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Antique American Surveying Transits

Past Sales Archive

This is just a sample of the many antique surveying instruments we have sold.
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Buff & Berger #11 Theodolite / TransitBuff & Berger # 11 Theodolite / Transit  This  unusual special use surveying instrument is in excellent condition. The partnership of Buff & Berger was formed in the 1870's and dissolved in 1898.  Each partner went their own way, and opened up new shops under the names Berger & Sons, and Buff & Buff.

The scope on this unusual instrument is 11"  long and the image inverted.  The optics are crisp and clear.  The end plate on one side is marked City of Boston St Laying Out Department.  In reading from a Buff & Buff catalog from this era it can be seen that this style theodolite was designed specifically for this type of application.  Road building that is.  An interesting feature is that the caps on the end of the scope axles can be swung out so that the scope can be lifted and reinserted 180 degrees so that one could shoot a line to the rear without disturbing the set-up of the base. This design was necessary as the scope can not be turned in a full circle when mounted because the optics were such that the scope is too long to do that.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original.  There are two magnifiers over the vernier scales to help with reading the fine graduations on the silver scales.  There is no tripod or box. 

A large, graphic and rare instrument that is in very nice condition and will be a highlight of any display or collection.

Good + . . . . . . $500.00       SOLD!!





Buff & Buff Mfg. Co. Mining Transit w/ Box & TripodBuff & Buff Mfg. Co. Mining Transit w/ Box & Tripod  This Buff & Buff mining transit is in exceptional condition. From the serial  #9842 on the plate we can surmise this transit was manufactured in the first quarter of the 1900's. Mining transits were developed so that the user could shoot past the plate when sighting down a mine shaft. The second scope could be mounted on the top, or off one or the other side.

The Buff & Buff MFG. Co was formed after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century. The original firm of Buff & Berger split into two companies in 1898 with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, hence the company names, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons found on those later instruments.

The transit has has a matte green finish showing just minimal scuffs & wear at some high spots. The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit.  It has an erect image and the optics are crisp and clear.  The main scope has 6 crosshairs.  One vertical, 3 horizontal, and an X.   The smaller scope has a simple cross.  The silvered vertical circle is enclosed and read from the side window facing the operator.  All level bubbles are good.  All motions operate as they should with some stiffness from sitting for nearly 100 years. They could use a lube.  The serial # on the box and instrument do not match. The leather strap is original and stamped with a serial #.   It has a break or tear in it.  The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish with minor scuffs. There is a counterweight and several sunshades mounted on the base board.  The base board has the same number as the strap, which is different from the # on the instrument. The original Buff marked collapsible leg tripod is in fine condition and is included in the price. 

This is is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any mining, surveying, or related collection.

Fine  . . . . .  $2200.00    SOLD!! 




H. S. Crocker San Francisco / Sacramento Surveyor's TransiH. S. Crocker San Francisco / Sacramento Surveyor's Transit  This unusual surveying transit is in excellent condition. It is marked H. S. Crocker Co. San Francisco / Sacramento under the glass on the silvered compass face.  While there is plenty of info on the H. S. Crocker company and their history in California during and after the Gold Rush Era, I can find no information or reference to them making surveying instruments, or mention of other instruments marked with their name.  There are no other examples or references to others be found at the several surveying instrument reference sites online, and there is no reference in Smarts reference book on instruments either.  One possibility is that Crocker is not the maker, and that it was made for them by somebody else.  I am not sure who that would be as it has characteristics unlike most of the better known makers of the time.  I am pretty sure it is not a Gurley or K & E, and have been told it is perhaps a Queen or Young out of Pennsylvania.  The most notable feature is the way the caps are done to hold the scope in place with split screws. (see Pic 5226) 

The scope on this unusual instrument is 9"  long making it a light mountain size.  The optics are crisp and clear.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original. All motions are smooth.  The box shows signs of having been covered with fabric or canvas at one time given all the small holes in the wood. 

A rare instrument in very nice condition and will be a highlight of any display or collection. 

Fine . . . . . . $1750.00   SOLD!!




Warren Knight Sterling Transit w/ Solar AttachmentWarren Knight "Sterling" Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This Warren Knight Solar transit is a very nice instrument that has a great look when all set up. This transit is set up to accept the Saegmuller solar attachment seen in the first pic mounted on the board next to the instrument.   K & E used a dovetail sliding arrangement to mount their Saegmuller solar on their instruments.  Warren Knights version used a threaded mount.   The transits mainWarren Knight Sterling Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit .  It has an erect image  and the optics are OK.  The compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should.  The box is nice.  The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina on the brass surfaces, and those areas that were finished in black are showing their age.

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine ones location without relying on the compass in the field.   Magnetic deviations, especially here in the west, and in other locations where the geography contains large amounts of magnetic ore could throw off a compass and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain areas.  The idea was to use the position of the sun, and the horizon, to determine ones location.  Much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments.   The Burt solar attachment, which looks like a miniature sextant, was used on Gurley instruments and on those by California makers Sala and Roach.  K & E used the Saegmuller style, as seen here, which was a small telescope that mounts above the main scope. Other types od solar attachments are the Smith and Pearson Patent Solar Attachments named after the patent holder or inventor. 

This solar transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.  

Good + . . . . . . $2250.00      SOLD!!





Young & Sons Solar Transit with Smith Patent Solar Attachment in Original BoxYoung & Sons Solar Transit with Smith Patent Telescopic Solar Attachment in Original Box  This is a rare c. 1913 Young solar transit with an unusual Smith Patent Telescopic Solar attachment. This transit is called off as No. 10 in an early Young catalogs.  The patent for the solar attachment was first granted in 1880.  This example is an improved model that was patented in 1902.   The serial number on the transit indicates it dates from shortly after the turn of the century. 

