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Theodolite

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probably made in London

Theodolite
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A theodolite is a surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. This brass example (pictured here with its fitted case) was made around 1810, probably by Matthew Berge, a scientific instrument maker based in London.

The design of this theodolite has been ascribed to Jesse Ramsden, the foremost London instrument maker of his generation, and Berge's master. It has a double 'A' frame on the azimuth (horizontal) circle which contains the compass, supporting the horizontal axis of a racked semi-circle. The semi-circle carries a telescopic sight, reversible in two 'Y' supports.

This design was illustrated in 1791, where it was attributed to Ramsden. The octagonal wooden case - although it may not be original to this particular instrument - is a rare contemporary survival. The tripod has not survived.

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