- 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
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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.