On this page are links to some key Brunton pocket transit resources:
Pocket Transit Serial Number Project – this link is to a PDF version of William J. Hudson’s original pocket transit serial number compilation. The goal is to build a database of serial numbers and descriptions that will permit other pocket transit owners to determine the manufacture date of their instruments. An discussion of the background of this database and the nomenclature used can be found here. If you have a pocket transit (from any quality manufacturer) and would like to have its serial number and description added to the list just drop me an email and I’ll get it added.
William J. Hudson’s ‘Brunton Pocket Transits’ Web Archive Pages – From roughly 2004 to 2012 William J. Hudson maintained the best pocket transit resource on the web. While the site is no longer active, Mr. Hudson has given permission for full use of his information. The PDF files linked here are a copy of the web archive of Mr. Hudson’s site as provided by the web archiving service Wayback Machine.
Pocket Transit Patents – Here is a list of patent applications in PDF format related to pocket transit design and improvements. All files are from the US Patent Office database:
- Original Brunton patent – Patent No. 526,021, dated September 18, 1894. This is the patent that started it all! I love the opening paragraph: “Be it known that I, David W. Brunton, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, but having declared my intention of becoming a citizen of the United States…”
- Brunton patent for addition of a second level tube – Patent No.1,042,079, dated October. 22, 1912. This patent added the unusual second tube level at a right angle to the clinometer tube level, forming an inverted ‘T’. This model is extremely rare.
- Brunton patent for the addition of the lid mounted sight – Patent No. 1062,582, dated May 27, 1913.
- Brunton patent for the addition of ‘peep’ sights – Patent No. 1,092,822, dated April 14, 1914.
- Brunton patent for an illuminated transit for nighttime use – Patent No. 1,339,019, dated May 4, 1920. Brunton developed this design for use by the US Army during WWI. The design has the compass ring/card, needle and peep sights bathed in radium! This model is very rare.
- K&E patent adding a bubble level to the clinometer arm – Patent No. 1,571,697, dated February 2, 1926. K&E’s answer to Brunton’s 1912 patent adding a second level tube. This is the way of the future, and going forward most pocket transits would include a circular, or bullseye, level for general leveling.
- Brunton patent adding a percent of slope scale to the clinometer – Patent No. 1,593,429, dated July 20, 1926. This is apparently David Brunton’s last patent related to the pocket transit. He died less than two years after this patent was issued.
- Brunton Company patent for an internationally balanced needle – Patent No. 4,175,333, dated November 27, 1979. This is the first, and apparently only, Brunton Company patent related to the pocket transit.
Transits, Timbers & Tunnels: The Legacy of Colorado Inventor David W. Brunton – An excellent article on the life and contributions of David Brunton from ‘Enterprise & Innovation In The Pikes Peak Region’ published by the Pikes Peak Library District.
The David W. Brunton Inductee Page at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum website – David Brunton was more than the inventor of the pocket transit, he was one of the most innovative mining engineers of his day.
David W. Brunton And His Compass – From the Aspen TImes, August 4, 2010.
Ainsworth 1957 Brunton Pocket Transit Owners Manual – A PDF of the 1957 version of the owners manual that was included with every pocket transit sold. Includes a 1957 price sheet.