Letter by H C Russell, 19 November 1875

Letter by H C Russell, 19 November 1875


19 Nov [187]5

My dear Mr Simms

I hope by the time this reaches you the Transit Circle will be finished and packed for shipment. My need for it is now greater than ever indeed work for our Trigonometrical Survey is waiting until we get it. Please remember us therefore and send it as soon as possible. The large theodolite you sent to Mr Adams is now at the Observatory partly for the purpose of testing it and partly to connect Observatory with other Tig??-points. So far the instrument has given great satisfaction, but one difficulty arose which I mention for the purpose of suggesting a means of preventing its recurrence in another instrument.

The striking?? level when first tested gave the most unaccountable reading the assistant came to me about it and no explanation seemed possible unless the assumption that the level was a bad one. When I went however to the instrument I found the tube had got a little twisted in its bearings, so that the divisions were not quite on the top. I at once put it right and the readings became at once
perfectly satisfactory; the suggestion I make is that one end of the tube have two flat sides ground on it which shall be placed between yours?? to prevent twisting or that a ?? ?? piece of brass be cemented on to the end for the same purpose. The tube was quite loose. and many who use such instruments would not have seen what was the matter, for a very slight force was sufficient to twist it. Pray do not forget me about the Transit. the balance of the money ……..

Yours very truly
H. C. Russell

5 responses to “Letter by H C Russell, 19 November 1875

  • William Simms retired in 1871 so by 1875 James Simms was the sole proprietor of the venerable instrument making firm Troughton & Simms. Russell ordered the transit circle while he was in England in 1875 and expected an early delivery, which did not occur. By 17 November 1876 he was desperately writing to “My dear Mr Simms” asking “what can be the matter” and “when is it coming”. He ended the letter with “anxiously waiting”. The telescope finally arrived January 1877.

  • Kind thanks again, Bob, for continuing to enrich this blog with your contributions. Yes, I thought it was probably Simms of Troughton and Simms. I’ll see if Nick Lomb has anything to add (though he’s very busy – as usual, but even more so with preparations for 2009 and the International Year of Astronomy).

  • I am at present uncertain, but it seems likely that Mr. Simms is of the venerable British scientific and astronomical instrument makers Troughton and Simms.

    By 1875, I believe the company was managed by William Simms Jr., and his cousin James Simms. (Ref. text describing some of the Troughton and Simms instruments in the collection of the Sydney Observatory.)

    Here are some of the instruments:


    Here is another letter to the Surveyor General pertaining to Mr. Simms on 28 October 1875:


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