Young's use of Aluminum for many of the different parts of the transit is very unusual for an instrument from this time period.  It has a 4½" horizontal circle, a 4" silvered vertical circle, a 3.3" needle, and a 10" main telescope. The telescope on the Smith solar unit is 7" long, and is inscribed "Pat Sep 16, 1902." There is a counterweight that mounts on the standard opposite the side with the solar unit.  All motions are free and move smoothly.  The compass works as it should.  Note that there is a vernier scale on the outside plate, and another under the glass.

Fine   . . . . . . $3750.00     SOLD!!



Heller & Brightly TransitHeller & Brightly Engineers Transit  The overall condition of this large graphic surveyor's / engineers transit is very nice. The main scope on this surveyors or engineers transit is 11" long. The bronzed lacquer finish is in great condition and has developed a nice even patina. The serial numbers on the instrument and box match.  2 level vials are good and one is empty. All motions are free and the compass works.  Note how the leveling head detaches and mounts separate in the box. 

The serial # is 5228 which from published records we can assume dates this large transit w/ compass from the early 1880's or so.   Heller and Brightly formed their partnership in 1870. Heller had worked for Young previously, and before Young died in 1870 he had become a partner in that firm. This was before teaming up with Brightly soon after Young's death and starting the new firm of Heller & Brightly. H & B began their numbering system at 4400 and so this would be approx. the 800th instrument made after they began operations.

All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection.

Good  . . . . . . $1095.00     SOLD!!



Info on Heller & Brightly from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores. Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.




John Roach Surveying TransitJohn Roach Surveying Transit   John Roach's working dates were from approx. 1833 to 1891 when he died.  He was California's second well known surveying instrument maker.  William Albert Schmolz was California's first recognized surveying instrument maker.  John Roach came to California during the beginning of the Gold Rush era.  The serial # on this transit is 791 and using some creative math and a bit of guesswork would date this transit from a period near the Civil War.

Before coming to California Roach had been in partnership in New York with a fellow named Warner.  Another instrument maker named  J. C. Sala worked with John Roach here in California and later took over the business after Roaches death in 1891.  Roach instruments are not common and are a well made example of precision quality. 

The transits scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit .  It has an erect image and the optics are clear w/ crosshairs.  The blackened compass face is nice, and the needle operates properly.  It has a nice overall appearance and patina.  All motions seem to operate as they should noting that the thumbscrew which would lock the scope is broken off.  The box is OK.  There is no tripod.

This transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments or California history.  

Good + . . . . . .$950.00      SOLD!




P & R Wittstock / Berlin Scott's Mine Tachymeter / Mining TransitP & R Wittstock / Berlin "Scott's" Mine Tachymeter / Mining Transit  The overall condition of this unusual surveying instrument is very nice. This style transit / theodolite is pictured online in the book titled "The evolution of mine-surveying instruments" by Dunbar Scott. That online book, published in the 1890's, illustrates, discusses and makes claims for this style instrument as being very useful and an advanced design. The serial # on this piece is 604. Other than the reference noted above there is little info to be found on this maker or instrument online.  Wittstock is not listed in Smarts, and there are no examples in the Smithsonian collection.

The leather cover for the box is coming apart at the seams and is very fragile. It did a good job protecting the wooden box which is in fine condition. (see pics) The instrument itself, and the auxiliary scope are very nice. The main scope is approx. 8" and the smaller one 6". Both have sun shades and reflectors. There are also lens covers for both. The counterweight which mounts opposite the aux. scope screws onto the wooden base when not in use. There is a spot built inside the box for the second scope but no means to lock it in place. The optics are good, and crosshairs are present in both scopes. There are also 2 right angle eyepieces with a sliding feature for 3 different lenses.  Note the 2 magnifiers to aid in reading both the vertical and plate vernier scales. All motions operate smoothly. The leveling head and plate are made of brass. The instrument frame is cast aluminum. The scopes are constructed of both brass and aluminum making for interesting contrasts. The maker info and serial # are stamped onto the top plate. The collapsible leg tripod in the last pic is included. It is a small light weight piece in nice condition. The cap for it is a C.L. Berger but it fits the instrument properly and i believe is original to it.   Nice!!

This transit looks great and will display very nicely in, and be a highlight of, any collection of surveying related instruments or mining related collection.  

Fine . . . . . . $1950.00            SOLD!!




Cary / London Mining Theodolite w/ Aux. Oil Wick LightCary / London Mining Theodolite / Transit w/ Aux. Oil Wick Light This unusual English Mining Transit / Theodolite is in superb original condition.  It dates from near the turn of the century.  Be sure to look at all the pics to see the details and how it is fitted into the original Mahogany Cary / London Mining Theodilite w/ Oil Wick Light box.  It is complete and then some.  Some features are as follows.  There are 3 different interchangeable rear eyepieces.  A short one, a long one, and a right angle one.  There is also an extra set of crosshairs in a small brass container in the box. 

The most unusual feature of this mining transit / theodolite is the small oil fired aux light for use in mines or poor lighting conditions that is still present and complete in the box. (See pic of different parts)  It is mounted on the left side of the theodolite in the left side pic above.  This small auxiliary light can be mounted on either side of the transit.  The main scopes axis is hollow and has a lens on both sides that this light would shine light into illuminating the inside of the scope so the user could see better for use in mines or other poor lighting conditions.  Note also that this instrument has four small magnifiers to aid in reading the scales. 2 on the lower plate and 2 for the vertical circle vernier.  The plate vernier is silver and beveled.  The compass operates and points north.  The compass face is silvered and very nice.  This instrument also has a removable striding level which fits crosswise on top after the instrument has been set up.    A wonderful and very graphic looking instrument. 

Fine. . . . .$2950.00         SOLD!!


Berger Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment
Berger Transit Mining Transit w/ Aux. Mining Scope Attachment 
  This was the third surveying instrument I bought that has a provision for taking an auxiliary scope mounting either on top or on the side of the transit.   These auxiliary scopes were typically utilized in mining applications as a means to more readily determine locations and reference points, allowing the user to shoot straight down past the plate.

