- A -
Wm (William) AINSWORTH & SONS is a North-American company which
produced the BRUNTON type compass.
See in the LINKS the address of a website with a comprehensive
description of this manufacturer (in English).
(Askaniawerke AG) established on June 30,
1921 through the acquisition of the former Centralwerkstatt Dessau
subsidiary of DCGG) and Carl
Bamberg, Werkstätten für
Präzisionsmechanik und Optik,
The name was modified on February 4, 1938 and became Askania-Werke AG.
To avoid further destructions through allied bombing, a part of the
production was transferred to southern Germany (Lake Constance).
at right: a
contemporary watch (click for enlarged view).
- BERLIN (East Germany, GDR)
On January 1, 1948 the company's plants were declared
"propriety of the
people" and renamed VEB Askania Teltow. Until 1961
this plant produced material for the East-German Navy, among other
After the West-German company's part (Askania AG) took legal action to
the Internationalen Court, the East-German company was
renamed in 1954 VEB
Geräte- und Reglerwerke Teltow
- LAKE CONSTANCE (West Germany, southern border)
After WWII, a new company was established in the city of
Überlingen in 1947: Askania
Werke AG Bodensee
In 1954, the Perkin-Elmer Corporation (Norwalk, Connecticut, USA)
acquired the majority of the parts and the former AskAniA
three upper case A's) was replaced by three triangles
the new logo of Perkin Elmer GmbH, Überlingen.
After 1955, it was replaced by a new name, BODAN, which can be read on
French clock and watch maker. The Maison J. AURICOSTE (old
address: 10, rue la Boëtie, Paris) produces mainly clocks
for the navy but also luxury and pilots watches). It has been
existing since 1854.
- B -
Carl Bamberg was a German compass manufacturer in Friedenau near Berlin
at the beginning of the 19th century.
His compasses were built in ships and aircraft (s. logo at r.) during
World War I.
Johann Carl Wilhelm Anton Bamberg (12 July 1847 - 4 June 1892), whose
father had been a clock maker, was an apprentice with Zeiss Jena,
taught by Abbe.
- 1869-70, employee with Pistor & Martins.
- 1873, curator of scientific instruments for the Imperial Navy
He established his own company called Werkstätten
Präzisions-Mechanik und Optik
C. Bamberg died 1892 but his wife managed the company until 1904 when
his son Paul Bamberg joined, running Bamberg with Th. Ludewig.
Bamberg acquired the following companies :
- Otto Töpfer und Sohn in 1919;
- Hermann Wanschaff in 1922 and
- Hans Heele in 1923,
In 1921, he joined the Centralwerkstatt
forming the Askania Werke AG
(quoted from www.europa.com).
BARIGO BAROMETERFABRIK - German company founded 1926 with
facilities in Schwenningen. Produces mainly barometers.
British Company founded in London by Francis Barker
(1820 - Dec. 15, 1875) in 1846. Two years later, in 1848, he set up a
second company, Groves and Barker
- Mariners' Compass and Sundial Makers with his friend and former
co-apprentice Richard Groves and they traded from 16 Market Street,
Clerkenwell, London. Richard died in 1864 and about one year after his
& Barker was absorbed into the thriving F. Barker &
Son. F. Barker & Son also took over and incorporated the
& G Simms (where he and Richard Groves had learned their trade)
in 1855 once both the brothers had died.
The most common early
trademark used by F. Barker & Son was the triangular TRADE MARK
LONDON mark enclosing the marks B, & and S all superimposed.
After his death, the S was printed or punched turned to the left (see
picture at right).
In 1955, the firm's accountants Mr Leach and Mr. Pearson took it over
Pyser-SGI Limited of Edenbridge, Kent, England is the current
flag-bearer of the Francis Barker trademark.
Read the full story on the website
Former French company. The shop was located 89, rue
d'Hauteville - 75010 Paris. The company was created in 1958 and closed
on June 4, 1998. Picture at right: Entry in the "annuaire (c.1980)
Général de l'Optique et des Instruments de
BURNAT was created in 1947 when Mr Burnat acquired the company (name ?)
created in 1905 by Mr Chatelain.
Products (among others): dry and fluid dampened
pocket, underwater compasses and (wrist?) compasses for
catalogue of map readers for the year 1925
numerous models in all European and British/US measuring
units, one with a tiny
compass in the pendant
French ships' compass manufacturer. The company was founded in
Marseille in 1826. In the 1950's, the name and address were
Etablissements Bianchetti Charles et Cie, 57, rue F. et R.
Guidicelli, Endoume/Marseille 7e.
The name was changed to Bianchetti Electronique
Nautique in 1962. BEN was acquired by in 1992. The name was changed to
AMESYS in 2007.
Bendix Aviation Corporation, Baltimore, MD USA
The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this
Company. Your help is welcome. This company is kindly invited to
contact the museum's curator.
Johann Ritter (Knight
Bézard (b. 5.5.1871 in Przyborów, district of
Poland - d. after 1939) was an officer serving with the
Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army (comprehensive
incl. military career available).
He designed the famous compass named after him (see THE BÉZARD
F. W. Breithaupt & Sohn (Kassel) is an old German company with
a long tradition which delivered many compass types to the industry
(mines) and the armies. It was created in 1767 by Johann Christian
Breithaupt (born 23 June 1736, died in 1800). He was later designated
Hofmechanikus (chief engineer) of Landgraf Friedrich IInd of
Hesse-Cassel in 1768.
