Meeker's
Mechanical
Nature Antiques
Larry and Carole
Meeker

Purveyors of Americana
Patented & Mechanical Antiques
www.Patented-Antiques.com

LCM@Patented-Antiques.com
Orders / Inquiries / Questions

530-620-7019
(ORDERS ONLY)


Antique & Vintage
Surveyor's Survey Compasses / Solar Compasses / Telescopes &
Other Unusual Surveying Instruments & Accessories



Brunton Pocket Transit / Compass by AinsworthD. W. Brunton Pocket Transit / Compass by Ainsworth    Brunton Pocket Transit, by W.M. Ainsworth & Sons, Denver Colorado, Made In USA.  This pocket transit is in good operating and cosmetic condition. The serial number #43759. This pocket transit has not been cleaned or touched-up in any way.  It comes in a proper leather case that is OK but well used. 

A history of Brunton and Ainsworth, including instruction on use can be found on line at the site / link  https://oldtopographer.net/the-topographers-tools/brunton-pocket-transits/  A small snippet of Info from there is that Brunton the inventor contracted with Denver-based instrument maker William Ainsworth & Sons to produce the first pocket transits. Ainsworth remained the primary manufacturer of Brunton pocket transits until after WWII. In 1972 the Ainsworth company folded and the Brunton company was formed to continue production. Original Brunton compasses are still manufactured today in Riverton, Wyoming.

Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                    Click for Pic

JF-BCOMP-AIN

Fine . . . . . . $150.00

Order Now



K & E / Keuffel & Esser After Brunton Pocket Transit / CompassK & E / Keuffel & Esser  #5368-1 "After" Brunton Pocket Transit / Compass   A Brunton Pocket Transit / Compass type instrument  offered by K & E and referred to as "After Brunton".  It is identical in operation and design.   This pocket transit is in good operating condition.   The mirror in the lid has suffered some silver loss, but is not broken or cracked.  I read these can be had by the current maker Brunton for approx. $20.00.  This pocket transit has not been cleaned or touched-up in any way.  It comes with a like new leather case that has the previous owners name on the back. 

A history of Brunton and Ainsworth, including instruction on use can be found on line at the site / link  https://oldtopographer.net/the-topographers-tools/brunton-pocket-transits/

Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                    Click for Pic

JF-BCOMP-KE

Fine . . . . . . $125.00

Order Now



Burt & Bailey of Detroit Michigan c. 1853 - 1855 Solar CompassBurt & Bailey / Detroit Michigan c. 1853 - 1855 Solar Compass in Original Box   This Burt & Bailey Solar Compass is a rare and desirable 19th Century American Surveying Instrument.  This rare Solar Compass was produced by Burt & Bailey a short lived partnership based in Detroit MI and is an important piece of American history and Americana.

William Burt was first granted a patent for his idea of a solar compass in 1836.  There are several in depth and detailed histories that can be found online about William Burt, his solar compass invention and his 1836 patent for a solar compass.  Informative links can be found below this write-up and pictures.

William Young, the famous instrument maker from PA made the first example for Burt which was submitted for the patent.  Burt displayed his idea at several exhibitions and was awarded several medals for the innovative nature of the idea, but large scale production never really took off during that period.  In the early 1850's production was moved to the Detroit area for a time, but with the elder Burts death, his heirs lost interest and production there came to an end shortly after.

This example was made between 1853 and 1855 by William Burt Sr. son's John and William Burt in partnership with a fellow named John Aylesworth Bailey who at that time owned the rights to manufacture them.  The partnership of Burt and Bailey was in existence for 2 years or less from 1853 - 1855.  It is not known how many solar compasses they produced, but it is sure not many given how few have ever been found.

The company was reformed and renamed J & W Burt after Bailey left in 1855. That partnership was also short lived.  One year later the company was again renamed Burt & Watson.  Watson had previously worked for William Young in PA and was taken in as a new partner by the Burt brothers.  That incarnation also lasted about 1 year.

This compass measures approx. 15 inches long. It is complete with original box, sight vanes, and leveling base.  All motions work smoothly.  The compass needle swings.  The level bubble is good.  It is in very nice overall condition with a great patina and does not look to have ever been fiddled with.  It is housed in its original box which is also in nice condition.  The plate is marked at one end with the partners names Burt & Bailey, and with the location, Detroit Mich. on the other. I see no other markings or serial # other than the Young label inside the top of the box.

A rare and important surveying instrument and near unique piece of Americana for the discriminating collector history buff.


Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic              


Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic              


Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic

PNW-BB-SC

Good + . . . . . . $14,500.00

Order Now

Further Info on Burt Solar Compass

Wikipedia has a wealth of overall information concerning solar compasses and their history that can be found at this link.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_compass

The original patent was hand written, and a copy can be viewed at the Survey History site https://www.surveyhistory.org/1836_solar_compass_patent1.htm

The Survey History site has a detailed history on the Burt family and the several partnerships that they were involved in http://www.surveyhistory.org/j__&_w__burt.htm

Another essay concerning Burt Solar Compasses can be found at the Wisconsin History site.

Probably the most concise and clear history of  the Burt solar compass makers and partnerships can be found on the remains of Bud Uzes old surveying related site where he describes a Burt Solar Compass he owned and was being sold after his death.

I found one more short write-up on Burt Solar Compasses in an ebay ad for another Burt Solar Compass that I have included here.

William Austin Burt Solar Compass

The solar compass, an astronomical instrument, was first invented and made by William Austin Burt. He patented it on February 25, 1836, in the United States Patent Office as No 9428X. The first solar compasses are believed to have been made in the late 1830ís by Henry Ware and Leonard Nutz in Cincinnati, OH. William Young was contracted to make improved solar compasses beginning in 1841.

It received a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Burt, a United States Deputy Surveyor, began surveying government lands in Michigan in 1833. While working in Wisconsin, where there were large deposits of iron ore, Burt experienced great difficulty in using his standard vernier scale compass. This motivated him to find a solution that was not dependent on magnetism and would not be influenced by earth's ore materials. With his mechanical abilities, he then devised and built the solar compass. Burt made a model of his instrument in 1835 to test its validity. The instrument was then submitted to a committee at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. They examined its principles and merits and ultimately awarded Burt twenty dollars in gold and the John Legacy Medal. He improved on his surveying instrument and in 1840 re-submitted it to the Franklin Institute. The instrument was further improved over the years and in 1851 he exhibited that version at the Great Exhibition in London, where he was awarded another prize medal. He then received another medal by jurors of Astronomical Instruments.

Burtís solar compass is a precision instrument made of brass with a solar attachment that allows surveyors to determine the true north direction by reference to the sun rather than by reference to the magnetic north pole. It allowed surveyors to locate true north through viewing the sun and other astronomical observations and was not influenced by magnetism or iron ore or other ore materials. The United States government required land surveys to be done by Burt's Solar compass; as in many cases the cost to accurately survey lands with heavy mineral deposits that interfered with normal instrumentation would have exceeded the value of the land.






19th Century Benjamin Chandlee & Holloway / Baltimore Surveying CompassBenjamin Chandlee & Robert Holloway / Baltimore Surveying Compass   Surveying instruments bearing the name Chandlee are considered one of the most desirable, rare, and interesting of all Colonial era American surveying instruments. The tradition was begun by Goldsmith Chandlee, maker of instruments for the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other notable American figures.  Benjamin Chandlee III was Goldsmith Chandlee's son, and continued the tradition of making surveying instruments started by his father.     

There are numerous Bios and other references to the Chandlee family and the instruments they made available online. There is a detailed history on Goldsmith Chandlee by Elgin to be found at the SurveyHistory.org site, and a shorter one by Smart on Benjamin Chandlee at the same site.  Benjamin Chandlee was born in 1780 and died in 1822.  His working dates in Baltimore are from 1814 up to the time of his death.  He was in partnership with Holloway from 1819 until his death in 1822, thus dating this compass from that period.  Online research indicates that this is but one of 1/2 dozen or so compasses made by this partnership known to exist

The compass measures approx. 15 inches long and has a 5 inch blued needle. It is in original untouched condition with a great patina. The needle swings to north and the lock operates.  The functioning double tally keeper is built into the compass face under the glass.  The silvered compass face is nicely engraved with a great looking Fleur de Lis at the north point.  The name Chandlee & Holloway with the Baltimore location are at the bottom of the compass face.  A great looking early 19th century surveying instrument of historical importance.

Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic              


Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Pic               Click for Picff

NJ-CHAND-COMP

Fine . . . . . . $8950.00

Order Now





William Stieren Vernier Survey CompassWilliam Stieren Vernier Surveyor's Compass w/ Original Purchase Receipt   William Stieren was a little known Pittsburgh PA instrument maker & dealer of surveying instruments and other related scientific articles. (see pic of original receipt ).  He is not listed at the Smithsonian site and there is just a very short bio on him in Smarts book on surveying instrument makers.  Information on the internet about him is scant, but all is not lost as this survey compass comes with its original receipt dated 1890 with a wealth of further  historical info included.  It lists Wm. Stieren primarily as an optician on the receipt but there is so much more.