I have bought and sold a lot of transits and levels by various manufacturers over the years, and during that time saw very few surveying instruments that had this provision to take an auxiliary scope that this style of transit does.  This example showed up on eBay one day with a BUY IT NOW icon and I hit it just a couple of hours after it had been listed.  I figured I had done OK.  Over the next month or so 3 more  appeared on eBay, with each one bringing less than the previous.  One of them was in absolutely immaculate condition, and I was the underbidder, with the next lower bidder at a lot less than I paid for this one. The other in lesser condition after 10 days bought just about what I paid for this example.  Is it a case of them not being rare, or did these examples come out of the woodwork so to speak because of the price paid for the first one, or was it simply a fluke of timing.  Over the years I have seen and / or been part of this kinds of scenario before.  Where you run into a pocket of something that was previously considered very rare, and suddenly there are a dozen or more of them available. The prices fluctuate, and are volatile for a while.  I have yet to figure out exactly where this instrument fits into this picture, but it is a very nice example and comes complete with its tripod and box.  The auxiliary scope is a different finish, but that is to be expected and not improper.

The counterweight is present, as well s two different style sunshades. The box is in nice condition overall. and there are three different labels glued to the inside. The overall condition is very nice, and I believe that this instrument was factory refinished at one point it is so nice.  All bubbles are good, and all of the screws and motions turn freely as they should.   The collapsible tripod is very nice as well and is included in this offering.

Good . . . . .$850.00        SOLD



Buff & Buff Mining Transit w/ Secondary ScopeBuff & Buff Mining Transit w/ Secondary Scope  This engineer size Buff mining transit is equipped with a second scope to allow the user to shot over the edge of the plate when it is aimed straight down.  The second scope can also be mounted on the outside of the transit on the main axle. This arrangement with 2 scopes was used inside of mines to help in the layout of tunnels and shafts.  I believe it dates from sometime just after the turn of the century. 

The vertical circle is silvered and graduated to 30.  So is the vernier on the plate. This graphic looking transit has a 4" compass needle. The compass works well, and the silvered face is nice.  The optics are clear and the cross hairs are intact.  The smaller scope has a cloud on the end lens.  It is also stiff when trying to adjust it, but it does focus, and its crosshairs are present.  There is no counterweight.  All other motions are smooth, and work properly.  The three level vials are full.  There is no box.   A very nice looking and hard to find mining transit that will display very nicely.

Good  . . . . . . .$950.00        SOLD



Buff & Buff Mining TransitBerger Mining Transit   This engineer size Berger mining transit is set up to accept a second scope to allow the user to shot over the edge of the plate when it is aimed straight down.  This arrangement with 2 scopes was used inside of mines to layout tunnels and vertical shafts. There is no second scope although the last pics show it with the scope from the instrument listed above to show what it would look like.

The vertical circle is silvered and graduated to 30.  So is the vernier on the plate. This graphic looking transit has a 3" compass needle and black face. The serial number is 17503.  The compass works well.  The optics are clear and the cross hairs are intact.  The counterweight is present and attached to the base plate.  It has a double telescopic effect when focusing it.  The front extends out in 2 stages.  There is also a thumbscrew near the eyepiece which does not operate or turn.  The eyepiece focuses by twisting and pulling it out so I am not sure what this motion is there for.  All other motions are smooth, and work properly.  The three level vials are full.  The box is nice, and has several paper labels inside.  A very nice looking and hard to find mining transit that will display very nicely.

Good + . . . . . . .$975.00        SOLD!!




A. Lietz Aluminum Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar AttachmentA. Lietz Aluminum Solar Transit w/ Saegmuller Solar Attachment  This A. Lietz Solar transit is a very nice instrument that has a great look when all set up. The entire instrument is made of Aluminum except for the lower clamp brackets and leveling head parts which are brass.  This transit is set up to accept the Saegmuller solar attachment seen mounted on the instrument in the first pic.   K & E used a dovetail sliding arrangement to mount their Saegmuller solar on their instruments.  This marked Lietz version used a threaded mount and is proper and right for the instrument. 

 The transits main scope is 11" long which would make this an engineers or surveyors transit.  It has an erect image  and the optics are OK. The compass is operable, and the silvered face is very nice.  The serial # is 1346.  I would think this transit dates from just after the turn of the century.  Aluminum was a new material at this point in time, and very few tools or instruments were made using it.   Note that the solar attachment platform is part of the original casting and not an added mount as is usually seen.  The solar attachment is marked Lietz as seen in the pics.  It is made of brass and finished in black.    All motions seem to operate as they should on both the transit and the attachment.  The box is OK.  There is no tripod. 

Solar transits were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location without relying on the compass in the field.   Magnetic deviations, especially here in the west, and in other locations where the geography contains large amounts of magnetic ore could throw off a compass reading and were not an accurate means to determine ones location in certain areas.  The idea with solar instruments was to use the position of the sun and the horizon to determine ones location.  Much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points.

There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments.   The Burt solar attachment was used on Gurley instruments and on those by Sala and Roach.  K & E used the Saegmuller style which was a small telescope that mounts above the main scope. Other types are the Smith and Pearson Patent Solar Attachments named after the patent holder or inventor. 

This unusual aluminum solar transit will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.  

Good + . . . . . .$1950.00       SOLD!!



Bausch & Lomb Explorer / Expedition Size Transit w/ BoxBausch & Lomb Explorer / Expedition Size Transit w/ Box This compact / small size transit is very nice and very unusual.  Bausch and Lomb first opened their doors in the mid 1850's and  were well known in the optics business before they went into a business partnership with, George Saegmueller in 1905, and then Carl Zeiss in 1907 at which point they also began to produce Surveying instruments, transits and other scientific and engineering instruments.  They manufactured surveying instruments up until the entry of the United States into the First World War in about 1917.   After the war, production of these sorts lines was never resumed.  It seems there was better money making things for the military and that became their primary focus.

