May 28, 1923, Douglas Llewellyn
Parkhurst entered the Coast & Geodetic Survey
as Chief of the Instrument Division. Born in Amherst, N. H.,
and graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he served
with the Bosch Magneto Co., the War Department and the Bureau
of Standards, bringing to this Bureau the true Yankee heritage
of thrift, shrewdness, ingenuity and foresight as evidenced
by the variety of precision instruments he has developed or
improved during his 20 years in the Bureau.
One of his instruments which is familiar to
all who heard the lectures, is the Parkhurst Theodolite used
in carrying on triangulation. This instrument is not only easy
to operate, but is light and sufficiently rugged to meet all
field conditions as well as give results of the desired accuracy.
The vertical Collimator used for centering the theodolite and
signal lamps in Coast Survey work were also improved by him
as well as the geodetic level and rod. The standard tide gage
now used at all the primary tide stations was developed and
improved from an old basic model and has resulted in a more
workable instrument, easier to adjust, with better accuracy
and greater dependability. Other instruments in which he has
been the guiding factor are the sounding engraving machine,
planetable alidade and seismograph recorder.
One of his latest devices is a detaching instrument
for deep sea anchors used in connection with taut wire traverse
in deep water. Heretofore, the anchor could not be readily detached
and often resulted in breaking the wire.
Mr. Parkhurst also patented an electric time
switch, hand grenade and a liquid sampling device for automatically
trapping samples of sea water at any depth.
In his lighter moments, Mr. Parkhurst has many
hobbies. Up to the present he has been an ardent fisherman and
only the lack of “gas” prevents him from getting
a crowd together every week for several hours of ardent “rod
and reel” work. Not only can he boast about the many that
got away, but he’s got proof of a few of his tall tales,
as he caught a 62 ½ lb. channel bass at Wachapreague,
Va., making him one of the national prize winners for that year.
This is one of his brighter fishing moments.
Bowling comes in for the proper share of his
attention and he was one of the original founders of the bowling
league – howsomever the Instrument Team is usually in
As Block Warden in the Bethesda Civilian Defense
Organization, he pays strict attention to his duties and woe
betide the unfortunate who went to the movies and left his light
burning during an air-raid. Not only is it a violation of the
regulations, but the waste of all electricity is a blow to one
with thrifty instincts and a Scotch heritage.
Lest he be tempted to spend money unwisely,
he carries all loose change in a pocketbook; thus making it
more unhandy to get at and also to give him a chance to reflect
on the wisdom of his purchase.
Right now all his efforts are devoted to his
Victory Garden in which he raises everything from soup to nuts
– and we understand he is growing his own peanuts this
year. Not only will they provide fuel oil and fodder, but when
his friends go on picnics, he’ll provide the nuts ---
at a price.
Mr. Parkhurst’s loyalty to the Bureau
can always be depended on whether it’s to perfect some
new instrument for making the work a little more accurate and
precise – or some recreational activity for his fellow
workers – it’s all in a day’s work to “Scotty.”
“The Buzzard,” Vol X, no. 24, pp. 1-2. June 17,