Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Transit - click to enlarge

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Catalogue number:

"Weiss & Heitzler Makers No. 32 Denver, Colo Patent June, 1908"

height 11.875 inches; horizontal circle 5.25 inches diameter; needle 3.5 inches; vertical circle 5 inches diameter; telescope 8 inches long; hanging level 4 inches


Paul Weiss (1864-1943) was born in Switzerland, and moved to America in 1881. By 1891 he was in Denver, working as an optician. From 1904 to 1910 he worked in partnership with Frank Heitzler, whose patent (#891,733), dated June 23, 1908, described a telescope with two prisms in the optical train, making it substantially shorter than telescopes ordinarily used with surveying instruments. The telescope of this transit is of that sort. The horizontal and vertical circles of this transit are silvered, graduated to 30 minutes of arc, and read by verniers to single minutes. There is a clamp and tangent to the telescope axis.

Ref: Charles Smart, The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700, vol. 2 (Troy, N.Y., 1967), pp. 207 and 257.

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