Who invented the hypsometer?



1 WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS 2013 Edition SEPTEMBER 2013 ATKINSON, CHRISTEN and FAUSTMANN BAUMHÖHENMESSER Author: Wolfgang Ruecker Dear collector friend, dear reader, at the beginning a request: These PLUMB BOB NEWS can only be written with the help of other collectors, so I'm looking for photos, catalog pages, Articles or personal stories on all aspects of plumb bobs by anyone. Every small consignment is valuable. I look forward to your contribution. Wolfgang ATKINSON, CHRISTEN and FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT MEASURES CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION THE ATKINSON STORY THE PATENTED CHRISTEN HYPSOMETER from DAS FAUSTMANN SPIEGEL HYPSOMETER update SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT INTRODUCTION The small plumb bob the center of our passion for collecting. No electricity, no other source of power. In my collection I have some so-called hypsometers to measure the height of trees or buildings. You may already know one of them from my newsletter DAS FAUSTMANN SPIEGEL-HYPSOMETER. It was developed in 1854 by the German forester Martin Faustmann and requires a small plumb bob to measure the height of the tree. You can find an update about this instrument here with new information about a version that was sold by KEUFFEL & ESSER in New York, USA between 1904 and approx. In addition, information about different versions of the mirror hypsometer manufactured by the court optician NEUHÖFER & SOHN in Vienna , Austria. But there are also small altimeters where the body of the instrument acts like a plumb bob, only influenced by gravity. These are the so-called PENDULUM ELEVATORS. Today I want to write about the English ATKINSON HYPSOMETER from 1872 from my collection and about the patented CHRISTEN HYPSOMETER from 1891 from the collection of my friend Ulrich Biber. Above: FAUSTMANN Spiegel Hypsometer from Keuffel & Esser K&E, NY, U.S.A Left: CHRISTEN Hypsometer from Switzerland Below: ATKINSON Hypsometer from England WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

2 2. THE ATKINSON STORY The little story of a GOOD IDEA and a BAD IMPLEMENTATION from 1872 While rummaging in my museum I found a small mahogany box (case) with the (badly) stamped name MH ATKINSON with the dimensions 12.4 x7.0 x 2.0 cm. legible, so that I had to take a closer look at them. Inside was an isosceles triangular brass instrument ATKINSON HYPSOMETER, manufactured by F. ROBSON 45 DEAN STREET, NEWCASTLE with interesting operating instructions. For the translation from English into German, I typed it up and discovered a white spot in the middle of the text. I thought it was a water stain too (although the text looked complete to me). To be on the safe side, I asked some friends in the USA. They confirmed to me: Nothing is missing. Dimensions: 7.62 mm cathetus length and 10.77 cm hypotenuse length. Thickness 1.9 mm. The operating instructions were printed in a triangular shape that corresponded to the isosceles instrument. Unfortunately, my instructions are bad in places due to the influence of moisture. NOTE: This instrument also belongs to the plumb bobs in the broadest sense, as it is used pendulum and uses gravity for stabilization. It is also part of my collection of tree height gauges. WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

3 Even a look through the magnifying glass showed clear text and a white spot. Such a white spot in an instruction manual calls for an explanation and research. The legibility of the headline was also influenced by a large hole caused by one of the two pins on which the instrument is held between the index finger and thumb during use. But let's first read the (freely translated) operating instructions: WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

4 My search on the Internet for the ATKINSON HYPSOMETER (Hypsometer is also a common German term for (tree) altimeter) led me to two auctions in 2004 and 2010 in England, where this instrument was sold for 75 and 91 British pounds, respectively to a photo from a so-called DUNNOTAR COLLECTION. However, the triangle does not match the device (see light imprint of the device) The pins for holding the fingers have a different position (a little further down and a little further to the right) than on the other devices. Possibly because of the additional weight of the 3rd and 4th visor. See comparison at the bottom of the page. Here is another compilation: the operating instructions stuck on like in my device (only readable on the head when you open the case), but the instrument only has two visors on the edge of the hypotenuse. At an auction there was also a good photo that showed other essential differences: -only two visors on the edge of the hypotenuse (no visors on the edge of a cathetus) text can be read directly when the case is opened. However, I noticed here that the position of the white spot is roughly where the tips are attached to the device. (But the point doesn't hit the white spot because the positioning isn't right) WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

5 But here I saw a starting point for my further considerations. So I used my (limited) photomontage options and cut out, enlarged, mirrored, etc. the pictures a little, until I came to the following result: The clever mind, who had left out the white spot in the operating instructions, wanted to achieve the following: NONE IMPAIRMENT OF THE TEXT OF THE OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS THROUGH A HOLE IN THE PAPER CALLED BY THE HOLDING TIPS! Here, however, his colleagues have; who also worked on the production of this packaging unit put a BIG LINE through the bill. A good flow of information and teamwork are necessary everywhere. SO THE IDEA HAVE TO BE PUT INTO PRACTICE: The following basic conditions for the folding case with the hypsometer must be met: 1. When opening, the instrument must be in the lower part (otherwise it will fall out of the lid) 2. The operating instructions must be provided by the user be legible in the position in which he opens the case. 3. The tip must hit the free space in the text (white hole). To do this, the following changes would have to be made: 1. Text would have to be written larger (the line between the headings is not applicable) 2. The instrument would have to be inserted horizontally mirrored in the lower part 3. The position of the tips must not be changed later. (as it was done with later instruments) Only then would the tip of the instrument stick into the white field and not interfere with reading. The layout for the case should look like this (see photo montage below left): In practice, however, we unfortunately only find the versions shown below. In all of them, the white spot is not hit by the pen. Perfect execution (photo montage) We know situations in which holes are pierced through parts of the instruments in texts, e.g. B. also with Bergische coin scales, as my friend Ulrich Biber told me. Here it was carried out correctly as far as possible