Everything on this small transit seems to be working nicely.  The scope is approx. 8" long and the optics are clear with crosshairs present. The serial # 7937 is seen under the compass glass.  There are also 2 patent dates found there from 1903, as well as the name Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.   Note how the leveling vials are incorporated into the plate under the compass glass as opposed to being mounted on the standards like on most larger instruments.  The transit fits into the box laying on it side.  The box is OK with normal scuffs.   The different finishes on the mostly brass instrument are original and OK.  They purposefully left some areas like the base and eyepieces in natural brass.  It has a 3" full vertical circle scaled to 30'.  

Given the short production span of 10 years or so, and the limited number produced, instruments by these folks are pretty hard to come by.

Good  . . . . . .$950.00       SOLD!!




Berger Transit Berger Transit  This transit will make for a great display piece.  The box is a bit torn up and the door needs to be reset.  It looks as if somebody started to refinish it and stopped.   Everything seems to be working OK.   The scope is approx. 10" long and the optics are clear with crosshairs present. The serial # 14783 as seen under the compass glass.  I believe it dates from the 30's or so.  The black crinkle finishes on the mostly brass instrument are original and OK.  They purposefully left some areas like the base and eyepieces in natural brass.  It has a 4" full vertical circle scaled to 30'.   There is a pad missing under one of the leveling screws on the leveling head.   

Note:  I have a nice fixed leg tripod that will fit this instrument.  It is a non standard size approx. 3 1/4 x 12.  It is offered separately for $125.00 additional. 

Good  . . . . . .$650.00       SOLD!




Buff & Buff Surveyor's / Engineers Transit Buff & Buff Surveyor's / Engineers Transit   This is a nice looking surveying instrument by one of the best known makers of surveying instruments in America.  George Buff studied under and made instruments for a number of other makers before going into business for himself in the 1860's.  In the 1890's he formed the company Buff & Buff in New York and this company remained in business until 1980 or so.  This instruments design was their mainstay and was produced for over 70 years from the research I have seen.   The condition is very nice noting the missing eye piece end cover, the optics are fine, and a repair to the Mahogany box.  The serial # and patent date can be seen in the close-up of the compass face, which also shows how nice the finish is.  The finish on the instrument itself is super and original.  I believe it dates from the first quarter of the 20th century.

Good . . . . .$750.00        SOLD




Buff & Buff Engineer's or Builders TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's or Builders Transit   The overall condition and look of this surveying instrument from the famous Boston Maker Buff & Buff, which dates from the early part of the last century is second to none.  It is fully operational and all moving parts and adjusters move freely.  All 3 of the level vials are good.  The sight glasses are nice as well.  The Compass is operational, and its locking feature functions.  The clear lacquer finish is near perfect and original.  The green finish portions on the supports and wheel cover are in great condition also and add a great contrasting look.  The box is also very nice as well.  A super piece for display or the collection.

Good . . . . .$650.00        SOLD




Buff & Buff Expedition Size TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's Transit   The overall condition and look of this surveying instrument from the famous Boston Maker Buff & Buff is very nice.  It is fully operational and all moving parts and adjusters move freely.  All 3 of the level vials are good.  The sight glasses are nice as well.  The Compass is operational, and its locking feature functions.  The box is also very nice as well.  A super piece for display or the collection.

Good . . . . .$750.00        SOLD






C. L. Berger & Sons Engineer's TransitC. L. Berger & Sons Engineer's Transit   The serial # is 17,502, and this would date this surveyor's or engineer's transit / instrument from approx. 1930 or so.  The optics are clear, the crosshairs present, and the compass is functioning.  All other motions are free and operate as they should.  All level vials are full and appear to be original.  There are 2 small screws that hold the shroud over the vertical scale that are missing.  This instrument is currently housed a nicely done craftsman made box that fits it nicely. 

Good . . . . .$575.00        SOLD


Below is a short history of this company that comes from the Smithsonian's well done site and pictures some of their collection.  The link to that site is http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm

Berger

Christian Louis Berger (1842–1922) was born at Stuttgart, and was descended from men who made arms and armor for the royal family of Würtemberg. He apprenticed with Christian Saeger, a local maker of surveying instruments and analytical scales, and worked in other instrument shops in Germany and England. Moving to Boston in 1866, Berger worked for E. S. Ritchie & Son and then for John Upham. In 1871 he joined with George Louis Buff, and began trading as Buff & Berger.

In 1898, after an acrimonious dispute over the roles that their sons would play in the business, Buff and Berger parted company. Berger acquired the assets of Buff & Berger, began trading as C. L. Berger & Sons, purchased a 30-inch dividing engine from William Würdemann, built a new factory in Roxbury, and continued to produce instruments for engineers and surveyors. Although C. L. Berger & Sons remained successful throughout the first half of the 20th century, they could not adjust to the electronic revolution that swept the instrument enterprise in the postwar period, or compete with inexpensive instruments from abroad. The Chicago Steel Tape Company purchased the remains of C. L. Berger & Sons in 1995.




Buff & Buff Explorer TransitBuff & Buff Expedition Size Transit   After the partnership of Buff & Berger was dissolved in 1898 each partner went off on their own to form new instrument making companies with Berger going into business with his sons, as Berger & Sons, and Buff doing the same starting the new company of Buff & Buff with his sons.

This is a nice looking transit with a 8" scope which I believe would make it an expedition size transit . The serial number is 10,616, and I am not sure how Buff & Buff went about numbering their instruments after the breakup of the partnership. Berger just picked up where the two had left off, and from the look of this transit and figuring Buff did the same I would think this transit dates from near the turn of the century and before the 1920's.

All of the bubbles are good, and the compass functions. All the motions are free and turn properly. The crosshairs are present. The serial number on the base is the same as the instruments. It has a 4" silver vertical circle scaled to read to a minute. A great size transit and very nice looking instrument that will display very nicely.

