Reading water meters is made more
difficult in that some are not read frequently and so they get hidden
by weeds, dirt blown by the wind, etc. In order to make finding
them easier a number of products were developed, the Aqua Locator is
one of them. This product is not a "water witching" device but
rather a magnetic dip needle that's optimized for locating ferrous
metal in the ground, like a water meter, but can be used for finding
any ferrous metal that's relatively near the surface. It's a
compass that works on the up-down part of the field (which is stronger
than the horizontal field in most of North America).
I don't have a manual for this
instrument, if you do please contact
When the instrument is turned face up it acts like a conventional
azimuth compass, except the window only displays the cardinal
directions NW - N - NE, but by turning the case you can get the Red end
of the needle to point North. Then the Aqua Locator is held a few
inches off the ground using the carry strap and is oriented with the
North arrow on the case pointing North.
Now maintaining the North direction slowly move the locator over the
area where ferrous metal might be located and look down at the image of
the needle in the 45 degree mirror. When over ferrous metal the
needle will move to a vertical position.
When I brought the locator over a metal stake that was driven into the
ground with a sledge hammer the needle flipped over, i.e. instead of
seeing the Red end the Black end was pointing up! The stake
probably was made into a magnet when pounded into the ground.
Sam Poon was kind enough to send the instructions and here they are (less an image of the locator):
for use of
The following is a series
of steps in the use of the Aqua Magnetic Locator. Please follow them carefully
for 100% satisfaction:
Open flap on leather case. (Instrument need not be removed from case.) Turn
on its side, bottom of case toward you,
NW, N, NE dial level. In this position, your
AQUA is a compass. Point dial portion
north until red end of needle points exactly at
"N". You now have true north
2. Turn AQUA upright,
point gold arrow on leather case to "N", as was indicated
by instrument in step #1. (When leather case is very new, it is
helpful to fold
the flap down firmly so that it will remain in position when in
use, and not
obscure the dial.) Using carrying strap, lower instrument to
just a few inches
above ground, holding instrument carrying strap over four
fingers. Holding strap
by four fingers minimizes chances of instrument twisting out of
you walk. Be sure that "N" is still pointing north.
"walking" the instrument in parallel paths, about 12
to 15 inches apart,
until the red end of the needle dips and the black end of
the needle appears.
Find the point of maximum reading: that point at which black
end comes nearest
to "90" mark. At this point, walk at right angle to
former path, still keeping
instrument pointing toward north, until maximum reading is
found on right angle
path. This is the location of missing valve box or stake.
When object to be located is very deep in the ground, or
heavily covered, a full deflection
to "90" mark cannot be expected. In cases of
this kind, "70" or "75" may be the best reading obtainable.
In areas where there are high voltage overhead wires,
there is usually electrical disturbance,
which will cause the red end of the needle to show on dial. This does not
hamper location operations. When over the object, red end will disappear and
black end will appear on dial.
Where shrubbery or other obstructions prevent the strap
method of holding instrument, AQUA may be removed from its leather case and
metal rim pulled up and used as a
handle. However, whenever possible, keep AQUA in leather
case, as a protection
against possible damage from bumps and jolts.
THE AQUA SURVEY & INSTRUMENT CO.
7041-43 VINE STREET AT SEYMOUR CINCINNATI, OHIO 45216
PHONE: (513) 821-2514
AQUA MAGNETIC LOCATOR
LOCATES VALVE BOXES,
SURVEYOR'S STAKES, MANHOLE COVERS
AND OTHER CONCENTRATED FERROUS METAL OBJECTS.
Dec. 25, 1956, Christmas day the patent
office must have been working, US patent number 2775736
was granted with the assignee Aqua Survey & Instrument company,
Cincinnati, Ohio. the patent classes are: 324/260
33/345; 33/348; 116/303; 324/67; 324/156; 324/228; 324/326
These show up on eBay
from time to time.
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