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1950s American Transit manufacturers

Discussion in 'General Land Surveying' started by Dave Karoly, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. Dave Karoly

    Dave Karoly 5-Year Member

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    How do they rate?

    K+E
    Dietzgen
    C.L. Berger
    Gurley
    Others?

    I think by then Lietz was owned by Sokissha and the Lietz instruments were Japanese.
     
  2. Cliff Mugnier

    Cliff Mugnier 4-Year Member

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    I always preferred a Gurley Hellgate Transit over anything else.
     
  3. Stephen Johnson

    Stephen Johnson 5-Year Member

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    According to my Dad, The best Transit available back then was a Berger. We had a C.L. Berger & Sons 20" transit when I was young. In the near future I may be able to reacquire it. The same transit I first handled in 1967.

    SJ

    BTW, You left off Brunson, Buff & Buff, White(?) and a few other smaller companies that were still in business. I wish I could remember them all.

    :-(
     
  4. J. Penry

    J. Penry 5-Year Member

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  5. Dave Karoly

    Dave Karoly 5-Year Member

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    I wonder if they included the jodpurs and campaign hat?
     
  6. Charles L. Dowdell

    Charles L. Dowdell 5-Year Member

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    Buff had the best optics of any instrument that I ever used, including Wild T-16's & T-2's or Ziess. When I worked for the USBR in the early 1960's, I carried two of them in my survey vehicle to use for wiggling in line on transmission line surveys or section retracements & breakdowns. The big drawback with them was the small thread that required an offbeat tripod that did not work with anything else (normally 3½x8 pattern used by most).

    Not only was a Buff a beautiful instrument, but it was also rugged and very seldom if ever needed adjustment. The only time I did any adjustments on the ones I used was after tearing them down for cleaning and then checking them after reassembly to make sure they were still in adjustment on the standards, axis, collumation, etc. was still good.
     
  7. Stephen Johnson

    Stephen Johnson 5-Year Member

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    > I wonder if they included the jodpurs and campaign hat?

    I hate to rain on your parade Dave( sarcasm yeah, sure )but those are not Jodhpurs.

    Those are either "Engineers Boots" if laced or "Riding Boots" if pull-ons.

    Check out the pictures here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodhpur_boot

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riding_boots

    or something similar to this

    http://www.onlinebootstore.com/great-boots/items/JD9330.html

    or this:

    http://www.onlinebootstore.com/great-boots/items/CA-923.html
     
  8. Rich Leu

    Rich Leu 5-Year Member

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    I think Dave was referring to the pants.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Dave Karoly

    Dave Karoly 5-Year Member

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    It's hard to tell from the photos.

    Do the Bergers thread into a female fitting on the tripod about 5/8" diameter?
     
  10. eapls2708

    eapls2708 4-Year Member

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    > BTW, You left off Brunson, Buff & Buff, White(?) and a few other smaller companies that were still in business. I wish I could remember them all.
    >
    > :-(

    I was given a Brunson transit several years ago. I'm not at all impressed with the quality as compared to others I have used (Dietzen, Gurley, Lietz, & I think I've also used Berger). The body of the Brunson is aluminum. The circles appear to be steel, but I'm not sure what grade (vertical circle is bent just enough to make it useless). There is little if any brass on the instrument.
     
  11. Charles L. Dowdell

    Charles L. Dowdell 5-Year Member

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    I wish that I had some pictures of the two Buff or Buff & Buff, I can't recall which name was on them now, transits that I used, or better yet, I wished that I had the instruments. One was all a nice shiny brass and the other was some brass with some green swirley paint on the standards and scope. The tripods threads were about 3/4 the size of a normal 3½x8 thread. My old Ainsworth solar transit has the same size tripod thread as the Buff's did.
     
  12. Sean O'Farrell

    Sean O'Farrell 4-Year Member

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    > It's hard to tell from the photos.
    >
    > Do the Bergers thread into a female fitting on the tripod about 5/8" diameter?