Good . . . . .$450.00        SOLD




Heitzler Instrument Co. #52 Solar #1 TransitHeitzler Instrument Co. Transit Serial #52 Marked #1 Solar w/ 1911 Patent  This is a very unusual transit in several respects.  The maker mark, Heitzler Instrument Co. Denver Colo. and the info about this transit being serial # 52 and #1 Solar can be found under the glass on the compass face.  Frank Heitzler operated his mathematical and instrument making business from Denver Colorado back near the turn of the last century.  He is first listed in 1904 as working by himself.    For a short period of time starting in 1906 he was in a partnership with a fellow named Weiss an optician and instrument maker.  He opened his own business, Heitzler Instrument Co. for a short 2 years in 1910 -1912 before he disappeared from the directories.  There are short Bio's on both Weiss and Heitzler in Smarts book on surveying instruments, and all of that was derived from that.

The Smithsonian has a transit / instrument that looks very similar to this one marked Weiss & Heitzler in their online collection. They show, and refer to the binocular style scope like this transit has, but get the patent date / number wrong.  The correct patent for the offset scope with prisms, much like a binocular is Pat. 891773 - June 23 1908.  Heitzler pulled another patent,  US Pat. 946602 - Jan 18, 1910, for a transit with a very unusual feature of a sliding standard so that the transit could be used for mining purposes when the standards were shifted to the edge of the plate.  There are no known examples of that transit known.  

This transit has a 3rd patent date under the glass of April 1911 and just above that says Solar #1.    I can find no reference to this patent or any patent for anything solar related for this transit.  Inside the box there is a space in the bottom of the box for what one would assume would hold a striding level.  It might have been meant to hold something bigger, but there is no solar attachment or striding level there or elsewhere.  There is also no attachment point on the transit to accept a solar attachment.  Perhaps it just sat on top like a striding level might, but there are no points that show any wear from something like this either.  A mystery!!

Parts of this transit like the screw base are made of Aluminum.  Most of the rest is brass.  The scope is 8" long.  The compass needle 3 1/2" and working.  The finish is in super condition, and appears to be a two coat process with a dark green / black, over a lighter base coat with some of that showing through for the effect it gives.. That is factory.  The optics are clear and not inverted.  The crosshairs are present as well.  The vertical circle is 4" Dia.  All motions are free, and operable.

This is an interesting and rare transit. With a bit more research, and some luck, you could be the owner of one of the rarest forms of all surveying instruments produced.  Think about that, a solar transit with the serial # 52 and the  #1, solar that maker made.  This transit would be a fine addition to any collection of surveying instruments.  Opportunity Knocks.

Good + . . . . . .$1750.00       SOLD!




William Ainsworth & Son Denver Colorado Mining TransitWilliam Ainsworth & Sons of Denver Colorado Mining Transit   This is a very small and light transit whose overall condition is very nice.  The original bronzed lacquer finish is in super condition.  The exposed brass has developed a nice even patina.  It has a 3 1/2" needle and is either an expedition or explore model given the small size.  The transit has threaded axle ends to allow for a secondary auxiliary scope or solar attachment and counterweight. Neither is present.  The idea for a second scope is to allow the user to shoot angles that would otherwise be impossible because of the plate being in the way such as at very steep angles, or straight down. 

The main scope is just over 8" long.  The serial # is 2658.  William Ainsworth was an English immigrant who first opened his door for the making of surveying instruments in Denver in the 1880's.  In 1905 he added Sons to the name, so we can assume this transit dates from near that date.    Ainsworth is most famous for their production of the Brunton pocket compass which is still produced today.  In the day they were a well known and respected regional maker of surveying instruments, scales, and watches. 

 The tripod mount is only 2 1/4"  I have a Ainsworth tripod that is almost miniature with a 2 7/8 ring that is smaller than a Gurley explorer or expedition size tripod.  Imagine how small and light the tripod for this would be with a 2 1/4" ring.  All level vials are all good and all motions are free.  The optics are good, and the crosshairs are visible.  They are the finest that I have ever seen.  All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection. 

Good+ . . . . . . .$850.00        SOLD!




William Stackpole Surveyors / Engineers Transit William Stackpole Surveyors / Engineers Transit This surveyor's transit  is in good condition. Stackpole & Brother was a relatively early New York surveying instrument maker and began operations in the mid 1800's.   The box as shown  in the pics is pretty nice as well.  The bubbles are all good.  The compass is nice and the needle swings freely.  The company name and location are on the compass face under the glass and pictured below.  The optics are clear, and the crosshairs (3h & 1v) are good.  Stackpole produced a quality product and this transit is no exception. Note the positioning of the tangent lock.   The green lacquer finish is 90% or better and looks great  Those areas  that were not lacquered have a nice even patina. 

The Smithsonian site has a bio on the brothers who formed the company, and they have several of their instruments in their collection. 

See below for some of the info from the Smithsonian site.

Good+ . . . . . . .$850.00       SOLD!



Queen & Co Engineers TransitQueen & Co Engineers Transit   This is a large & nice looking Queen & Co. Engineers transit.  James Queen first opened shop in 1853, but the name of the firm was changed to Queen and Co in 1896 and this dates from after that time. The serial # 8414. is found on the compass face under the glass.  There are no published records to help pinpoint the exact date that this was made but it dates from before 1912 when the name was again changed.. 

The transit is in overall very nice condition and has 90% or more of the black matt finish remaining.  The scope measures 11" long.  It has a 5"  needle, and the silvered compass face is nice.  The needle swings freely and operates as it should.  .     The horizontal vernier are graduated to 30 degrees. The small opaque shades are present. All screws and motions move freely and as they should.  The optics  are clear and crosshairs present.   It takes a 3 1/2" x 8 tripod fixed leg tripod which is present but not pictured.  It is included in the price.  .  The box is OK, but is damaged and has been repaired.  A nice display piece at a reasonable price.  . 

Good  . . . . . .$550.00    SOLD!!



Fauth & Co.  Expedition Size TransitFauth & Co.  Expedition Size Transit   This Fauth & Co. of Washington DC expedition size transit is a rare and unusual surveying instrument. This company was formed in the 1870's between George Saegmuller and his two brothers in law, Camille Fauth and Henry Lockwood.  The transit is marked with the Fauth & Co.  as well as the Washington DC location under the glass on the compass face.  The serial #50 is also found under the glass. If I am reading right at the Smithsonian site George Saegmuller was a partner in the firm at this time and applied serial #'s to the instruments only after 1887.  The company disbanded in 1905 and I assume this dates from near 1887 with so low a #. 

