Search using this query type:

Search only these record types:

Advanced Search (Items only)


Complete transit
Transit carrying case, interior
Transit carrying case and strap, exterior
View of crosshairs through telescope
Transit compass face
Transit compass face and level
Transit carrying case, handle well with broken handle
Telescope viewfinder
Transit carrying case, bottom

Dublin Core




Canadian surveying equipment


This transit was a key instrument for surveyors, as it was used for measuring horizontal angles (and later vertical angles as well). Transits were invented in 1831 in the United States and were popular for their versatility, durability, and cheap pricetag. Like most transits, this one is made of brass, with silver, glass, and liquid components.

The transit was made ca. 1861-1866 by Charles Hearn in Montreal. At one point it belonged to James Moffett (1829-1911), who lived in Wakefield, QC. Moffett was a native of Quebec but was of Irish heritage. He worked as a farmer and in the 1870s qualified as a provincial land surveyor, which is likely when he started using the transit. Despite its long history the transit is in relatively good condition, with a few evident repairs and replacement parts.

1871 and 1881 Census, Library and Archives Canada,
Canada Science and Technology Museum files
“Invention and Introduction of the Engineer’s Transit,” from The Engineering News September 15, 1875. Engineering News Record Volumes 1-2 accessible via Google Books.
“Transit.” Smithsonian National Museum of American History,


Manufactured or distributed by Charles Hearn.


Photographs by student in HIS4135


Manufactured ca. 1861-1866


Canada Science and Technology Museum, 1978.0971.001


Quebec, Canada