1943 Schick incorporated U.S. Navy stadimeter

The 1943 U.S. Navy stadimeter by Schick incorporated.
Figure 1: The 1943 U.S. Navy stadimeter by Schick incorporated.
The stadimeter was developed in the 1890s by Bradley Allen Fiske (1854-1942), a Lieutenant in the United States Navy who had access to a laboratory in New York City that was fully backed by the Western Electric Manufacturing Co.1

The instrument was designed to determine the distance to an enemy warship, the mast head height of which was easily found in the naval literature. Although Fiske obtained several patents for rangefinders during the 1890s, it is not yet clear which of these patents pertained to the stadimeter.

Like a sextant, the stadimeter uses a system of mirrors to measure the angular distance of two ends of a distant object (e.g. height of a light house, length or height of a vessel). The difference with the sextant is that the user can set a reference scale (see figure 7) to a known dimension of that distant object. The stadimeter allows the user bring the two ends of the known object into coincidence, after which - provided the distance is set correctly - the distance to the object can be read from its drum micrometer (see figure 8).

The Schick stadimeter from the rear.
Figure 2: The Schick stadimeter from the rear.
The instrument was made by Schick Incorporated, Stamford, Connecticut, USA and was probably retailed by Graff, Washbourne & Dunn in New York as their label is fitted on the top side of the instrument (see figure 15).

Similar to the geodetic sextants in the collection the Schick stadimeter has three legs to rest the instrument on (see figure 12).

The instrument
The stadimeter came into my collection in September 2005. It is complete with its original box. The lid has the original adjustment instructions (see figure 6) and even several spare parts can be found inside the box. Although the horizon mirror has a few speckles (see figure 14), the instrument still is in full working order.


Notes

[1]: Smithsonian National Museum of American History -> Browse by instrument -> Stadimeter

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

The box of the Schick stadimeter.
Figure 3: The box of the Schick stadimeter.
 
The Schick Incorporated label on the lid of the box.
Figure 4: The Schick Incorporated label on the lid of the box.

The box of the Schick stadimeter opened, revealing its content.
Figure 5: The box of the Schick stadimeter opened, revealing its content.
 
The lid with the original "Adjustment of Stadimeter" leaflet.
Figure 6: The lid with the original "Adjustment of Stadimeter" leaflet.

A close-up of the reference scale of the stadimeter.
Figure 7: A close-up of the reference scale of the stadimeter.
 
A close-up of the micrometer drum.
Figure 8: A close-up of the micrometer drum.

A small lens facilitates reading the micrometer drum.
Figure 9: A small lens facilitates reading the micrometer drum.
 
For night time observations the scales are illuminated by a small light bulp under the loupe.
Figure 10: For night time observations the scales are illuminated by a small light bulp under the loupe.

The handle serves as a battery holder, while a small knob on top of it switches the light bulb.
Figure 11: The handle serves as a battery holder, while a small knob on top of it switches the light bulb.
 
Three legs allow to rest the Schick stadimeter on a flat surface.
Figure 12: Three legs allow to rest the Schick stadimeter on a flat surface.

The index mirror and telescope of the Schick stadimeter.
Figure 13: The index mirror and telescope of the Schick stadimeter.
 
The half horizon mirror of the Schick stadimeter.
Figure 14: The half horizon mirror of the Schick stadimeter.

The Graff, Washbourne & Dunn, New York label on the Schick stadimeter.
Figure 15: The Graff, Washbourne & Dunn, New York label on the Schick stadimeter.
 
The Schick stadimeter on top of its box.
Figure 16: The Schick stadimeter on top of its box.

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