The transit has an 7" scope and would be designated as a Expedition model. Be sure to see the leather case that the wooden box slips into.  Being an expedition size the makers tried to keep everything as small and compact as possible to be lighter and easier to transport in the field. The box for the transit is a study in compactness.  The leather field case has done a fine job protecting the mahogany box. The mahogany box for the transit shows just a few minor scuffs from storage.  The leather covering is in fine condition as well with  minor losses to the stitching and the straps missing.

All motions are free and turn as they should. The optics are perfect and exhibit no cloudiness or other problems. The image is inverted, and I do not see any crosshairs. The 3" compass needle swings freely and goes to north.  There are 3 different eyepieces, one of them being a right angle. The tripod size looks to be 2.75 x 13.

This small interesting instrument represents an opportunity that will not likely present itself again for a long time.
   Highly recommended!!

Fine . . . . . .$1050.00   SOLD!!




Heller & Brightly Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary Scope & TripodHeller & Brightly Mining Transit w/ Auxiliary Scope & Tripod  The main scope on this large surveyor's or engineers transit is 11" long.  The serial # is 4928 which from published records we can assume dates this mining transit from right around 1876 just a few years after Heller and Brightly formed their partnership in 1870.  Heller had worked for Young, and before Young died in 1870 he had become a partner in that firm.  This was before teaming up with Brightly soon after Young's death and starting the new firm of Heller & Brightly.

The transit is fitted for, and has the secondary auxiliary scope making this what would be termed a mining transit.  Heller & Brightly instruments in this form are very rare.  The box is fitted for the scope and other auxiliary pieces as well.  This transit is set to accept the secondary scope on just the right side and not on top.  It has a  very unusual split nut fitting that uses friction to hold the scope onto the spindle provided.  The axle on the other side of the instrument is set up to take a counterweight, and there is a place for a counterweight in the box, but it is missing.  The idea for a second scope is to allow the user to shoot angles that would otherwise be impossible because of the plate being in the way such as at very steep angles, or straight down.  

The overall condition of this rare mining transit is very nice.  The natural brass finish has developed a nice even patina. This transit has been on display in an office for the last 25 years or so.  It was found in Oregon, and the story was that it had come from PA where it had originally been in use. Also of  note is that the serial numbers on the instrument, box, and tripod all match.  The tripod is OK noting that it appears one leg has an early glue repair on a split in one rail.   The original screwdriver is in the box, and both scopes have sunshades.  All level vials are all good.  All in all a pretty rare instrument that will not turn up often and will make for a great display in the mining collection, or the surveying instrument collection. 

Good+ . . . . . . .$3250.00       SOLD!!

Info on Heller & Brightly from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.





A. Lietz of San Francisco Preliminary / Light Mountain Size Universal Jr. TransitA. Lietz of San Francisco Preliminary / Light Mountain Size "Universal Jr." Transit   This A Lietz transit has a serial # of 6022.  It looks to date from 1920 or earlier.  There are no certain means to know the exact date for Lietz instruments other than they stopped producing them and started importing them right after WWII.  A. Lietz first opened his business in San Francisco in 1882.  

This is a small compact transit with a 9" scope and 3 1/2" needle. It is designated the Universal Jr. on the compass face.  There is a drilled and tapped hole in the top of the scope as if to accept a solar attachment or mining scope.    The compass face is very nice and there is no corrosion or damage.  The finish is a worn dark lacquer and natural brass.  It has a great patina with contrasts of the different natural brass colors used for the different parts.  The transit is in overall very nice condition.   All screws and motions move freely and operate as they should.  The optics are clear and clean and there is one vertical and three horizontal crosshairs.  The box is original and has been oiled.  The door has an early repair done to the inside.  This transit also includes the original proper tripod.  It has repairs done to two of the legs that were carefully and tastefully done.  You can almost not see them.  Although it has not been calibrated this will make for a nice user or will display nicely in the proper setting.

Good + . . . . . .$750.00        SOLD!




Buff & Berger #2 Light Mountain Size TransitBuff & Berger #2 Light Mountain Size Transit   The partnership of Buff & Berger was formed in 1871.  They were located in Boston, and were in business until 1898 when the partnership was dissolved and each party went off on their own to form new surveying instrument companies.   Berger went into business with his sons, as Berger & Sons, and Buff did the same starting  the new company of Buff & Buff.  There are Bios for both companies from Smarts reference book that can be found at the Smithsonian site if interested. 

This is a nice looking transit with a 9" scope which according to the catalog I have would make it a #2 size transit.   From the serial number of 175 it seems that this transit was made during the first few years of the companies formation in the 1870's.

The center yoke piece is made of a white bronze or brass and has a great contrasting look with the rest of the instruments darker patiniated brass contrasting with that color.  All of the bubbles are good, and the compass functions.  All the motions are free and turn properly.  The rear lens adjustment is tight and needs a lube to focus the crosshairs easier, but they are there.

A great size and very nice looking instrument from a maker better known for their larger instruments. Buff & Berger instruments are equal in quality and feature to anything Gurley or K& E were putting out during the same time period.  They were a well known and respected firm and this instrument is far rarer than a similar size instrument by either of those better known and more prolific makers.  It will display very nicely.

Good+ . . . . . .$450.00        SOLD!!




Heller & Brightly Mining TransitHeller & Brightly Mining Transit   This is a later piece by this famous PA maker.  Note that the ends of the main axle of the scopes are threaded and set up to receive a second auxiliary scope for use in mines and the like. 

Good + . . . . . .$750.00        SOLD!!







Heller & Brightly Engineer's TransitHeller & Brightly Engineer's Transit   This original condition of this large and graphic looking instrument is very nice.  The serial # 8150  is on the compass face of this Heller & Brightly Engineer's or Surveyor's transit.  That would date it from approx 1915.  That information is available on the very informative site www.surveyhistory.org where you can find dating charts for not only Heller & Brightly instruments but other surveying instrument makers as well.    The Smithsonian site has a detailed bio on this company and informs us that his company was formed between Charles Heller and Charles Brightly in the 1870's.

