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Thread: Can anyone identify this instrument?

  1. #61
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    A classmate of mine was in the Navy and had access to a ton of old distance measuring equipment. Some of these devices were optical and used parallax to calculate distance. Simple in operation, but really complex in construction. (Dang it... I can't remember what he called them.)

    I wonder if this device is only part of a whole contraption that is actually complex in nature, but super simple to use when set up.
    Solfe

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  2. #62
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    Sextant?

    ETA:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sextant

    ETA-II: A compass with 64 sections related to my earlier post:

    ETA-III: BTW TJMac did you try setting all 3 arms to equal settings? If so what where the angle readings?
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    Last edited by a1call; 2011-Jan-02 at 11:18 PM.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Some of these devices were optical and used parallax to calculate distance. Simple in operation, but really complex in construction. (Dang it... I can't remember what he called them.)
    This was my first thought when I saw it ( which was just now even though the thread is now several weeks old). As I understand it, there were binoculars that were essentially two widely separated refractor telescopes with mirrors focusing the light at the eyepieces. These two telescopes were not parallel and the angle could be adjusted. The operator would adjust the angle until the images of the two telescopes merged. The angle of the telescopes was a function of the range of the target. Undoubtedly, the angles were very small, so perhaps this instrument was part of that range finding contraption.

    BTW, I can't remember the name of it either.

  4. #64
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    Rangefinder!

    That's not what the object in the OP is, however.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #65
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    On the back of the case, underneath the words, there is a stamp. Is it an anchor?

  6. #66
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    From PetersCreek link in post 15:

    There is also an Eagle stamping with the letters
    (WaA 47)
    ETA: More on Boxing the compass:

    The set of 32 named points can be increased by another 32 directions using half-points. These are constructed by taking the more important of the two directions it lies between and adding a half-point deviation toward a cardinal point. For instance, the direction between numbers 1 (North) and 2 (North by East) is "North-half-East"; that between numbers 3 (North-Northeast) and 4 (Northeast by North) is "North-Northeast-half-East", and so on. The set of directions can be increased yet again to a set of 128 named directions using quarter-points,[1] although for communicating heading these fractional points have been superseded by degrees measured clockwise from North.

  7. #67
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    Rangefinder, that was the word.

    No, I don't think it IS a range finder, but I suspect that it is just as complex as far as the manufacture, but the usage maybe very simple.

    I was making a comparision while I type in two different windows, one of which was a game... does nothing for my focus.
    Solfe

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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by a1call View Post
    From PetersCreek link in post 15:
    There is also an Eagle stamping with the letters
    (WaA 47) ...
    While the post on that forum only has a description and we can't be sure the case is exactly the same as ours, it sounds close enough to accept the similarity as a working thesis. Our picture doesn't show any detail and I can't determine if the blob is the Reichsadler (the Eagle holding that certain symbol), or not.

    WaA = Waffenamt (weapons registry), and the stamp is a Waffenamtsabnahmestempel (weapons registry certification stamp).

    A quick google shows that the number 47 seems to have been used for a variety of items. As far as I can see without digging further, they are mainly (all?) holsters of one kind or another, so maybe 47 was a general code for accepted holsters.

    Once again, the problem with researching this item is the nature of the websites involved. Not nice.

  9. #69
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    This is a very late reply to your question, but I have been searching for information on this device since 1973. Yours is the first info of any type I have found since then.
    I also possess one of these. Mine is the exact same unit except there is not any manufacturing company information on mine. It has only the letters BEG located where yours lists Haff Brothers Inc. (English translation) as the maker. 1973 was a long time ago and I knew that mine had been brought to the USA in 1945 when my father returned from WW2. I went to a military collector where I lived at the time (Indiana PA). He had a book listing the German military codes for manufacturers. BEG indeed was Haff Brothers just as other contributors have said. I took a photograph of it and sent it with a letter to the company, Snail mail, no internet or email in 1973. I received a reply, which I have since lost, from a gentleman at Haaf brothers explaining the use. No instruction manuals were available that he knew of. There were many thousands made. The name of the device indeed means "measures three angles" as I was told in the letter I received. If any one is upset because it is a Nazi military device, I'm sorry but that war was over a long time ago and it doesn't take away from the beauty of the workmanship and design. The letter I got (remember there were a lot more people alive at the company in 1973 that were alive during the war than there are now) said that it's use was to calculate the angles required enable two artillery pieces at different locations to shoot to the same aiming point. Remember the 1:25000 map scale listed on the units. They had no further information to give me even that long ago. Still looking for an instruction manual if anyone can come up with one. You are luckier than I. I have no case for mine. I don't know what they are made of but mine has no corrosion on it either, in spite of the fact that they are almost 70 years old. I thought it was stainless steel but a magnet is attracted to mine. I have done no cleaning or any type of special storage except wrapping it in a clean cotton towel. Well that is what I know and was happy to find your thread. Lots of good guesses, but it is a military artillery calculator from WW2. Again I repeat It doesn't make you a bad person to appreciate fine craftsmanship in a military item. Engineering is apolitical even if the device was ordered by evil politicians.

