Surveying Instruments
   The American College in the middle third of the nineteenth century had a relatively fixed curriculum, with the first two years devoted to developing tools, such as mathematics and languages. The second half of the college applied these tools to subjects like Natural Philosophy, which was almost invariably taken in the junior year.

   A standard sophomore course was in Mensuration, Surveying and Navigation, which followed on a course in plane and spherical geometry. (Mensuration is the practical study of finding lengths, areas and volumes from measurements of length or angle.) Thus, one could expect to find surveying instruments in apparatus collections of American colleges founded by the middle of the 19th century. This does not actually happen, as surveying instruments have applications outside the classroom, and can be expected to grow legs and walk away. Fortunately, Kenyon College still has the two pieces of surveying apparatus below. The collection also includes a plane table on which maps can be drawn in the field.
   At the left is an unmarked transit dating from the middle of the 19th century.  It was last used in 1967 when my father and I used it to lay out the general location of my parent's new house in Gambier. Naturally, we used a reference from 1875 in the Kenyon library to help us use the instrument. The Alidade at the right is used to measure horizontal angles and is marked "J. M. Lilley's Patent, Nov. 10, 1857 / F.W. and R. King, Baltimore".
   This surveyor's compass is marked "E.A. Kutz of New York" and is in the Greenslade Collection.

   A compass of this type is not as accurate as the instrument at the left, above; it uses sights instead of a telescope and cross-hairs, and its circle is divided into degrees, and not subdivided with a vernier scale. It is, however, much faster to use for quick mapping jobs. 

   The Surveyor's Compass at the right is in the Garland Collection of Classical Physics Apparatus at Vanderbilt University. It is marked "L. Cassella, / Marker to the Admiralty and Ordinance / London". The case is made of cherry.  Accompanying the compass is a tripod 1.42 m in height.


   The surveyor's compas at the left is at the physics department of the University of texas at Austin, and probably dates from about 1900. The vertical piece of apparatus screws into the base so that it may be used on a tripod.

   It was made by Gurley of Troy, New York, a well-known maker of surveying instruments well into the twentieth century.

   This small surveying instrument was made for instructional use by the Eastern Science Supply Company of Boston.

   It is in the collection of Wilmington College in western Pennsylvania.

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