The Mahogany box is nice. The leveling head is detachable and stores separately inside the box.  All motions on it and the instrument are free and smooth.  The compass needle does not swing as it should and the lock feature does not move the compass rose up and down to release it.  The level vials are all good. The optics and crosshairs are good.  This transit also includes a correctly marked and original tripod.  The tripod is very nice with nicely tapered and curved legs.  Note the heavy duty locks on the legs.  Heller and Brightly instruments were very well made and had a lot of ungraded features that made their instruments stand apart from other lesser makers from the same era.

These early transits were hand built by Heller and Brightly employees.  Over the course of their instrument making period they produced approx 4000 instruments.  Most were sold by order rather than marketed by distributers. All in all one of the nicest made American transits that I have had the pleasure of offering.

Good + . . . . . .$1250.00        SOLD!!


Heller & Brightly Info from the Smithsonian Site

Heller & Brightly
  Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55. Link: http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=16





C. L. Berger & Sons Solar Transit w/ Pearson's Patent Solar AttachmentC. L. Berger & Sons Solar Transit w/ Pearson's Patent Solar Attachment   This C. L. Berger & Sons solar transit dates from right around the turn of the century.  It is marked on the compass face "C. L. Berger & Sons Successors to Buff & Berger Boston".  The serial # is 3249 which would date this from right around the turn of the century, and just after the breakup of the original Buff & Berger Firm in 1898. From available company records this transit was originally sold with the shown solar attachment. The compass is very nice and operates properly.   The compass face measures approx 5" and the silvered needle just over 4".  The horizontal vernier is silvered and in excellent condition.  The transit itself stands just over 12" tall, and the scope is approx 11" long.  All motions are free and turn freely.  The brass finish has developed a very nice patina.   The transit focuses and the crosshairs consist of three horizontals and one vertical.  The image is erect and not inverted.  At the eyepiece end it seems there is cap missing, and the adjustment to bring the crosshairs into focus is tight / stiff.  The half circle vernier is silvered and reads to 30 degrees.  The half circle vernier has a slight bend of about 2 degrees on the right side, as if it had been bumped at some point.  It still rides freely and reads from the scale just fine.  It has a 3 1/4 inch tripod mount and I do not have the tripod. Different makers utilized different styles of solar attachments and Buff & Berger adopted the Pearson Patent Solar Attachment.  The patent for the Pearson solar attachment was granted in 1882 about the same time as most other patents for these rare & unusual devices called solar attachments were issued. The Pearson patent, like the Saegmuller utilized a telescopic sight.  Because of its design and the way it mounts this solar attachment uses the transits frame and settings for its set up.   The Burt solar attachment and other top mounted style solar attachments had their own adjusters.  This Pearson patent solar attachment appears to be NOS and retains nearly 100% of it original finish and Lacquer.  It is marked on the inside of the attachment Buff & Berger which means it was made just before the transit and before the original Buff & Berger Co. broke up.  It is stamped with the #3 which may be its serial # or an assembly #.  The focus is crisp and the crosshairs present.  As can be seen in the pics there is a dark lens cap, and a sun shade for it as well.  There are places in the box these can be mounted to.

The transit has the proper box, and the cosmetic condition of it is pretty nice.  There are several paper labels inside including instructions on what to and not to do.  There is no place in the box for the attachment, but as I stated earlier, company records indicate the transit and attachment were originally sold together.       This style and form of transit with this unusual solar attachment was not widely distributed and thus is quite rare.  Over the years I have seen dozens of Burt Style solar attachments offered for sale on Gurley and other make transits.  I have seen and had a handful of the Saegmuller solar attachments that K & E,  Lietz, and Dietzgen used, and I have even seen several of the later Smith patent solar attachment offered for sale, but this is the first Pearson solar attachment by this patentee and maker that I have had or seen offered. It will make a great addition to the collection of rare scientific or surveying related antiques.

Excellent . . . . . .$2250.00        sOLD!!     



Buff & Buff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar AttachmentBuff Solar Transit w/ Smith Patent Solar Attachment  This unusual Buff solar transit came from the Bureau of Land Management and was used in the Pacific Northwest to check lines and boundaries on government properties.  From the serial #24846 we can surmise this Buff solar transit was manufactured in the 1920's - 1930's after the breakup of the Buff and Berger company back near the turn of the century.  The original firm split into two companies with each principal going into business with family members of the same name, Buff & Buff, and Berger & Sons.

Solar transits are a very hard to find surveying instrument that were developed so that the user could accurately determine his location without relying on the compass in the field.   Because of magnetic deviations compasses were not an accurate means to determine ones location.  The idea was to use the position of the sun, and the horizon to determine ones location, much as a sextant or octant would be used to determine ones true location on a boat in open water with no visible reference points.  There are a number of different versions of solar attachments that were patented and used on surveying instruments.   The Burt solar attachment which was used on Gurley Instruments, and the Saegmuller solar used on K & E instruments being the most frequently seen.  Smith Patent Solar Attachments are much less frequently seen than those or others that were developed during the period of roughly 1850 to the turn of the century. 

The transits main scope is 9" long which would make this a light mountain size transit to be used in the field .  It has an image erect and the optics are crisp and clear.  The silvered compass is 4" and operates properly.  All other motions seem to operate as they should.  The serial # on the box and instrument match.  Even the leather strap is original and it too is stamped with the serial # 24846.  The box is very nice and has nearly all of its original finish.  The instrument itself has developed a nice even patina.  The counterweight is a molded piece of lead that is fitted to the opposite side in such a way to save space and making the box smaller and easier to transport in the field. 

This is a rare instrument that will display very nicely and be a highlight of any collection of surveying related instruments.  

Good + . . . . . .$1950.00        SOLD!!