J. BROWN, 76 St. Vincent Street - GLASGOW (no other info
available). Bought compasses most probably made by F. BARKER and sold
them under his name.
AG is a Swiss maufacturer located Kramgasse
25, Berne. It was created in 1871 by Adam Friedrich
Büchi*. The products scope was very large and covered
fine mechanical and
optical instruments like microscopes, mono and binoculars etc. (see advert. at r.)
The Swiss Army was a major client (see Levels / sitometres
The company always remained a family business and only the name changed
in course of successions.
Chronology of the names and address changes:
1871–1900: Fr. Büchi Optiker,
1900–1929: F. Büchi & Sohn (Fritz /
Optisch-mechanische Werkstätte, Spitalgasse 34
1929–1933: E. F. Büchi Söhne
(Fritz Max + Hans Eduard) Optische Werkstätte,
1933–1972: Hans Büchi (1904-1985), Spitalgasse 18
1972–today: Büchi Optik AG, Head: M. Alfred Elmer,
25 (2008: shop for precision mechanical parts closed down)
Source: the company's booklet printed on the occasion of
the 100th anniversary (1971) and own research work.
(click on the image for enlarged view and photos of his successors)
Former German company located in Rathenow (north-west of
Berlin). The BUSCH compasses were manufactured only during a limited
period in a large company that mainly produced optical instruments.
This company had been founded around 1800 by a preacher called Johann
Heinrich August DUNCKER to make spectacles glasses. He transmitted the
company in 1824 to his son Eduard DUNCKER. The latter having no
children, he gave to his nephew Emil BUSCH in 1845 the company that was
called in the meantime "Optische Industrie-Anstalt, Rathenow". E. BUSCH
had joined the company five years before after having studied optics
and commerce. He sold the company on October 22, 1872 to a limited
company. It was then renamed "Rathenower Optische Industrieanstalt
(former Emil Busch) AG" and he became one of the directors. The name
changed again on August 14, 1908 and was then "Emil Busch AG Optische
During WW II, the company's code name was cxn
After WW II, Busch built no compasses more. The factory situated in the
soviet occupation zone was renamed from 1946 on "Rathenower Optische
Werke GmbH" and from 1948 on "VEB Rathenower Optische Werke (ROW)"
(VEB: see abbreviations list in MISCELLANEOUS / terminology). It became
later part of the company "VEB Carl Zeiss Jena" in the former
At the same time, the owner founded a parallel company in
Göttingen (West-Germany) in 1949 and the name changed again in
1953 to become "Emil Busch GmbH, Göttingen".
Busch ceased to exist in ... ?
- C -
US-Manufacturer (see its own website)
An Italian immigrant called Cesare Tagliabue set up in business in 1790
in London (Holborn). He was very successful, delivering all sorts of
measuring instruments (mainly thermometers) in many countries, and
moved in the late 1820's to Hatton Garden. Some time later,
his son-in-law Louis Pascal Casella joined the business which was then
renamed Tagliabue & Casella. After the founder's death in 1897
only Casella's name remained. The business was taken over by his two
sons Louis Marino and Charles Frederick. The very successful firm moved
again to Holborn Bars in the late 1880's but had to go back to a
smaller shop in 1905 as competition aroused.
Two world wars later, Casella was owned by a holding company. Casella's
catalogue was very comprehensive and civered all types of compasses
(nautical, survey etc.)
The company's department Casella Measurement (UK) was purchased in 2006
by Ideal Industries of Illinois (IL).
Read the rest on the company's website www.casellausa.com
NOTE: This profile is based on different sources : the existing
company's history on its website, the book "Precision Makers a History
of the Instruments Industry in Britain and France 1870 1939 (Lancaster
Pamphlets)" by Mari E. W. Williams.
Pierre CHAIX: inventor an manufacturer of survey compasses. Former
designation of TOPOCHAIX
Chinese company (Union Instrument Factory).
(The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this
company. Your help is welcome.
This company is kindly invited to contact the Museum.)
The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this
company. Your help is welcome. This company is kindly invited to
contact the museum's curator.
Osborne Creagh-Osborne (1867/1943) was
Superintendent of Compasses with the British Admiralty and inventor.
His various developments were built by H. Hughes & Son Ltd,
Dent & Co & Johnson Ltd, Sperry etc.
- D -
Guillaume DELCROIX (click
at left for enlarged view
was a French
officer. He was born 6.6.1854 in Arras (France) and died probably 1925.
He attended the French Military Academy (Ecole Spéciale
Militaire) from 1874 on and enlisted. He served as a sous-lieutenant in
Etrangère (1876) and as a lieutenant in a Zouave Regiment
(1880). He was then Captain in an Infantry Regiment (1886),
topographical missions in several African countries. Appointed
Professeur adjoint de topographie in 1888, he taught survey techniques
at the Ecole Spéciale Militaire and served in Africa within
the geographical Corps of the French Army. He was wounded in 1890. He
patented a first compass in 1892 (no. 224.290, see Survey compasses)
and designed a marching compass two years later (see in Marching
compasses and entry Boussole
). In 1896 he
served in Madagascar (mapping missions)
and was appointed
Commander (Chef de bataillon) in 1897, retiring in 1910. He was bearer
of numerous French and Foreign distinctions.
NOTE: The Compass Museum was granted access to his comprehensive career
records - for copies pls. contact the Curator.