An interesting thing to note is that Stieren died in 1887 when the receipt is dated 1890.  The receipt gives us a clue as to how that is possible as it lists two other partners in the firm, also with the name Stieren who continued the business for an unknown amount of time after the founders death.  The receipt also gives us the price of the compass at $42.00, and tripod for $8.00.  There is the further notation that the buyer was allowed a credit of $23.00 for the instrument he traded in at the time.  One can only wonder if that compass was by Rittenhouse, Chandlee or some other 18th century instrument maker.   

The compass measures approx. 15 inches long and the compass has a 5 1/2 inch needle. There is just the points, maker and location name engraved on the silvered face. The compass needle swings freely and points north.  It has a nicely engraved Fleur d' Lei at the North point  The compass face shows no wear or tear and is like new.    The body shows little or no wear as well and there is a lot  of the original lacquer finish remaining.   The crack seen in the glass has been repaired.  While both level bubbles are good and look original, one is blue / green, and one clear.  There is no box, but does come with the display stand shown.  All in all a nice looking and relatively rare surveying instrument by an obscure maker from western PA.

Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                    Click for Pic                  


Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                    Click for Pic                   Click for Pic                   Click for Pic

RT-STIER-COMP-1

Fine . . . . . . $950.00

Order Now



James Green Baltimore Maryland Black Face Survey Compass w/ TripodJames Green Baltimore Maryland Black Face Survey Compass w/ Tripod   James Green compasses are not seen very often.  He was born circa 1808 and was first listed in Baltimore directories in the mid 1830's as a philosophical instrument maker.  Smart theorizes Green moved to New York in 1850 and continued in business there for a number of years. 

The compass measures approx. 15 inches long and has a 5 1/2 inch needle.  The needle swings to north and the lock operates.  The center of the silvered compass face is finished in black and it has a nicely engraved Fleur d' Lei at the North point.  The level vials are full.  The tally keeper which is built into the compass face under the glass works.  The box is nice and has a series of lead buttons across the top.  I assume so one could stack other boxes on top without damaging the box.  The tripod is original and has a great period repair to one leg.   All in all a nice looking early 19th century surveying instrument that will look nice on display.

Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                


Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic                 Click for Pic

AMN-GREEN-COMP

Good . . . . . . $1750.00

Order Now



Baldwin & Storrs 18th Century Surveying CompassBaldwin & Storrs 18th Century Surveying Compass   Jedidiah Baldwin was a watch and clock maker as well as an early scientific instrument maker.  At the time that Smart published his book on surveying instrument makers in America just one wooden compass by him was known. There is also a bio on him in "Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers", by Silvio A. Bedini.  That book can be found on the internet.  Because of  the research that has been done on early American craftsmen and their trades, and the way this early and unusual compass is marked, this brass metal bodied compass can be dated to within the time span of 1792 - 1794. 

Nathan Storrs was born in 1768 into a well known and documented family of Silversmiths from CT.  He died in Northampton Mass inBaldwin & Storrs 18th Century Surveying Compass 1839. He first appeared in a directory in NH in 1791.  The following year he partnered with Jedidiah Baldwin to make scientific and surveying instruments. This partnership lasted just 2 years. Compasses from this period are marked as this one is. (pic at right)  I found no other examples or reference to other instruments with the same mark on the internet, and only one compass by Storrs from when Storrs worked alone.  18th century brass case compasses from the New England area are a pretty rare commodity and on the same level as those by famous instrument makers like Chandlee and Rittenhouse, 18th century instrument makers from Virginia and PA. 

This 18th century brass compass is very small and measures just 11 7/8" long.  The compass is just under 5" across w/ a 3 1/2" needle. Note in the pics how the compass cover is a twist fit and not threaded. The decorative rope edge on the cover is a beautiful touch.  Also note the small and delicate rams horn shaped thumb screws for the sight vanes and needle lock.  The silvered face is highly engraved and all hand done.  Same with all the numerical degree stampings.  It is a truly wonderful example of 18th century American / Yankee craftsmanship.  True Americana at its finest.  Nice!!


Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic               


Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic               


Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic                Click for Pic

GG-BALD-STOR

Fine + . . . . .  $10,995.00

Order Now

We can help you sell your quality Antiques in this and other categories of Antiques.

If you have similar antiques or collectibles you want to sell please see our
FAQ Page, the Appraisal / Selling Page, and the Selling Your Collection Pages for further info about selling with us.

To view examples of the types of antiques and collectibles we have previously sold and are always interested in helping you sell please visit our Past Sales Archive Pages at our sister website www.AntiqBuyer.com.


BACK



This website is Copyrighted
Larry & Carole Meeker