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Transit and Equal Altitude Telescope
1789

"The most perfect, and best calculated for running straight lines"
Andrew Ellicott, the leading geodetic surveyor in the early years of the Republic, called his transit and equal altitude instrument "the most perfect, and best calculated for running straight lines." He went farther. "When the different verifications are carefully attended to, [it] may safely be considered as absolutely perfect." Ellicott made the instrument shown here and used it to run the western boundary of New York in 1789, the boundaries of the District of Columbia in the early 1790s, the southern boundary of the United States in 1796-1800, and the boundary between Georgia and North Carolina in 1811.

Notes
The instrument remained in family hands until Ellicott's son-in-law Andrew Ellicott Douglass deposited it with the Smithsonian in 1898. The deposit was converted to a donation in 1931.
Andrew Ellicott (1754-1820)
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