Former French company created in 1858 by Isidore Demaria. The original
name was D.M.R. and the address 2, rue du Canal
St-Martin (Paris). The name was changed in Demaria et Fils
(when the elder son Jules joined the company)
in 1893 and in Demaria Frères (brothers Jules and Paul) in
The name Demaria-Lapierre was the result of the merger with
Lapierre* in 1908:
Société anonyme des
établissements D-L. Fabrique d'appareils et accessoires pour
photographie et la projection
Address: 133, boulevard Davout, Paris 20e.
*Edouard Virgile LAPIERRE (created in 1848 by Auguste
Merger with (Etienne) MOLLIER in 1930 (which had been existing
since the early 20th c.).
Jules Demaria died Mai 10, 1950, aged 84.
D.-L. produced the famous compass type called Modèle 1922
(1812-1895 - see WIKIPEDIA) of Birmingham UK manufactured watch cases
from late 1874 at 24
Villa Road, Handsworth UK. As part of the war effort he diversified
into compass cases. He was originally the Managing Director of the
American Waltham Watch Company in the USA, where he made the very first
watch with interchangeable parts and produced watches of Railway
quality. He was known as the ‘Founding
Father of the
American Watch Making Industry
"Eugene Dietzgen was born in Uckerrath, Germany on May 6, 1862. He died
in Chicago on December 1, 1929. He came to America in 1880. The company
was founded on November 13, 1885 under the name of Luhring &
Dietzgen. This partnership was succeeded by Eugene Dietzgen &
in 1891. Successor corporation under the name of Eugene Dietzgen Co. of
Illinois occured on February 3, 1893 and the present corporate company,
Eugene Dietzgen Co. of Delaware was incorporated in Delaware on October
Smart, Charles E. The
Makers Of Surveying
Instruments In America Since 1700
York: Regal Art Press. 1962
Former French manufacturer, mainly of nautical compasses (no
other information momentarily available).
Former British instruments manufacturer located in London. Peter
Dollond created his company in 1750 (located Hatton Garden, LONDON).
merged with Aitchison in 1927 (D & A). Both were later
integrated into ESSILOR.
Read the full story on
own Web site
- E -
German company, founded on November 14, 1913 by Josef
Eschenbach. Long before World War II, Eschenbach was already an
important company selling optical and drafting materiel. Eschenbach
acquired WILKIE on January 1st, 1976. In 2005, the compass production
was sold to K&R (see
under these company names).
- F -
information and photographs were personally communicated by Mr. Fee's AND
grandsons. For legal reasons we cannot endorse any responsibility
concerning the commercial judgements expressed below.)
Former US company located 2210 Wabansia Ave. Chicago, Illinois.
Richard Fee founded Fee & Stemwedel in 1930 with Al Stemwedel
and Howard Taylor (not related to the famous TAYLOR company). Beginning
with barometers, they made weather instruments for home and office.
With the advent of WWII they contracted with the US Navy to produce
various ship instruments and spyglasses. By the time of the Korean War
(1953) the company landed a defense contract to provide
hand-held lensatic and wrist compasses to the U.S. Military.
Production and sales of a variety of barometers and thermometers for
the consumer market continued. Because of the quality of the consumer
products they were able to sell exclusively through Marshall Fields (see
) in Chicago. There
was a dispute between Mr.
Mr. Fee over quality vs. mass marketing which led to Mr. Fee selling
his interest to Mr. Stemwedel and retiring in 1952 (year indicated by Mr.
lowered quality to expand production and lost the Marshall Fields
In 1956 (year
by Mr. Stemwedel's grandson
Fee sold his interest in Fee & Stemwedel to Al Stemwedel, who
subsequently changed the firm's name to Airguide Instrument Co.
"Airguide" had been the company's primary trade name almost from the
Throughout most of its history, Airguide was a highly successful
company, but in the 1970s increasing foreign competition began to take
its toll. In 1976, beleaguered by excessive inventory, Al Stemwedel
began seeking a buyer for Airguide. In 1980, after filing for Chapter
11 protection, Airguide was sold to Johnson Worldwide Associates (JWA)
of Racine, WI, a branch of the Johnson Wax family of companies. After
the sale, Al Stemwedel stayed on as a consultant for a few years.
The associates in Chicago (ca. in 1940):
Fee (r.) and Stemwedel (l.)
Richard L. Fee
The company's premises
(click for enlarged view)
NOTE: Marshall Field's is an historic Chicago, Illinois department
store Founded 1852
(for more details see
situated in Freiberg (Saxony). Sept. 2, 1771 - Gottlieb
Friedrich Schubert is appointed Bergmechanikus
(engineer for mine techniques) by the Prince of Saxony and creates a
manufacture of instruments for the mine industry.
In 1859, a mechanics called Schramm takes a share in the company and
provides his shops in the street called Hainichener-Strasse.
Until End of WWII, the company provides also compasses to different
retailers (among others Wichmann).
May 8, 1945 – The Red Army takes over production
Oct. 28, 1950 – The state owned company VEB Freiberger
Präzisionsmechanik is created
1990 – End of communism: transformation in a limited company
1993 – Privatisation
Sept. 13, 1994 – The limited company expires.
Oct. 1st, 1994 – FPM Holding GmbH is created.
Poster of the production scope
of recreational compasses in the 1980s
Its name changed several times during its history. This company
delivered numerous types of compasses to the industry (mines) and to
the police and armies of the former GDR.