  10. #70
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    Welcome to BAUT, wescjs2r1. Thanks for signing up and sharing that!
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  11. #71
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    I wonder if MEMs might allow a return to this level of workmanship at very small scales. Computer chips will resemble huge boxes at the smallest scale, so mechanical devices that have different structures might be useful. Say a return to rope memory via nanocables that can also serve as tiny legs. Watchmakers/music box makers are about all that is left now that computers have taken everything over. I think the old Curta calculator came out of WWII as well.

    Were I to take over public schools, kids would learn Napiers bones one year, a miniature ENIAC the next, slide rules, and wait until High School for modern computers so as to teach appreciation...
    Last edited by publiusr; 2012-Jun-15 at 08:53 PM.

  12. #72
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    Thank you sir, the information is greatly appreciated. I did send pictures and a query to the company via email, at one point, and got a simple reply that it was an instrument used in calculating artillery. (Or words to that effect, I cannot find that email now.)

    I was told by a collector of German memorabilia, that it should have a military marking on it if it was indeed Military related. I am surprised that it is so difficult to find information on them, given that there were quite a few produced.

    I work with steel myself for a living, and I highly appreciate things that are very well made. This piece is, and kudos to whomever it was that put in the effort to make such a fantastic piece.

    You have inspired me to go poke around the internet a bit more....


    TJ

  13. #73
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    I found this site, which gives a basic description of how such a device is used, and shows a couple other very similar samples.

    http://www.lovettartillery.com/Field...0Plotters.html

    TJ

  14. #74
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    Wow, if I understand that description correctly, it turns out to have the simple function of determining distance by triangulation.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    Wow, if I understand that description correctly, it turns out to have the simple function of determining distance by triangulation.
    Also apparently the deflection (how high to point) the gun to get the shells to go the distance. Today it's trivial to do that with a simple program on a chip, but back then an analog computer like this could be helpful.

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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Also apparently the deflection (how high to point) the gun to get the shells to go the distance.
    I looked real close at the pictures and I see three linear vernier scales, one for each leg. I also see two vernier angular scales. I do not see any other scales, say that might be used for calculating the altitude setting of the artillery piece. That would have to be a sine scale.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by billslugg View Post
    I looked real close at the pictures and I see three linear vernier scales, one for each leg. I also see two vernier angular scales. I do not see any other scales, say that might be used for calculating the altitude setting of the artillery piece. That would have to be a sine scale.
    That still seems like the device is for getting the azimuth angle at which to fire. The altitude angle would be based on the distance to the target, the gun, and other environmental factors, wouldn't it? I would expect that those calculations were done separately since they were required every time the gun was fired.

  18. #78
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    I sent an email to the owner of that site that I linked to previously. He replied back that he had never seen an instruction manual for these type devices, and had figured out their use by his own experience with artillery and by self study of the instruments.

    He also said something that I thought curious. These devices were not one of a kind items, but were made in quantity. However, altho its very rare to actually see one, they are not actually worth a great deal. I don't really care about the worth of it, (ok, maybe a little bit, for the gee whiz factor) but I was under the impression that a rare item just tended to have more worth than say, if you saw one every time you walked into a pawn shop.

    I have yet to find anyone with artillery experience that would have any ideas on it. (not because there aren't any, but because I haven't looked)

    TJ

  19. #79
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    TJMac Your unit has the company name on it. The picture of the case is stamped 1938. The war did not openly start until 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. My unit only has the letters BEG on it. As I told you in my earlier post I consulted an old classified book containing German military manufacturer's codes. My assumption is that my unit is newer than yours, made after open hostilities commenced. The military naturally wouldn't want to advertise the exact locations of their factories to any Allied intelligence units that would capture one of the instruments. I'm not totally sure of this assumption but it makes sense.
    Thanks for the link. I still want to find an instruction book. If I do I will email a PDF copy to you.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMac View Post
    but I was under the impression that a rare item just tended to have more worth than say, if you saw one every time you walked into a pawn shop.
    It's certainly true that rarity is one of the factors that influences the worth of an item, but it's not the only thing. Desirability is another major factor. For example, apparently blue is the most common color of sapphire, but it is also the most valuable, because people tend to want blue sapphires rather than other colored ones, which are actually more rare. Or for example, original paintings are all extremely rare (just one exists), but some are very valuable and others are not.
    As above, so below

  21. #81
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    I was in the Artillery once...There are more than just the factors named above, for certain large caliber weapons, the rotation of the earth had to be considered, as a factor of direction of aim....In the 60's, they had a bunch of charts that were used to calculate all of the factors, including the adiabatic cooling rate, air temp, wind, etc etc...Then there was the probability chart, that was centered over the target....It got complicated very fast....Today they have computers, but I presume all of the manual calculations are still taught at Ft Sill....( I Hope!)

    Dale

  22. #82
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    Lightbulb Heereswaffentamt codes

    Quote Originally Posted by wescjs2r1 View Post
    TJMac Your unit has the company name on it. The picture of the case is stamped 1938. The war did not openly start until 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. My unit only has the letters BEG on it. As I told you in my earlier post I consulted an old classified book containing German military manufacturer's codes. My assumption is that my unit is newer than yours, made after open hostilities commenced. The military naturally wouldn't want to advertise the exact locations of their factories to any Allied intelligence units that would capture one of the instruments. I'm not totally sure of this assumption but it makes sense.
    Thanks for the link. I still want to find an instruction book. If I do I will email a PDF copy to you.
    wes: I am a collector of this stuff, the Germans began using manufacturers codes in 1934, in 1942, Albert Speer had them changed to letters. Of course the mfg codes are sometimes confused with the Waffenamt Inspectors Codes....The fellows at the various weapons forums have this all covered, many times over...There is even a site with most of the codes listed, but there are errors-(naturally after all this time)

    Dale
    Last edited by vonmazur; 2012-May-29 at 02:52 AM. Reason: sp.

  23. #83
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    I wonder how this might be incorporated into ballistics:
    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news...s-puzzler?lite

    Might be nice for someone to do one last version of this instrument if a way can be found to add the function discovered recently.

  24. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by vonmazur View Post
    wes: I am a collector of this stuff, the Germans began using manufacturers codes in 1934, in 1942, Albert Speer had them changed to letters. Of course the mfg codes are sometimes confused with the Waffenamt Inspectors Codes....The fellows at the various weapons forums have this all covered, many times over...There is even a site with most of the codes listed, but there are errors-(naturally after all this time)

    Dale
    Any chance you have links to some of those forums? I did some looking at one time, but either due to lack of diligence, or wrong search terms, never found anything that gave me information of any type.

    TJ

  25. #85
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    Sure, I have to go dig out the links....http://proofhouse.com/cm/ger_ord_codes.htm This is best one I have encountered, and there is no political content, just lists of codes and to whom they belong....Much of the research was done by collectors of this sort of thing, and they have been at it since 1946!! If it were not for these guys, and their curiosity about this subject, much of the data would have been lost or forgotten....

    There are forums as well: http://www.surplusrifleforum.com is the one where I am stuck moderating, and I have adopted some of the BAUT Forum policies there, so there are no ethnic or racist posts allowed, just discussion of the equipment and similar subjects. This one is also very good and has a lot of knowledgeable members like SRF:http://www.milsurps.com/index.php They do not allow any sort of ranting and raving either!!

    Dale
    Last edited by vonmazur; 2012-Jun-04 at 12:41 AM. Reason: add...

  26. #86
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    One more thing that was not made clear in the posts above; The leather gear was proofed and supplied seperately from the items that were intended to be stored in such things... So the "WaA 47" mark with the "Pleitege Geier", that was mentioned would only lead to the maker of the case. If the object is coded and inspected, then one can search the code and the inspector's mark for further information...For example, there are a lot of leather goods makers with their own code and inspector, but usually only one maker of the Pistol or whatever they used it for...(Rifles are an exception as the Germans during this era had a lot of manufacturers making virtually the same weapon, so it can get complicated very quickly...)

    Dale

  27. #87
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    vonmazur: Thanks for the links. We may be getting closer to instructions (or not), But half the fun is in the research.

  28. #88
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    Wes: Glad to help....I deal with this sort of stuff for a living, and moderate some of the boards that also concern themselves with such items...This is unusual, and I have never encountered one of these from Germany before....

    Dale

  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I wonder if MEMs might allow a return to this level of workmanship at very small scales. Computer chips will resemble huge boxes at the smallest scale, so mechanical devices that have different structures might be useful. Say a return to rope memory via nanocables that can also serve as tiny legs. Watchmakers/music box makers are about all that is left now that computers have taken everything over. I think the old Curta calculator came out of WWII as well.
    Were I to take over public schools, kids would learn Napiers bones one year, a miniature ENIAC the next, slide rules, and wait until High Schhol for modern computers so as to teach appreciation...
    Precision mechanical equipment is still made; it's just that very little of it is seen by consumers: no one needs planimeters or mechanical analogue computers, because we can use digital methods. MEMS is really a cool technology. I especially like the shirt button-sized gas turbine (Brayton cycle) and steam power systems (Rankine cycle; steam turbine, boiler, and condenser!) I want a million RPM turbogenerator for my laptop.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

  30. #90
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    I was thinking it was an angle checker. like a trig cheater tool. Perhaps u could measure the angle then scale it up to measure height, or distance? All though a wild guess. What ever it is, it looks very cool, and an interesting conversation piece. I was just looking at the picture wondering what it could be. Maybe for military use, maybe engineer use, regardless pretty cool looking tool.

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