6 Later I found other sources in English-language books about the manufacturer Frederick ROBSON and descriptions of the device, including by the inventor Atkinson himself. One mystery still remains, however. Why are all mahogany cases stamped with M. H. ATKINSON and not with Geo. C. Atkinson, the name of the inventor? WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT METER

7 3. THE PATENTED CHRISTENING HYPSOMETER from 1891 My friend Ulrich recently acquired a very simple measuring stick, but without knowing what it was about. He asked me for more information. The instrument is 33.5 cm long and 2.2 or 2.8 cm wide. Approx. 2-3 mm thick. The scale is not marked linearly with numbers that are supposed to indicate meters. We only found the following words on the instrument: The instrument was delivered in a linen sack with detailed operating instructions. Fig. 19: Use of the Christen Hypsometer (from Stoetzer 1898) My search on the Internet - especially in the American Google books - resulted in the following: PFISTER & STREIT, was a workshop for mathematical and physical instruments in BERN, the capital of Switzerland. This instrument is a tree height measuring device, a so-called hypsometer. It was invented in 1891 by Traugott CHRISTEN, from Bümplitz near Bern, Switzerland. Patent 3568 May 1896 (see original patent below) Fig. 16 from the original operating instructions WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

8 Free translation - of the first part - from FOREST MENSURATION NEW YORK 1921: This instrument consists of a 40 cm long metal strip (the non-foldable original version is 33 cm long). For shape see drawing on the right. The America version consists of two connected parts that can be folded together when not in use. In the upper part there is a hole where it can be held between your fingers. A scale is engraved on the inner edge, from which the height can be read off directly. The instrument is used as follows: A 10-foot staff (European version has a longer 4-meter staff) is placed next to the tree. The user is in a favorable position when he can see both the crown and the base of the tree. He must also be able to see the tip of the bar. The instrument must be held hanging in front of the eye. Then go forwards or backwards until the upper reference edge of the device is congruent with the top of the tree and the lower one with the base of the tree. At the intersection of the connecting line between the eye and the top of the staff, the height of the tree can be read on the instrument scale. Column right: The original text from FOREST MENSURATION NEW YORK Here the instrument is shown FOLDABLE WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE


10 4. THE FAUSTMANN SPIEGEL HYPSOMETER update The basic information about the FAUSTMANN mirror hypsometer can be found on my homepage on the subpage Faustmann Spiegel-Hypsometer with the direct link: or in my newsletter I knew that K&E used the instrument in catalogs between the 1930s and the 1930s offered in two versions: one made of BRASS and one with a WOODEN BODY. See drawings below. The first drawing in the Allgemeine Forstund Jagdzeitung from 1856 Original Faustmann Hypsometer from my collection, made by Martin Faustmann and his wife in the 1860s. I was recently able to purchase a Faustmann mirror hypsometer in Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.A., which was sold / manufactured by Keuffel & Esser K&E in NY. This was the FIRST AND ONLY Faustmann instrument from the American market that I have seen in the last 5 years of intensive research. My friends in the USA had no information either. WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

11 It is marked on the front with the manufacturer's name (above). The name of the last owner is branded on the back. (below) The seller informed me: The previous owner was the dean of the Institute for Environment and Forests at the State University of New York.The two vertical (distance to the tree) scales are marked as follows: II 4 to 20 (for the horizontal Height scale A) and 25 to 100 (for the horizontal height scale B) and I from 20 to 35 (for scale A) and from 100 to 175 (for scale B) The numbers on the horizontal (height) scale are mirrored. This is necessary so that the user can read the numbers correctly in the mirror. The instrument was packed in a black cardboard sleeve. The push button is marked with the company name. My solder has a better / more modern shape than the simple lead solder in the catalog drawing. So seems younger. The position of the garage for the plumb is also different. On the right of the device and not on the left WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE

12 NEUHÖFER & SON. Manufacturer of a replica of the Faustmann mirror hypsometer in VIENNA, Austria. The instruments of this manufacturer are unmistakable by a special type of visor attachment (right) a cross visor instead of a horizontal thread (with the other devices) These replicas of the original Faustmann by Neuhöfer & Sohn may have been produced between 1872 (introduction of the METER system) and the 1925s (end of the company). There are several different company imprints on the hypsometers. I am trying to bring them into a chronological order. Neuhöfer moved his shop from the 1st to the 5th district to VIENNA, V. Hartmanngasse 5. This is near the factory, which has been in VIENNA, V. Schlossgasse 1 since the beginning is located. Another of my instruments with the same font, but without an address, has an instruction manual with the address Hartmanngasse 5: Different font, not so ornate. (approx. 1910s) Faustmann's mirror hypsometer in meter reading No company name, but typically Neuhöfer WIEN, without a street, but company as an AG. The first LADEN address in the 1st district of Vienna is also mentioned by the company's predecessors. For Joseph Neuhöfer since 1860. Vienna I. Kohlmarkt 8 This instrument (without Neuhöfer name) was used in an Austrian forest school until it was closed in the 1980s. 5. SOMETHING TO SMINE This could be a sign in the room where your plumb bobs are parked. Note: BOB is the name in America for the plumb bob, there called PLUMB BOB 6. REMARK This is an article in the monthly WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS, which can be sent free of charge as an attachment as a PDF file on request. Earlier editions can be found on the homepage. Inquiries about Have fun reading Wolfgang Ps. For us the whole world revolves around the plumb bob, as can be seen from the logo. Logo of the International Plumb Bob Collectors Association IPBCA WOLF'S PLUMB BOB NEWS AKTINSON + CHRISTEN + FAUSTMANN TREE HEIGHT KNIFE