    Dave,

    It depends, Berger made some instruments with a female threaded tripods. Here is a list of Tripod Thread Sizes of US Makers
     
  13. Dave Karoly

    Dave Karoly 5-Year Member

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    There is a very nice looking CL Berger transit with 30" vernier on ebay right now.

    The seller said he found it in the back of his Grandpa's closet. Gaw-I'd like to find something like that.

    I can't tell what tripod it goes on, though.
     
  14. Sean O'Farrell

    Sean O'Farrell 4-Year Member

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    I learned on a 1926 vintage CL Berger 1' transit; I know that the thrad was not the modern standard, I think that it was either the 2.255 X 12 used by Buff & Buff and C. L. Berger & Sons or the 3.312 X 12 used by Buff & Berger, Buff & Buff and C. L. Berger & Sons. I think that it was the the smaller size, but it's been a long time.

    I know where I can get my hands on one and I'll check it out Monday.

    Also CL BERGER TRANSITS
     
  15. Dan B. Robison

    Dan B. Robison 5-Year Member

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    > I think Dave was referring to the pants.
    >
    I wear pants like that...but the 'big' part is quite a bit higher...:-D

    DDSM:beer:
     
  16. Supply Guy

    Supply Guy 3-Year Member

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    The Lietz Company was mostly out of manufacturing after WWII. K&E and Gurley got the contracts to build instruments for the war effort. Lietz made ship navigation gear. After the war not so much need for ship's gear but post war housing and other construction meant transits and levels were still in demand. Lietz became a dealer for other brands of instruments, maybe Gurley. Paxton Lumber in Kansas City purchased Lietz in the 1960's and became the exclusive U.S. distributor for Sokkisha instruments in 1969. Before then Sokkisha made instruments might also have UMECO or THS (The House of Sokkisha)on them. In 1984 Sokkisha purchased The Lietz Co. Early 90's Sokkia became the single world wide brand name for all Sokkisha now Sokkia Co., Ltd owned companies and as most of you know Topcon purchased Sokkia a couple of years ago.

    Further on in this discussion, the assorted tripod head sizes for older instruments is mentioned. I believe 3 1/2 x 8 became the standard around WWII so some poor military surveyor or construction battalion didn't find themselves stymied if a brand X instrument showed up with a brand Y tripod.

    Amber Brunson was proud of the fact that he was the only U.S. manufacturer of surveying instruments as the others fell by the wayside although Brunson wasn't making the typical transit or dumpy level by then.
     
  17. Paul in PA

    Paul in PA 5-Year Member

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    Kegelman Brothers Transit

    I believe they were still making them in the 50s.

    http://www.surveyantiques.com/content/kegelman/transit_flyer/kegelman_transit_flyer-viewer.htm

    I don't know the manufactur date of my dad's/mine.

    Paul in PA
     
  18. Supply Guy

    Supply Guy 3-Year Member

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    Kegelman Brothers Transit

    One more instrument manufacturer and still around. Warren-Knight in Philadelphia.

    http://www.warrenknight.com/

    Part of North American Survey Supply. Custom manufacturing of various optical products nowadays.
     
  19. Tom Wilson

    Tom Wilson 5-Year Member

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    My 2 cents worth. I have used 50s and 60s era K&E, Gurley, Buff & Buff (maybe 40s),
    Dietzgen and C.L. Berger transits.

    I used a K&E in college and consider it the best transit "at the end". If you have ever handled a late model K&E you will know why, a really great instrument.

    Most of my transit work was with a "A Frame" Gurley and it was old but very easy to use and durable. I used an enclosed Dietzgen and Nikon a lot also and always considered them a very cheap substitute for a good A frame unit. I still have access to 5 late model C.L. Berger transits that are nice but not up to the level of the K&E or Gurley.

    My opinion of course but then I am old enough to have turned thousands of angles and walked many miles with these instruments.

    T.W.
     
  20. Dave Karoly

    Dave Karoly 5-Year Member

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    My co-worker at my last job said the same thing; K+E made the best transits.
     

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