The different names of the company since its creation:
- Hildebrand - Wichmann
- VEB Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik
- Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik GmbH
- FPM Holding GmbH
Rudolf FUESS (1838-1917) founded in 1865 a company for scientific and
technical precision measuring
technische Präzisions- Messinstrumente)
Berlin/Steglitz. He was followed in 1913 by his son Paul Fuess
(1867-1944) The company disappeared in 1945.
- G -
(Cited after the Fundacja Kosciuszki's website - see LINKS)
Former German company for measuring and drawing instruments (Fabryka
Instrumentów Geodezyjnych i Rysunkowych G. Gerlach) which
had been existing in Warsaw (4, Ossolińskich street)
This company won in 1933 a tender for procurement of 4285 marching
compasses for the Polish Armed Forces with a model called M.K. 32 (and
later K.M. 32) after its inventor's initials, Colonel Mikołaj
born March 24, 1890.
It is also known in Poland as the „Kulwieć
J.M. Glauser & Sons
Ltd. was a British
manufacturer. They were contractors to the War Office, Air
Ministry, Government of India, amongst others.
The company was established
in 1929 by Jean Maurice Glauser,
a Naturalized British subject of Swiss origin.
In 1938/39, due to the
expansion in business, the
company bought the old St. James's Laundry in Bensham Manor Road,
Thornton Heath, Surrey, and set up a new works (Bridge
Buildings). A couple of years later, the company also took
over the lease of shops at 349-351 Whitehorse Road, Croydon, where they
set up their Head Office.
J.M. Glauser & Sons'
scope of production also
included equipment such as Braillewriters for the Royal National
Institute for the Blind.
was wound up in 1956 when the
(Definition after WIKIPEDIA)
William Gurley (1821–1887) studied civil engineering at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, worked for Oscar Hanks, a surveying
instrument maker in Troy, New York, and then went into partnership with
Jonas H. Phelps, another local instrument maker. Lewis Ephraim Gurley
(1826–1897) worked for Phelps & Gurley, earned a B.A.
from Union College, and then rejoined the firm. The Gurley brothers
took over the firm in 1852, began trading as W. & L. E. Gurley,
and were soon the largest manufacturer of engineering and surveying
instruments in the United States. Several factors contributed to their
success. They established a factory rather than a craft workshop,
practiced a strict division of labor, hired workers who were relatively
unskilled, advertised widely, and offered instruments at competitive
prices. Their Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American
Engineering and Surveying, published from 1855 to 1921, was a catalog
of their instruments and an intelligent explanation of how they were to
The design of Gurley instruments remained remarkably stable for many
years, making it difficult to determine the date of a particular
instrument. But there are some important clues. Since the signatures on
the early Gurley instruments were cut by hand, the letters have
V-shaped trenches, and their lines are of varying width. By contrast,
the signatures on Gurley instruments made after 1876 were done with an
engraving machine, and thus have lines with vertical walls and uniform
width. The Gurleys introduced serial numbers in 1908, with the first
digits indicating the year of manufacture, and the latter digits
indicating production rate. Thus, transit #9296 was the 296th Gurley
instrument made in 1909. W. & L. E. Gurley was incorporated in
1900, with all the stock held by the family. Teledyne purchased the
firm in 1968, began trading as Teledyne-Gurley, and phased out the
production of surveying instruments soon thereafter.
- H -
PROFILE - This manufacturer is not associated with
Hamilton Standard, a
U.S. Company created in the 1920's by Thomas Foster Hamilton (July 28,
– August 12, 1969) who was a pioneering aviator and the
of this company.
John E. (Enos) HAND & Sons was a U.S. compass manufacturer. The
company was founded in 1873 in Philadelphia and eventually sold to
California-based Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation in 1997.
Swiss Army Watch
(SAW Co S.A.) was founded in 1993. The
successor companies created in 2001 were HOROSWISS
S.A. and SWISS TREK WATCH Sarl, all located
in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, home of the most famous watch
makers. HOROSWISS' CEO Michaël Vrolixs
belongs to the fourth generation of a watchmaker family. In
HOROSWISS acquired the exclusive
and international rights to produce and market the compass
successfully developed by Mr Hubert Zwahlen, a well-known Swiss
engineer. These successful compass watches feature an absolutely
design adopted by several famous brands (see the HERMES
and IWC Porsche designs in our COMPASS
department), an ingeniously integrated antimagnetic case and a
compass, a genuine precision instrument tested by the Swiss Federal
Metrology. The larger and lighter dry compass model also is a
valuable match for hikers. The compass watch was also tested by
military pilots in
Switzerland and is recommended by COMPASSIPEDIA.
French company located in the Marais district in Paris
(rue Neuve Saint-Martin, now rue N.-D. de Nazareth).
original workshop was created in 1826 by Louis
Toussaint TOURLY (1802-1869), jeweller, manufacturing compasses and
equipment from about 1870 on after it was taken over
by Henri Isidore HOULLIOT (portrait
, his son-in-law (gendre
in French, see pic. of a modified letter
latter's son Albert
(link to pict.)
had a sister whose son Charles
(link to pict., b. in Paris 19/06/1902, d. in
03/11/1990) joined the company in 1922. He designed the
modified version of the Modèle
with mirror, transparent
capsule and slide-in conversion table
(registered in 1934). Albert Houlliot died
in 1940 w/o direct heirs and his wife Marie née Maynard died
was the unnamed manufacturer
sold by major French companies
like Société des
Lunetiers (S-L), Vion, Secrétan, Topochaix, Huet, LAT (Les
Topographiques), Morin etc. but he also exported his products in
the whole world (USA, Russia, Goerz and LUFFT in Germany).
at r.: Part of the workshop in 1918
Charles Collignon was a soldier at this time (WWII) and he
parts of Marie's heirs (nephews) in the company only after the war. The
name was then
changed to société
(see logo, picture at left) in May 1946. His son Michel
(link to pict., born
joined him in the late 1950s and
became head of the company in the late 1960s.
