."
Currently not on view
Object Name
Surveyor's Cross
overall: 6 3/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 17.145 cm x 6.985 cm
overall: 3 7/16 in x 7 3/4 in x 3 3/4 in; 8.73125 cm x 19.685 cm x 9.525 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Estate of Carolyn H. Edwards
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Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Surveying and Geodesy
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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