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Reinhaldt’s Transit


This transit is housed inside wooden storage box with shipping and other labels fixed to the top. The box has metal handles on either side, rotating latches to hold the lid closed and a small keyhole with a cover.

Resting on a small tripod brass base are a series of tiers containing a adjustable and non adjustable metal components. The entire upper part of the instrument rotates upon a central ball bearing on top of the metal base tier. It can be fixed in place by tightening a screw.

Two tiers from the bottom up there is a circular platform. Around the rim of this there is a scale graduated in degrees. This platform supports a round compass with its face covered in glass. On the the face there are labeled eight cardinal direction, and two scales around the perimeter, measured in degrees, one which is labelled 0 to 360, the other in four sets of 0-90. At the centre of the compass there is a two-ended indicator arrow. Next to the compass there is a bubble level filled with clear liquid; another level is located perpendicator to this, slightly raised on the legs that support the telescope.

Resting on the compass tier upon two pairs of triangular legs is a telescope with an eyepiece and one objective lens. Mounted on top of there is there is a large bubble level with clear liquid inside. There are two marks on the glass to indicate where the bubble should be located when the instrument is level. Mounted next to this is a spoked wheel, around the rim of which there is a scale in degrees. Sliding around this there is an arm with a Vernier. This can be fixed in place. Telescope and wheel are affixed to the same rod which rests on triangular supports from the tier below.

The box contains a number of wooden sections lined with green felt to support the object. Also in the box there is another small cylindrical lens tube and another metal portion

Accession Number: 2012.ast.10

Alternative Name: Transit Instrument, Transit Theodolite

Primary Materials:

Box: Wood, Metal: Iron Alloy, Metal: Copper Alloy, Felt Transit: Metal: Brass, Metal: Other Metal, glass, Liquid


Typed on a paper label affixed to the top of the box: “CARL REINHARDT’S TRANSIT
Used by him in his prospecting and mining operations in Northern Ontario and bequeathed to the Dunlap Observatory. Tripod goes with it.
1978 June 19

On paper labels partly torn off affixed to the box: “[D]OMINION EXPRESS CO.
[…]H CARE”

On the face of the compass: “Troughton & Simms

Dimensions (cm): Length = 27.5, Width = 18, Height = 42


Measuring heights and distances of distant objects. In astronomy for observing stars as they cross the meridian point and determining times.


Very Good: The box is in fair condition. It is intact, but has damage in the form of severe scrapes across its front. There is a piece of wood missing from the frotn of the box and some damage around the screws that hold the lid on. One of the rotating latches is missing. The interior of the box is also very worn, especially the felt padding which is very worn and frayed. Some of the wooden sections inside are scratched and dented. There are some small components apparently missing.

The transit is in very good condition. Its metal surfaces are somewhat oxidized and brass surfaces show discolouration. The painted/enameled surfaces are in good condition. The transit appears to have most components surviving, including its lenses.

Associated Instruments: 2012.ast.11

Manufacturer: Troughton and Simms, London

Date of Manufacture: c. 1900


This transit was owned by, used by, and bequeathed to the University of Toronto by mining engineer and prospector <a href=””>Carl Reinhardt</a> (1876-1962). Following the donation, the transit was kept at at the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at U of T’s St George Campus or at the David Dunlap Observatory. If the latter, it was moved in 2009 to the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics following the sale of the Observatory. In 2017 it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

This transit was owned by, used by, and bequeathed to the University of Toronto by mining engineer and prospector <a href=””>Carl Reinhardt</a> (1876-1962). Reinhardt had an interest in astronomy and was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (R.A.S.C.).

Historical Notes: