Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

 
Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Roach

John Roach (1813–1891) was born in Ireland. By 1833 he was in New York, identifying himself as an instrument maker. He joined in partnership with Henry Warner soon thereafter. Advertising in the American Railroad Journal for 1837, Roach & Warner offered to supply "Wholesale Dealers and Country Merchants" with surveying compasses and other instruments "of their own manufacture, warranted accurate and at lower prices than can be had at any other establishment." This advertisement reflects an appreciation of the westward expansion of the country, as well as a concern for price at a time when America was experiencing a severe economic depression. By 1841 Roach was again in business on his own, offering daguerreotype materials (this photographic technique had been introduced, in Paris, in 1839) as well as other optical and philosophical apparatus. He moved to San Francisco in 1855, and was soon the leading instrument dealer on the West Coast. At his death, he was succeeded by his longtime employee, J. C. Sala.

Collection:

Surveyor's Vernier Compass marked Roach & Warner
Wye Level marked John Roach