A. Lietz Solar TransitA. Lietz & Co. Solar Transit  This A. Lietz solar transit has a serial # 74 and was probably made during Adolph Lietz's first year or two being in operation in San Francisco California.  Smart states in his book on surveying instrument makers that he first opened for business in 1882.   

This unusual transit is in overall nice condition.  It is a small compact size transit set up to receive a solar attachment on the top of the scope.  That attachment is not present. I believe that Lietz utilized the Saegmuller style attachment similar to those found on K & E / Keuffel & Esser instruments but this is set up with a threaded mount, and not a dovetail as typically seen on the K & E version..

The main scope is 7" long and so this could be referred to as either a light mountain or explorer / expedition size transit.  It has developed a nice patina over the last 100 plus years.  The compass face is marked with the maker name, location and #74 serial number.  All motions are free and the optics are good.  It has a full vertical silver vernier circle. The mahogany box is OK.  This instrument would sell for 3 to 4 times the listed price if one could find the solar attachment that fits on it. 

Good + . . . . . . .$750.00        SOLD!!



Eagle Brand TransitEagle Brand Transit  This transit was sold as surplus from a college that either discontinued their engineering program or upgraded to more modern instruments.  It dates from the early 60's.  There is a pic of the information tag on the door that gives all the specs.  It is a well made precision instrument.  The overall condition is nice and it appears to have led an easy life spending most of its time on the shelf and not in the field.  The optics are clear, and the crosshairs present. The compass is operational.  All other motions are free and I see no issues.   It takes a 3 1/2 x 8 tripod, and I have several designed for this instrument listed for sale on another page at this site.   It will make a great user for the general contractor or casual user. 

Good +  . . . . .$250.00   SOLD!!




Heller & Brightly Engineer's TransitHeller & Brightly Engineer's Transit  In the early 1870's Charles Heller and Charles Brightly formed this well known Pennsylvania surveying and scientific instrument making company.  They made very large and very heavy duty pieces.  This transit has an 11" long scope, and the bright laquear finish is original and correct. 

The Mahogany box is nice, noting that the leather handle has broken off.  Note how the leveling base is housed separately in the box, and how it is a twist lock affair to join the top half to it.  All motions are free and smooth and the level vials are all good.   There is one empty hole on the barrel that would hold a crosshair and so while the optics are OK, there is a missing crosshair. 

Heller and Brightly was a small company that produced less than 100 instruments a year in their early days.  All in all a nice example that has a great patina and graphic look to it.  It will display very nicely.

Good  . . . . . .$750.00  SOLD!!

Info from the Smithsonian Site / Heller & Brightly

Charles S. Heller (1839–1912) was born in Germany, and moved with his family to the United States in the late 1840s. He went to work for William J. Young in 1855, and became a partner in William J. Young & Co. in 1865. Charles H. Brightly (1817–1897) was born in England, arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and worked as a machinist in Philadelphia before going into partnership with Heller in 1870. Within a few years Heller & Brightly were said to have "done more than any other [firm] in this country of late years to increase competition in the trade, and to wake up the different makers to a sense of the many improvements that may be made in the instruments in common use." Heller & Brightly instruments were used in every state in the union, and in several foreign countries. The firm was incorporated in 1926, and remained in business until 1968.

Heller & Brightly was a traditional craft workshop. There were only a few employees at any one time, each could produce an entire instrument, and each was reasonably well paid. They produced some 100 instruments per year from 1870 to 1887. Annual production rose to 216 instruments in 1891, then dropped precipitously and remained at modest levels thereafter. Each instrument has a serial number, the first being #4400. Most Heller & Brightly instruments were ordered directly from the shop, with only a few sold in stores.

Ref: Robert C. Miller, "The Heller & Brightly Records," Rittenhouse 4 (1990): 43–55.

Link:   http://americanhistory2.si.edu/surveying/maker.cfm?makerid=16




Mahn & Co. St. Louis Mo. #3 Light Mountain TransitMahn & Co. St. Louis Mo. #3 Light Mountain Transit  This small surveying transit is by a little known  regional Midwest maker from St Louis MO. Herman Mahn's working dates were from 1891 -1906.  It is in excellent overall condition. 

I found an online catalog for this company and I believe they refer to this as their #3 Light Mountain transit.  The mahogany box spent most of its life inside the outer leather case seen in pic 6009 and the finishes on it are near perfect.  The leather case does have a tear in it.  The scope is 8.5"  long the image erect and crosshairs are present.  The optics are crisp and clear.  All of the level vials are full and appear to be original.  It has a 4" vertical circle.

This transit came with a marked collapsible leg Gurley tripod that looks to be their explorer / expdition size with a  XXX size mount.  The legs are their early square-ish design with double lock screws and brass fittings.  It is in fine condition and the transit fits it properly.  I will sell it separately for $225.00 if you need it for something else. 

A small good looking compact instrument that will be a welcome addition to any display or collection. 

Fine  . . . . . . SOLD!!




Buff & Buff TransitBuff & Buff Engineer's / Surveyors Transit w/ Box  This transit has an engraving on the outer plate that says #6 California Highway Commission.  Under the compass glass is the maker name Buff & Buff, and a reference to a patent granted in 1900.  The serial # is 7237.  The Buff & Buff firm originated after the break-up of the original Buff & Berger partnership about 1898.  I would assume this transit dates from just a few years after the turn of the century.   

The overall condition is nice.  It does show signs of use.  It has all original finishes. Buff was known for this sort of thing, where they would finish the barrel one way, black in this case, the standards another, green,  and the base plate left natural.  It helped give their instruments a distinctive "look".  The compass operates, it turns nicely, The half circle on the side is silvered, and the all motions seem to move a they should.  The three level vials are OK. 

All in all a nice example that has a great patina and graphic look to it.  It will display very nicely.

Good  . . . . . .$750.00       SOLD!!




William Young TransitWilliam Young Transit  This is a nice early engineer's transit by the famous PA maker William Young.  It comes with the proper tripod.

Good + . . . . . .$650.00       SOLD!







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