Miniature Astronomical Timing Transit
- Sold for:
Miniature Astronomical Timing Transit, circa 1875, unsigned but probably by John Bliss & Co., New York, with 10-inch long lacquered-brass telescope, right-angle eyepiece, 4-inch vertical circle with vernier and removeable calibrated bubble-level, on black-painted yoke with horizontal and vertical tilt adjustment, and 6 3/4-inch diameter cast iron permanent base with threaded mount, ht. 10 3/4 in. (small dent to bodytube, slight lacquer and paint loss).
John and George Bliss, the well known chronometer makers, were awarded Patent No. 103,417 on May 24, 1870 for Improvements in Stands for Transit Instruments, which basically covered the base of this instrument. With it one would mount the bottom half of the base (lacking here) to a "stone, a tree stump, or other firm support" and leave it there permanently. The top half and the frame could then be mounted to the bottom at will without having to completely re-align it. The Blisses claimed that with their invention "any ordinary watch maker or a mechanic" could set up and use a transit for obtaining true time.One must conclude that the bottom halfs of the bases for these instruments would have been permanently mounted as advised and that it would be unlikely to find one with it's full base. It is intriguing to wonder if there are bases still in place somewhere whose real purpose is unknown.