Saturday, April 5, 2014

William J. Huson's Brunton Pocket Transit History Archives

For a number of years the single best web resource for information about pocket transits was William J. Hudson's excellent website 'Brunton Pocket Transits'.  Mr. Hudson's site was a wonderful compilation of pocket transit history, links and serial number data.  I've provided links to his site a number of times in this blog and I've pointed any number of readers to the site for specific information about pocket transits they have in their possession.

Unfortunately, sometime in late 2012 Mr. Hudson's site went off-line.  I didn't realize it until several readers contacted me to ask if I knew what happened to the site.  After some feverish Google searches I found a few archived pages but was forced to admit that Mr. Hudson's site had gone dark and a wonderful resource was lost forever.  But this is the world-wide web, and nothing is really lost forever!  A few weeks ago one of my readers, Robert Leavesely, was able to find a full backup of the 'Brunton Pocket Transits' web pages on the internet archive site, 'Wayback Machine'.  Thanks Robert!

In the archived pages I found an email for Mr. Hudson and was able to make contact with him.  It appears he's moved on to other interests and he graciously gave me full permission to use any of the data from his site.

So, in addition to providing the link found by Robert I decided to do two things.  First, I've converted the archived web pages to Adobe PDF format and they are available for viewing and download from this link.  The folder contents are a full copy of the archived material, and it appears everything from the original site is included.  Some of the formatting is a little wonky due to the HTML-to-PDF conversion, but the info is all there.

Next, there's been a lot of interest among my readers about determining the age of their particular pocket transit based on Mr. Husdon's serial number listings.  I realized that, more than anything else on the site, the serial number data should really be maintained and expanded.  What I've done is moved all of the serial number data into a spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet (Google Docs) is available for download from this link.  Additionally, I've made the spreadsheet available as a web view for those that just want to look at the data. Click the 'Master List' link to view the serial number data:

This spreadsheet view is a live link to the original spreadsheet, so as I add data to the spreadsheet or modify the layout the changes will be reflected in this web view.

Which brings us to the next step.  If you have a pocket transit that you'd like to see added to this archive please send me the information!  The goal is to develop a detailed listing of manufacturers, dates of manufacture and individual instrument characteristics as a resource for owners, collectors and buyers.  You can forward your information to me at brian.haren (at)


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