Compass production ended in
Collignon-Houlliot was the official supplier of the French explorer
polar regions Paul Emile VICTOR. A French archeologist also used in
Egypt when the Asswan dam was built, a compass made by this company to
search the ground for concealed caves / graves via magnetic
and pics. communicated
by Mr Michel Collignon)
W. Hunter was a N.Y. based optician and mathematical
instruments maker. He patented a black and white dry card compass dial
on May 6, 1862 (no. 35156, see drawing at r. - click on the image for a
the patent's full page
similar to SINGER
one year before patented design. You will find more information in the
- I -
Romanian manufacturer of optical instruments
IOR was established in 1936 and it has been the sole Romanian company
with a famous tradition in designing and performing opto-mechanical
apparatus. In 1941 IOR was militarized and, therefore, it preeminently
produced products for the army (binoculars, telescopes, telemeters,
etc.). After 1949, the first eyeglasses lenses were produced, then, in
1951 the first didactic microscopes and, in 1954 the first photo
apparatus. After 1959, more attention was given to the medical area and
so, appeared the first products for ophtalmology. Also, in that period
started the production of cinematographic projection apparatus. In
1960, IOR produced the first binocular laboratory microscopes, in 1961
the first dental units, in 1962 the first research microscopes and in
1967 we began to produce photo objectives. Our company have started the
cooperation with firms, such as FOG or PENTACON and, afterwards, with
LEITZ, C. ZEISS, SCHNEIDER, etc. After 1980s there have appeared new
ranges, as opto-electronics, lasers, metrology, thermovision with
- J -
(Partly cited after the Fundacja Kosciuszki's website - see
Former Polish company (Warsaw) that built in the 1930's as a successor
of G. GERLACH (see above) the marching compass model called K.M. 32
after its inventor's initials, Colonel Mikołaj Kulwieć, born
1890 which is also known in Poland as the „Kulwieć
- K -
was a British scientist
(Bristol Apr. 16, 1777, London Apr.
26, 1835 - see WIKIPEDIA). He is considered
as the real inventor of the prismatic compass. Prototypes
and a small series were built in the following years by Thomas
Jones. His idea was patented in the following year by Schmalcalder
who designed an
enhanced system with a prism. Read his biography on the Sydney University Museums
KEARFOTT is a North American company (1150 McBride Avenue,
Little Falls, New Jersey 07424-2500 USA).
Kearfott was founded in 1917 as The Kearfott Company Inc., becoming the
Kearfott Division of the General Precision Equipment Corporation in
1955 and then, in 1968, the Kearfott Division of Singer Business
In 1987 Singer split Kearfott; the Kearfott Guidance &
Navigation division was sold to the Astronautics Corporation of America
in 1988, and the Electronic Systems Division was purchased by
GEC-Marconi in 1990 and renamed GEC-Marconi Electronic Systems
Famous physicist - See WIKIPEDIA and also the following link: KELVIN's
KERN - Former Swiss company located in Aarau and created in 1819
by Jakob KERN (Aug. 17, 1790 - Febr. 4, 1867).
Read the full story in English on the following website:
of the logos
Former US company (Cited after the New Jersey Historical Society)
Wilhelm Johann Diedrich Keuffel and Herman Esser were partners in the
firm of Keuffel & Esser which was founded in July 1867 at 79
Nassau St. Manhattan. They were two German immigrants, who were
importers and jobbers of drawing materials and mathematical and
Keuffel (1838-1908), born in Walbeck (Rhineland, Germany) and was
employed in the hardware business in Germany and Birmingham, England,
prior to his immigration to Hoboken, NJ, in 1866. The next year he
joined with Herman Esser (1845-1908) who was originally from
Wuppertal-Elbertfeld. In 1875, the firm was incorporated as Keuffel
& Esser Company (also known as K & E) and moved from
Manhattan to Third and Grand Street in Hoboken, New Jersey. Wilhelm J.
D. Keuffel died in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1908. Herman Esser retired
from Keuffel & Esser Co. in 1902. He was back in Bad Godesberg
(near Bonn, Rhine River, Germany) in April of 1902 and died there in
In the coming decades, Keuffel & Esser began to expand, opening
showrooms, offices and new factories in New York, New Jersey, Chicago,
St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, and Montreal. They first
manufactured surveying instruments in 1885 and introduced an innovative
new line of surveying equipment in the 1890s. The company's first
product was hard rubber curves and triangles. Later products included
drafting paper, surveying instruments, and drafting aids such as slide
rules. Keuffel & Esser held patents for a wide range of slide
rule features, including improved cursor indicators, functions and
scales, and the adjustable body mechanism. The company was so
successful that in 1965 it went public on NASDAQ. However, in the
coming years, rapid changes in technology including the development of
calculators, CAD systems and laser surveying systems, had a detrimental
effect on Keuffel & Esser, which shrank drastically after 1972.
