I was testing the camera on my new iPhone this morning and decided to take some gratuitous cheesecake shots of one of my newest acquisitions:

K&E Pocket Transit

It’s essentially a new-old stock (NOS) pocket transit made by K&E sometime in the early 60’s (judging by the dates in the instructional brochure).

Unlike Ainsworth or Brunton, K&E never serial numbered their pocket transits so there’s no way to firmly establish manufacturing dates.  It may be possible to determine an age range based on features, but the one source that discussed K&E pocket transit manufacturing date ranges, the outstanding William J. Hudson pages on the history of the pocket transit, have gone off line.  Let’s hope this great resource will soon be back up and available.

This particular pocket transit pretty much follows the Ainsworth model feature for feature.  It uses an un-dampened needle setup with luminous points and offers the standard long level on the clinometer and bubble level for general leveling.  It uses the 360 degree ‘reversed’ compass ring that is adjustable for declination. It’s immaculate inside and outside, and I doubt it had been handled much before I acquired it.

How well does it compare to an Ainsworth or Brunton product of the same age?  Pretty damned well!  K&E was a premiere American manufacturer of surveying and engineering equipment from the late 1800s right up into the early 1980s, and they knew how to make a quality product.  This pocket transit is equal to, and in some cases surpasses, the quality put out by either Ainsworth or Brunton.

All-in-all an excellent example of an American pocket transit.