1948 Wild Heerbrugg N1

The Wild N1 or Baby Wild as it was dubbed in the Netherlands.
Figure 1: The Wild N1 or Baby Wild as it was dubbed in the Netherlands.
In 2015 this levelling instrument by Wild Heerbrugg came up for sale on a Dutch auction web site. The instrument, model N1, was known here in the Netherlands as the "Baby Wild", while in the UK it was advertised as "Small Level No.1".1 It may be regarded as the first commercial move of Wild. When Heinrich Wild started his own company in 1924 his company first produced the NII level, which was soon followed by their T2 theodolite. These two instruments would remain their main instruments until Wild was taken over by Leica and their success was, at least here in the Netherlands, unparalleled.

The Wild N1 was most likely the result of an attempt to conquer the market for cheaper instruments, especially those used at construction sites. Their main competitor, Carl Zeiss, had already produced a line of three levelling instruments for different purposes. Wild already produced the more accurate NIII (the predecessor of the N3) since 1926, but did not yet have an instrument for the other end of the spectrum. The Baby Wild was developed in 1930 from the NII by removing the tilt screw the instrument, as a result of which it could be produced at a lower price.

Years later, in 1961, Wild would even further economise on parts, with the introduction of the Wild N01, by replacing the glass circle by an aluminium one and by removing the coincidence prisms from the main vial and replacing it wit a plain metal mirror.

The Wild N1 or Baby Wild from the other side with original sun shade.
Figure 2: The Wild N1 or Baby Wild from the other side with original sun shade.
Accuracy
The telescope, equipped with 100 times stadia hairs (see figure 11), has an objective diameter of 25mm and a magnification of 18 times.2 The accuracy of the vial is 40" per 2mm run.2 The horizontal circle is divided in whole degrees and can be read using the circle reading microscope directly to 10 arc minutes and estimated to a single arc minute resolution (see figure 12).

The Instrument
This Wild N1 dates from 1948 and still is in mint condition despite its age.3 It came complete with its original metal container and sun shade (see figure 2 and figure 3). The instrument is still in full working order and well adjusted. Based on the label attached to the lid of the container, the instrument was once sold by Ahrend.

Notes

[1]: A. de Vos, Landmeten en Waterpassen voor het Middelbaar Technisch onderwijs en de Studie voor het Examen Bouwk. Opz. ... met 165 afbeeldingen., (Amsterdam, 1936), p.135. Wild N I (NK I) user manual.
[2]: F. Deumlich, M. Seyfert, Instrumentenkunde der Vermessungstechnik, (Berlin, 1957), p.218.
[3]: With many thanks to J. Dedual of the Virtual Archive of Wild-Heerbrugg for checking the serial for me.

If you have any questions and/or remarks please let me know.

The Wild N1 or Baby Wild from the other side with original sun shade mounted.
Figure 3: The Wild N1 or Baby Wild from the other side with original sun shade mounted.
 
The serial of the Wild N1 indicates a production year of 1948.
Figure 4: The serial of the Wild N1 indicates a production year of 1948.

The main telescope (left) and circle reading microscope.
Figure 5: The main telescope (left) and circle reading microscope.
 
The tube of the main vial of the Wild N1 with the coincidence prisms on top.
Figure 6: The tube of the main vial of the Wild N1 with the coincidence prisms on top.

A view at the coincidence vial of the Wild N1.
Figure 7: A view at the coincidence vial of the Wild N1.
 
The Wild N1 came with its original container.
Figure 8: The Wild N1 came with its original container.

The clamping mechanism in the container for the Wild N1. The sun shade is at the right.
Figure 9: The clamping mechanism in the container for the Wild N1. The sun shade is at the right.
 
The Wild N1 fixated to the base of its container.
Figure 10: The Wild N1 fixated to the base of its container.

The view of the Wild N1 is inverted.
Figure 11: The view of the Wild N1 is inverted.
 
The horizontal circle can be read directly to 10 arc minutes and estimated to a single arc minute.
Figure 12: The horizontal circle can be read directly to 10 arc minutes and estimated to a single arc minute.

Surveyor's crosses Geodetic Sextants Theodolites Total Stations Levels Standards Tools Firms
20th c. hydrostatic level 19th c. water bottle level 19th c. Secrétan Egault 19th c. Tibaut Lenoir 1928 Carl Zeiss Nivellier I 1926 Wild NKII 1924 Carl Zeiss Nivellier II 1948 Wild N1 1932 Carl Zeiss Nivellier III 1951 Wild N2 1965 Wild NK01 1965 Wild NK10 1961 Wild N3 1970 Wild NK2 1977 Wild N3 1999 Wild NA2-GPM3 20th c. Cowley 1960s Jenoptik Koni 007 1960s Zeiss Opton Ni 2