In 1982 Keuffel & Esser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and
eventually was bought out by several companies including Cubic
Precision (acquired in 1997 by BRUNSON) or Azon
Corporation. Currently, Azon Corporation owns the Keuffel &
Esser name and trademarks.
Max KOHL AG (Adorferstr. 20 in Chemnitz) was a German company
established 1908. It produced mainly instruments for schools and
universities laboratories as well as measuring equipment for fabric
manufacturers (notice issued by the Leipzig stock exchange). Its code
during WW II was "hap".
German company located in Uttenreuth, near Erlangen, in Franconia
(Northern Bavaria). It was established 1920 and specialised in
precision measuring instruments. K&R concentrates the
know-how of other famous
German compass makers who had precedently merged i.e. KÜHRT,
PASTO and WILKIE. K&R acquired from ESCHENBACH in 2005
the compass production of
the famous WILKIE company, which the latter had taken over in 1976.
KRÖPLIN is a German company. It was established a first time
in 1883 by Heinrich Carl KRÖPLIN (02.05.1859 - 16.09.1945) in
Bützow, (Northern Germany, near Rostock) in the former Grand
Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. H. C. Kröplin had learnt clock
manufacturing in Switzerland and France and manufactured measuring
instruments, (spherometres for the optics industry, barometres etc.) in
his own small factory. His heirs (son and son-in-law) were dispossessed
of their property after the war in 1948 under the communist East-German
government and the company was deleted from the commercial register.
The family could flee to the West and re-founded KRÖPLIN in
1950 with new partners in Schlüchtern (Hesse, West-Germany).
CEO: Claus Werckmeister.
The brothers Hugo Kührt (b.
Ichtershausen / d. 07.02.1962 in Nuremberg) and Arno (b.
Ichtershausen / d. 04.08.1965 in Kipfenberg) were compassmaker in
Nürnberg (Germany) at the time of WW II. The compasses were
produced in Hugo' s twin's Otto shop. Ugo and Arno were granted a
in 1939 for the use of a
transparent plate with a grid in the compass. For more details please
read the exhaustive study
published (in German) by Frank Liebau on his website Die
Kompassmacher aus Nürnberg
(The Compass Makers of Nuremberg).
Polish officer (Colonel) who developed the compass called type M.K.32
(or K.M.32) after its initials
born March 24, 1890. The instrument is also known in Poland as
He had participated as a Captain in 1921 in a Polish officers' mission
in France (this being possibly a reason for the great resemblance with
the French Modèle 1922).
He had also worked from 1928 to 1930 for the Research Institute for
Military Materiel (Instytut
Badań Materiałów Uzbrojenia
participated in many assessment and acceptance commissions of such
materiel. In 1934, he was head of the Military Materiel Department
within the Polish War Ministry.
- L -
Former French company (69, rue Gambetta, Malakoff / Paris).
créée en 1880 dans
l'atelier de construction mécanique d'Amado Laguna
la fabrication d'équipements de topographie et de
assemblés à partir
d'éléments d'origine espagnole mais aussi
importés. En 1920 la raison sociale fut modifié
en S.A. Amado
Laguna de Rins et l'entreprise comptait déjà 150
employés et la
production fut largement diversifiée. Les commandes
quasi totalité du ministère de la Guerre. A
partir de 1962, Amado
Laguna de Rins, S.A., transformée en
société anonyme, travaillait
aussi pour l'industrie automobile. Amado
Laguna de Rins S.A. est une
entreprise essentiellement familliale dominée par deux
familles : Laguna de Rins and Almarza Laguna de Rins.
Former French company
Leupold is a U.S. company created in 1907 in Portland Oregan
under the name (Leupold & Voelpel) by the German
Friederich Leupold born in 1875 in with the financial
of his brother-in-law Adam Völpel. This one-man company
specialized on repairing measuring instruments. A partner
the company (John Cyprian Stevens) and the name was changed in 1914
Volpel & Co. because Voepel had changed his German
name at the
beginning of the 1st WW. After Adam Volpel's death in 1942 the
changed to Leupold & Stevens Instruments Company.
& adapted after
the website SURVEY
LIETZ (A. Lietz Co.) was a US compass manufacturer.
Its founder, Adolph Lietz, was born in Leubeck, Germany in 1860. He
immigrated to San Francisco in 1879 and worked in several scientific
instrument shops before opening his own business. Lietz purchased the
business of Carl Rahsskopff in 1880 and began his own business in 1882.
Lietz originally joint ventured with another maker, Gottlieb A.
Mauerhan, to form "Lietz and Mauerhan", a relationship that lasted for
about a year. Following Mauerhan's departure, Lietz paired up with
Conrad J. Weinmann who had previously worked for Carl Rahsskopff. The
company was renamed "A. Lietz & Co." and at that time produced
surveying instruments and related tools. The firm incorporated in 1892
under the name "The A. Lietz Company" and Weinmann possibly left at
about that time. In 1910 a complete line of drafting materials and
engineering equipment was added. In 1947, after 65 years of production,
the firm discontinued the manufacturing of surveying instruments. The
reason given was that it would be necessary and very costly to retool
in order to manufacture the types of modern instruments then being
marketed. Their business changed to being an importer and distributor.
In 1960 the company started handling the Umeco brand of surveying
instruments and then added instruments from Japan made by
Sokkisha. The Frank Paxton Company purchased the business in 1965 and
moved its headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri. The company name was
also changed to "The Lietz Company." Additional restructuring took
place during the early 1990's and the firm name was again changed, this
time to "Sokkia."
