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Physical Sciences Collection - Surveying and Geodesy

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Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Surveyor's Compass - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Surveyor's Compass

Catalogue number:
PH*308958

Inscriptions:
"W. & L. E. Gurley" and "Troy, N.Y."

Dimensions:
length 12.75 inches long; needle 4 inches; telescope 8.635 inches long

Discussion:

W. & L. E. Gurley submitted this instrument to the United States Patent Office, in support of their application for a patent describing an Improvement in Telescope Attachments for Surveyors’ Compasses. The patent (#205,712) was issued on July 9, 1878. The Patent Office transferred it to the Smithsonian in 1926.

The basic instrument is a standard, small compass, with a north-south level on the north arm, and an east-west level and an outkeeper on the south arm. The hand-engraved signature indicates that the compass was made before the middle of 1876. The telescope, which attaches to one of the sight vanes, was presumably made shortly before the patent application was submitted in June 1878.

Further Information:

Compass
Gurley

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