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Transit, extra objective, plumb line, magnifying glass (in tortoise shell cover), chisel, spanner and other spare parts are housed inside wooden storage box. Instrument rests on a base (which can be screwed into a tripod) containing adjustable and non adjustable metal components. Instrument rotates on this base. The lower section has a level filled with clear liquid and two magnifying glasses to view markings on either side. The markings labeled “A” and “B” each contain a scale from 0 to 15 and rotate with the instrument over the stationary circle (attached to the base) marked from 0 to 360. Supported by two arms extending from the lower section is a pivoting telescope. Adjacent to the telescope and rotating with it is a wheel marked in four quadrants, from 0 to 90 in each. This wheel rotates against two stationary scales, marked from 0 to 15, and, in a similar arrangement to the lower level, can be viewed through two opposite magnifying glasses. Attached to the non-rotating part of the upper section is another level.

Accession Number: 2012.ast.16

Alternative Name: Transit instrument, transit theodolite

Primary Materials:

Box: Wood, Brass, Felt Padding, Leather. Transit and spare parts: Brass, Other metal, glass, water (levels). Plumb line: Other metal. Chisel: Steel/Iron, Wood. Spanner: Metal alloy. Magnifying glass: Glass, tortoise shell


1) On Transit: “E.R. Watts & Son. Canada Ltd. 4711.

2) On box inside, labels for spare parts, label: “Instrument N. 4711. Constant 1-31 Feet. E. R. Watts & Son. Surveyors & Architects Instruments & Materials. Ottawa, 45 Bank Street. Winnipeg, 408 Portage Avenue. Works:- London, England. All kinds of Surveying Instruments (by any maker) can be repaired at our Winnipeg Store by experienced workmen trained in our London Works. 1 —- ’13.”

3) On box outside tag: “J. Hearch? With? Transit 4711 OK Sucue? 11/51”.

Dimensions (cm): Height = 36, Width = 15, Length = 28.5


Measuring heights and distances of distant objects. Used in astronomy and surveying.


Excellent: The box of the instrument is in relatively good condition, although it has marks and scratches across itself. The leather strap with buckle is intact, but shows signficant wear where the buckle is closed. The leather is also worn where it has been tightened across the top of the box.

The interior of the box is in very good condition with wooden supports and felt covers still intact in all cases. The exception of this is the paper sticker once stuck to the interior of the box lid. Since 2012 (2019), this has detached, leaving behind a sticky residue on the wood. There are a few scratches and dents in the wood around where the transit has been replaced in the box.

The transit is in excellent condition. There are few signs of wear. Surface components are relatively unblemished with only a few marks of wear or scratches. Knurled knobs are somewhat tarnished in places, with very small patches of brass-coloured surface scratched or corroded off.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: E. R. Watts & Son

Date of Manufacture: c. 1910


This object was moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill in 2009, upon the sale of the observatory. It was stored at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes: Labeled as ast70 in old UTMuSi site.