W. LUDOLPH GmbH & Co. KG (Bremerhaven) is a German company
manufacturing nautical and aeronautical compasses. The original company
was created in 1846 by W. Ihlder. In 1867, its name changed in W.
Ludolph Nautisches Institut. It was later transformed into a GmbH (Ltd.
in German law) in 1908 and in an AG (? German law) in 1920. LUDOLPH was
the first european company that could break the british monopoly on the
field of nautical compasses. At the very beginning of the 20th c., it
added aeronautical compasses to its portfolio and was in 1906 the first
German company to build compasses for the Zeppelin.
German company located near Stuttgart.
It was famous for having produced the Bézard marching
compass (see this category). It produced mainly (and nowadays only)
This company marketed also in the 1930s a wide range of pocket
compasses, which were probably manufactured by BUSCH.
- M -
Former Swiss company founded in 1937. Taken over in 1958 by SPECTROS
located Lohweg 25,
CH-4107 Ettingen. A plant was located in Péry near
St.-Imier (other logo: go to MERIDIAN
Read a short history HERE
The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any precise information about
this company. Your help is welcome. Please contact the curator.
(draft) Henri MORIN was the most important French company specialised
in compasses and all instruments for topographical use. It was created
in ... by ... (and was bought by / merged with ... ?).
Morin equipped the French armies and the industrie since the 19th c.
until it ceased its activities in ...?
- N -
maker (mostly marine chonometers). The company was
founded first in Le Locle by Ulisse NARDIN (1823-1876) in 1846.
He preferred for the company's name the spelling Ulysse NARDIN. He had
been trained by his father Léonard
Frédéric Nardin and by
Frédéric William Dubois (1811-1869). His son Paul
David Nardin entered the firm in 1875 and took over the direction
although only 21 at his father's sudden death one year later. He opened
a second shop and a sales office in Geneva in 1877. The company's name
was changed to Paul D. Nardin in 1886 but the products trade mark
remained Ulysse Nardin. Of Paul Nardin's four sons three joined him in
the firm: Ernest, Alfred (1904) and Gaston (1913), the fourth joined
DOXA. Paul died in 1920. NARDIN was integrated as a stock corporation
(société anonyme, S.A.) in 1923. During WWII,
they made watches for the US Corps of Engineers. By the 1950's,
Ernest's son and Gaston's son had joined the firm. NARDIN was
eventually taken over in 1979 by OGIVAL.
The firm Negretti and Zambra (active 1850 c. 1935) was a photographic
studio and producer of optical and scientific instruments like
It was based in London, England.
Henry Negretti and Joseph Zambra formed a partnership in 1850, thereby
founding the firm which would eventually be appointed optical
instrument makers to Prince Albert, the Royal Observatory and the
In 1855, various improvements show that as the demand for scientific
instruments increased Negretti and Zambra endeavoured to produce
suitable instruments to give satisfactory results under exacting
conditions. In the circumstances it was not surprising that the firm
received the Highest Awards at all the international Exhibitions at
which they showed their instruments.
During the 1914/1918 war the firm was almost entirely engaged on work
for the Ministry of Munitions on the production of various instruments.
When the war ended it was decided to give up the manufacture of all
optical instruments and to concentrate on the production and
development of Industrial and Aeronautical Instruments. In 1920 at the
request of the Air Ministry they produced and patented a Mercury in
Steel Distance Thermometer for taking Oil and Air Temperatures in
N & Z is rumored to be the finest producer of scientific
instruments in History.
(description courtesy resalevintageshop)
Former British manufacturer. NEWTON
& SON William worked
1841–1883, 66 Chancery Lane, London and 1851-1857, 3 Fleet
Street, Temple Bar, London. Related to NEWTON John, took over from
NEWTON & BERRY located 3 Fleet Street in London (1851-1857).
Swedish company. Produced in the 1930's (before SILVA?) a compass with
fluid dampened needle.
- P -
Former Italian watch manufacturer
Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897) opened in 1850 a small clock maker shop in
Florence, the first one at that time and moved in 1860 to the famous
address Ponte alle Grazie. Thanks to good contacts with the best
clockmakers in Switzerland he assembled high quality clocks and
repaired measuring instruments in his family shop.
His son Leon Francesco was his successor. Guido Panerai (1873-1934), a
nephew of Giovanni, gave new impulses to the company which became for a
long time official provider of the Royal Italian Navy.
In 1910, Panerai developed and patented a system intended to extend the
service life of radioluminescent compounds (he called it Radiomir) by
placing it in tiny glass tubes (example: see BARKER
From 1934 on, Guido's son Giuseppe developed various instruments for
the Italian Navy and in particular wrist compasses.
In 1972, after Giuseppe Panerai's death, Col. Dino Zei left the Navy to
take up the management of Guido Panerai e Figlio. In the same year he
established and became Sole Director of Officine Panerai S.r.l., which
took over all the activities and industrial capabilities of Guido
Panerai. He became Chairman of Officine Panerai S.p.A., until the watch
division and trademark were sold to Cartier and covered this position
for the Panerai Sistemi SpA until 1999, when the business was
transferred to the Bologna-based company Calzoni.
Former German company established in 1946,
successor of K. S. STOCKERT (see C. STOCKERT, manufacturer of
the "S"-marked compasses).
In the last catalogue (1971) Pasto wrote: "More than 100 years of
PASTO bought Kührt and built its only model but a little
and with many small design changes.
