Fauth & Geo. Saegmuller Dating Table

Here you will find information about how to date your Fauth & Geo. Saegmuller antique survey instruments.

Fauth & Co. Washington, D. C.  (1874 - 1905)

Camill Fauth (1847 - 1925)
George N. Saegmuller (1848 - 1934)
Henry Lockwood (1834 - 1897)

Camill Fauth was born in Karlsruhe, South West Germany on February 28, 1847.   He died January 16, 1925 in Ansbach Germany.   He was employed by Sickler in Karlsruhe. When the Franco-German war broke out in 1870, William Wurdemann went to Germany to get his family and he brought Camill Fauth back with him, whom he employed.   Later Fauth went into business for himself.   He made small equatorials, meridian transits and latitude instruments for astronomical observations.

He married a sister of George N. Saegmuller.   George N. Saegmuller and his two brothers-in-law, Camill Fauth and Henry Lockwood, founded Fauth & Co. in 1874.   They are first listed in the Washington directories in 1876.   About 1888 Mr. Saegmuller bought the interest of Camill Fauth, previous to which he had bought the interest of Henry Lockwood.   In 1900 the name of Fauth & Co. was changed to George N. Saegmuller.   Camill Fauth left Washington in 1889 on account of ill health and went back to Ansbach, Bavaria to live, where he was registered as a private person on November 6, 1889.

Makers from America William A. Berger (eldest son of Christian Berger part owner of Buff & Berger), Carl W. Buff (middle son of George Buff part owner of Buff & Berger)  and John L. Saegmuller (son of George Saegmuller) all visited Camill Fauth at Ansbach while they were in Europe getting training at the L. Tesdorph factory in Stuttgart, Germany.

Special Notes: 

 According to the Smithsonian website Fauth & Company did not use serial numbers until 1887 when George N. Saegmuller bought out his partners in the business. So according to the Smithsonian, Fauth instruments with no serial numbers would have been made between 1874 and 1887.  They also conclude that even when George Saegmuller traded under his own name from 1892-1905 he still used the Fauth & Company name on his instruments.

Our Findings:  After a lot of research we found in the report of the Wheeler Expedition 1875-1879 RG77 E374 at the National Archives a mention of a Fauth instrument serial No. 10. being used in Colo. in 1875 and in California in 1876 so this instrument must have been made before 1875 and Fauth must have started serial numbering their instruments in 1874 or shortly thereafter. With these findings in mind we are saying that Fauth started to use serial numbers as soon as they opened for business in 1874 or shortly there after. This is logical since both Fauth & Saegmuller worked with William Wurdemann who also used serial numbers on his instruments.

In the 1890's George Saegmuller was advertising his new improved "Beveled Limb" theodolites/transits and we have seen several beveled limb instruments that were labeled "Geo N Saegmuller" and no mention of Fauth & Company on the instrument. We believe that Saegmuller was labeling his new improved "Beveled Limb" instruments with his own name "Geo N. Saegmuller". This "Geo N Saegmuller" name was hand engraved on the limb plate and not the compass face. We also found one beveled limb instrument with both "Geo N Saegmuller name on the limb plate and the Fauth & Company name on the compass face. (If you have a beveled limb instrument from this time frame that is labeled Fauth we would like to hear from you to confirm this information.) The new improved "Beveled Limb" instruments are believed to have been from the time frame of 1892 - 1905.   The serial numbers on these instruments appears to be based off the same serial numbering system that was being used on the Fauth & Company instruments so this formula should also work with "Geo. N. Saegmuller" labeled instruments.

Here are some samples of the Beveled Limb transit.

A limb is defined as a graduated circle.  In this case it is describing the horizontal circle.  Most limbs and limb plates on American made instruments from this era are flat. 

The beveled limb is similar to a standard flat limb but the limb is sloped at an angle
 
Beveled Limb Transit Sample
Saegmuller Beveled Limb Transit Sample
Beveled Limb Transit Sample
Saegmuller Beveled Limb Transit Sample

Serial Number Dating Theory:

Company Was Active Between 1874 – 1905 (31 years in business)
Serial Numbers Were Used From 1874 - 1905 (31 years putting serial numbers on instruments)
"Observed" Serial Number range 10 – 2478 (Instruments that have been confirmed)

Since most makers had fewer sales during the start up years you can assume they did not make as many instruments the first few years in business.   Unfortunately there is no easy way to calculate those numbers so in our formula we are assuming linear sales and we can calculate that 2478 (Highest Observed Serial Number)/31 (Years Putting Serial Numbers On Instruments) = Approximately 79 instruments manufactured per year between 1874 and 1905. We are also assuming they started at serial number 1, however even if they did not start at 1 the change in the formula would be minimal based on the first observed serial number of 10.

Formula:

Year = 1874 + sn/79

Samples

 Serial        Est. Year
Number

1319              1890                 How to calculate 1319/79 = 16.69 + 1874 = 1890
  821              1884                 How to calculate 821/79 = 10.39 + 1874 = 1884  

In view of the limited data and our assumption of linear sales the equation must be used with caution. Errors of plus or minus 2-4 years are to be expected.

****If you have any Fauth instruments please let us know some details about the instrument so we can refine our details.****

Observed serial numbers

 

Inst

model

Markings

Notes

SN #

  Fauth & Co. Washn D. C. Wheeler Expedition (Colo 1875) 10

Expedition Transit

 

Fauth & Co. Washn D. C.

 

50

Theodolite "Triangulation"
24 inch telescope

 

Fauth & Co. Washn D. C.

 

141

Transit

 

Fauth & Co. Washn D. C.

 

234

Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 300
Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 362
Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 434
Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 435
Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 436
Theodolite 8 inch Fauth & Co.   Washn D. C. (USGS) Discussed 1892 Fauth Catalog 438

Alidade

 

Fauth & Co.  Washn D. C. 

 

665

Transit Aluminum

 

Fauth & Co. Washn. D. C.

 

821

Attachment Solar Saegmuller

 

Fauth & Co. Washn. D. C. / Saegmuller’s Pat May 3,81

 

1391

Attachment Solar Saegmuller

  Fauth & Co. Washn. D. C. / Saegmuller’s Pat May 3,81  

1411

Theodolite "Triangulation"

8 inch

Fauth & Co. / Washn D. C.

 

1937

Attachment Solar Saegmuller

 

Fauth & Co. Washn D. C. / Saegmuller's Pat May 3-81

 

2017

Tilting Level

 

Fauth & Co. / Washn. D. C.

2023

Range Finder

 

Fauth & Co / Washn D C./ A-49 / U.S.C.S./ Zeiss field Glass  / power 8 / Bausch& Lomb Optical Co. / New York

 

2055

Alidade

 

Fauth & Co.  Washn D. C.

2245

Alidade

 

Fauth & Co.  Washn D. C.

 

2390

Alidade

 

Fauth & Co.  Washn D. C.

 

2478

Beveled Limb Transit

 

Geo. N  Saegmuller  Washn D. C.

 

1403

Beveled Limb Mining Transit

 

Geo. N  Saegmuller  Washn D. C.

 

1656

Beveled Limb "12 inch telescope"

 

Bausch & Lomb Optical Co / 11324

 

11324

Serial number locations on some Fauth & Saegmuller instruments.

Click on image to enlarge.
Possible Location On A Transit
Fauth Serial Number Location
Possible Location On A Transit
Fauith-Saegmuller Serial Number Location