• WordNet 3.6
    • n theodolite a surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles, consisting of a small telescope mounted on a tripod
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Theodolite An instrument used, especially in trigonometrical surveying, for the accurate measurement of horizontal angles, and also usually of vertical angles. It is variously constructed.☞ The theodolite consists principally of a telescope, with cross wires in the focus of its object glass, clamped in Y's attached to a frame that is mounted so as to turn both on vertical and horizontal axes, the former carrying a vernier plate on a horizontal graduated plate or circle for azimuthal angles, and the latter a vertical graduated arc or semicircle for altitudes. The whole is furnished with levels and adjusting screws and mounted on a tripod.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n theodolite A surveying-instrument for measuring horizontal angles upon a graduated circle. It may also be provided with a vertical circle, and if this is not very much smaller than the horizontal circle, the instrument is called an altazimuth. If it is provided with a delicate striding level and is in every way convenient for astronomical work, it is called a universal instrument. A small altazimuth with a concentric magnetic compass is called a surveyors' transit. A theodolite in which the whole instrument, except the feet and their connections, turns relatively to the latter, and can be clamped in different positions, is called a repeating circle. The instrument shown in the figure follows the system of the United States Coast Survey of attaining simplicity of construction by adaptation to a single purpose—in this case to the measurement of horizontal angles only. This instrument is low and consequently very steady. Within the upright pillar is a truncated cone of steel, and upon this and fitting to it turns the hollow brass pillar carrying the telescope and microscopes. Except for an excessively thin layer of oil, the brass movable part bears directly on the steel, and its weight tends to keep it centered. The pressure is relieved by a small plate of some elasticity fastened to the movable part over the axis and adjustable with screws. It is thus made to turn, as nearly as possible, about a mathematical line. This is the conical bearing of Gamhey. The base, which is as low as possible, consists of a round central part, and three arms having screw-feet with binding-screws. A circular guard for the circle (indistinguishable from the latter in the figure) forms a part of the base. The graduated circle is made slightly conical, so that the microscopes may be more convenient. This circle, with its eight radii and interior ring, forms one solid casting, which bears upon the steel axis conically. It is held in place, in imitation of an instrument by Stackpole of New York, by the pressure of a ring above, which can readily be loosened so as to permit the circle to be turned round alone. The telescope is provided with a filar micrometer, with a view of facilitating reiterated pointings—a new principle of much value. The instrument is leveled by means of a striding level. There are four micrometer microscopes (although some geodesists insist upon an odd number), made adjustable so that one division of the circle Shall be very nearly covered by two and a half turns of the micrometer-screw. The illumination for these microscopes is made through their objectives by light brought, according to the plan of Messrs. Brunner, by prisms from a point vertically over the axis, where a horizontal ground glass is hung in the daytime and a lamp with a porcelain shade at night, so that the images of the lines plowed by the graver in the polished surface of the circle shall not be displaced by oblique illumination. The clamp is attached to an arm from a ring about the brass upright, and bears upon the circular guard outside the circle proper. The tangent screw is contrived so as to eliminate dead motion. The arm carrying the clamp is balanced by another bearing a small finding microscope. Theodolites are made upon manifold models; but the one figured in preceding column is a good example of a modern first-class instrument.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Theodolite thē-od′ō-līt an instrument used in land-surveying for the measurement of angles horizontal and vertical, being neither more nor less than an altitude and azimuth instrument, proportioned and constructed so as to be conveniently portable
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Probably a corruption of the alidade,. See Alidade
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Ety. unknown; Gr. theasthai, to see + hodos, way + litos, smooth; theasthai + dolichos, long, &c.


In literature:

He must have had a theodolite and the very best equipment.
"The Sleuth of St. James's Square" by Melville Davisson Post
The theodolite was a nine-inch one and weighed many pounds.
"A Labrador Doctor" by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
Stealing out by the canal as we had entered, we found to our comfort that this must be the very city mentioned by Theodolite.
"HE" by Andrew Lang
The theodolite, as used in land-surveying, levelling, &c., is well known.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
Mr. James was a heavy, thick-set man; and one day, when endeavouring to obtain a stand for his theodolite, he felt himself suddenly sinking.
"Lives of the Engineers The Locomotive. George and Robert Stephenson" by Samuel Smiles
To a certainty she'll be meddling with the theodolites!
"Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 366, April, 1846" by Various
We used the large telescope and our large theodolite.
"Farthest North" by Fridtjof Nansen
Beau resumed his theodolite, drove a few stakes on the hill opposite, and proceeded onward in the fulfilment of his duties.
"Railway Adventures and Anecdotes extending over more than fifty years" by Various
Couldn't your nephew carry a theodolite, and take a few practical lessons in surveying?
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 355, May 1845" by Various
According to the theodolite, the latitude was 84 deg.
"Farthest North" by Fridtjof Nansen
He made application at head-quarters for a theodolite to make a triangulation of the distance, but was refused its use.
"The Boys of '61" by Charles Carleton Coffin
The angles were observed with theodolites of 12 and 15 in.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 9" by Various
To a certainty she'll be meddling with the theodolites!
"Tales from Blackwood" by Various
Whose is the best theodolite?
"Scientific American, Vol. XXXVII.--No. 2. [New Series.], July 14, 1877" by Various
And you're never going out without your theodolite?
"Mr. Punch's Golf Stories" by Various
My coxswain carried a theodolite.
"Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836" by Robert FitzRoy
The observations are made with a theodolite.
"Mount Everest the Reconnaissance, 1921" by Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury
At a sight of the theodolite their fury knew no bounds.
"'Puffing Billy' and the Prize 'Rocket'" by Helen Cross Knight
In doubling the point, two of the officers landed, to take a round of angles with the theodolite.
"Library Notes" by A. P. Russell
In extensive surveys of the Mississippi observers with theodolites were stationed at A and B.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 14, Slice 1" by Various

In poetry:

Of AGIB, who could readily, at sight,
Strum a march upon the loud Theodolite.
He would diligently play
On the Zoetrope all day,
And blow the gay Pantechnicon all night.
"The Story of Prince Agib" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In science:

This initial setting was performed by VertexRSI with digital photogrammetry and by AEC with the aid of a Leica “total station” laser-tracker (essentially a theodolite with integrated distance measurement instrument and all-electronic readout).
Near-Field Radio Holography of Large Reflector Antennas
The coordinates of a theodolite are measured in the same frame.
The COMPASS Experiment at CERN
The theodolite axis is oriented along the straight line joining its centre and the centre of the sphere (reference line).
The COMPASS Experiment at CERN
Photographic and theodolite surveys were used to ensure accurate PMT position determinations.
Search for Gamma Ray Emission from Galactic Plane with Milagro