Troughton & Simms Surveyor's Transit Theodolite


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Troughton & Simms Transit Theodolite

complete with original Tripod, Measuring Ruler, Box and Book

Circa 1893


Incredible set of instruments owned and once used by a practising surveyor that has been in the same family for over 100 years. It is the complete set of instruments needed and the theodolite is complete with all the extras. It has all been very well looked after and preserved . 


The theodolite itself is a transit theodolite which indicates that the telescope can be rotated about the horizontal axis pivoting through 180 degrees and easily allowing the viewer to see both forwards and backwards through the instrument. Transit theodolites first appeared in the 1840s. By 1868 they had become a "favourite instrument" of surveyors. As well as the basic theodolite instrument there is an additional compass which attaches, there is a plumb line and also two extra lenses, a long one and a 90 degree angle lens. Engraved on the theodolite is "Troughton & Simms. London. 1893". Also engraved on the end of the telescope barrel are the initials W.D. and between the initials is what looks like a military arrow so it is possible this thedolite was used by the military, perhaps in WWI. 


I have by no means 'tested' the theodolite and it is being sold as a decorative item although everything moves as it should and the telescope focuses well. It is worth noting that the lenses in the telescope would benefit from a clean as they are a little cloudy and there are some small spots of dirt on there. If you look very carefully as well there appears to be a faint hairline crack in the field of vision when looking through the telescope which must be in one of the lenses however it is not visible from the end. 


The theodolite packs away in a sturdy wooden, likely mahogany, box which is completely fitted out to transport it safely and securely with compartments and sections for the different accessories. There is a long leather strap which buckles around the box and acts as a carrying handle. The box measures approximately 14" wide by 12" deep by 7 1/2" high.


The tripod is wooden with a metal fixing to join to the theodolite. It has a retailers label which reads "Clarkson's Optical Stores. 338 High Holborn. (opposite Gray's Inn Rd). London. W.C". The same label can also be found inside the Theodolite's box. It is a large, sturdy and very high quality tripod, measuring 58" high and 4" in diameter when closed.


The set comes with an original extending surveyor's measure. It is made of wood and in three graduated sections which fit inside each other. It is in excellent original condition with a lovely look to it. Closed it measures 5ft long but can extend to 3 times that.


There is a book included with the theodolite,entitled "Practical Surveying by G.W Usill", which is full of information and interesting history as well as everything you need to know about how to be a surveyor in the 19th century!


The best description will come from the photographs as I am unable to accurately describe every technical element of the theodolite so please make sure you look carefully. It is a truly incredible piece and the engineering is truly a work of art. If you have any questions at all please get in touch.

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