Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

 
Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Alidade
Altitude and Azimuth Instrument
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Waywiser
Zenith Telescope
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Waywiser

A waywiser consists of a large wheel that can roll along a level surface, and a dial that registers the distance traveled. The wheel usually measures 8.25 feet in circumference, such that 2 revolutions are equal to 1 pole. The larger hand on the dial makes one sweep per mile (320 poles or 8 furlongs). The shorter hand indicates the number of miles traveled. Waywisers became popular in England in the 18th century, and were still in use in the United States in the late-19th century. They were was also known as perambulators.

Ref: Jane Insley, "Odometer," in Robert Bud and Deborah Warner, eds., Instruments of Science (New York and London, 1998), pp.423–424.

Collection:

Beers, James M.
Beers, S.
Heath & Wing
Sisson
unmarked