PASTO was bought by WILKIE on
December 31, 1972.
Général Paul Peigné was a French
officer (Paris 1841 – 1919). He studied at the famous
military school Polytechnique, fought in the French-German war 1870-71
and taught topography at the military school in Saint-Cyr (1873-76). He
was the initiator of several new military techniques like the
He designed this compass system but we couldn't find any patent number.
The earliest items bear the inscription 'System by Lieutenant-Colonel
PEIGNÉ' (for more details, see the French version).
French manufacturer of nautical compasses
- R -
Former swiss clock manufacturer. The full name was Record
Watch Co. S.A., Tramelan-Dessus, Genève, La Chaux de Fonds,
Les Pommerats, London
1903: Founded by a group with the purpose to aquire and realise the
patent of the Sector Watch, a triangular pocket watch with retrograde
1916: Merger with several companies under the name Record Dreadnought
Watch Co. S.A.
1949: The original name Record Watch Co. S.A. was registered again.
1961: Longines bought the majority interest in Record. The brand Record
continued to exist on some watches as Longines-Record.
1991: Record was closed.
Former Swiss company. It was created 1897 by Muller &
built watches. Production of compasses in pocket watch cases started
in 1914 in Bienne (Biel in German).
It became famous world wide for manufacturing the matchbox style
compass model called DP. The letter P ist definitively known to
designate a sighting compass (Peilkompass
German). The letter D may have been chosen to designate an alidade (Diopter
German) although this cannot be ascertained today.
Because of the unique design of this compass, the Museum of Modern Art
(MOMA) in New York selected it to add to its collections.
The former technical director and owner of Recta, an engineer called
invented this technical solution after he participated in
maneuvers with the Swiss army. This engineer also patented a locking
system for pocket watches crown stem (see Muller & Vaucher, M
V). He was disappointed by the compasses
utilized in those days which were complicated, fragile and got quickly
dirty. He proposed his now famous matchbox system in 1940 to the Swiss
Army managers and patented it in 1941. It was then immediately issued
RECTA developed two other series; DO (O for orienteering) and DS (S for
i.e. mirror in German). RECTA was acquired
by SUUNTO in 1996. As per January 01, 2009, all activities were
transferred to Vantaa, Finnland.
François RICHER (1743-1820) was a French specialist for
the divisions on measuring instruments. He created a company
...? (Survey materiel)
Rossignol (see pict. at left in 1915 - click to enlarge, born August
22, 1851 in Tournes, Ardennes, and died May 5, 1943 in
Châlons-sur-Marne) was a
French officer (Captain) and inventor, serving as chief weaponsmith
with the 106th 'régiment de Ligne' in
His father Jean-Baptiste Rossignol (1809-1895) was himself officer and
fire arms controller.
(Sources: Information partly delivered by the inventor's
grand-grand-son and collected during our own research work in the
French Army's archives).
He designed an improved military compass system (militaire
filed a patent in 1894 (no.
This instrument was still being offered by
Société des Lunetiers (S-L) in their 1932
catalogue (réf. 36180).
He invented several fire arms systems like automatic rifles (6 mm and
6.5 mm), a machine-gun and a device to free blocked ammunitions. For
these reasons and because of his successful missions in North Africa,
he received several distinctions like the 'médaille
militaire' and the 'médaille coloniale' for Tunisia). He was
furthermore Knight of the Légion d'Honneur.
- S -
Charles Augustus Schmalcalder was a German born optician and
mathematical instrument maker who had emigrated to England. He improved
a system invented
in 1811 by another British instrument maker of German descent,
which was called the 'mirror azimuth' or
'Kater compass'. This was a standard magnetic compass with an inclined
mirror and lenses attached to it.
The improved device was described in his patent (no. 3545 of March 5,
entitled Certain Improvements
in Mathematical Instruments
He replaced the mirror with a much more sturdy and durable right-angled
prism attached to the rear
sight; this prism could be positioned over the compass card's rim.
Accurate to a third of a degree, it quickly became popular with
surveyors and when Schmalcalder's patent expired it was widely copied
by the London optical instruments firms of William Cary, Throughton
& Simms etc.
(Sources - Title: The
Schmalcalders of London and
the Priddis Dial, Authors: Smith, J. A., Journal: R.A.S. CANADA.
JOURNAL V. 87, NO. 1/FEB, P. 4, 1993 - Bibliographic Code:
Picture at right: Patent,
figure (click to enlarge).
See example in this Museum: HERE
He was born on March 29, 1781, in Stuttgart (Germany) and christened on
Mar 31. His original name was Karl August Schmalkalder which he changed
when he came to England (around 1800?).
He filed a patent (no. 3000 of 22 December 1806) for a Delineator and
Tracing Device. He had a shop in Little Newport Street until 1808 when
he moved several times to The Strand, Tottenham, Borough Of Middlesex,
(Pancras) where he stayed until his retirement 1839. His son John
Thomas (born 1811) continued the business.
He married Charlotte Ann Cochran on May 24, 1804, in St Andrews,
Holburn, London, England, Nine Children. He died on December 25, 1843,
in Saint Martin In The Fields, Westminster, London, England at age 62
and is buried The Strand, Westminster Borough Of Middlesex, (Pancras).
Mr Peter WUISCHPARD (son of Jean M. Wuischpard) was kind enough to send
us the following information: "To
the best of my knowledge S&W was created some time in the
1920/1930's. It was terminated about 1963. It was located in
Manhattan (NY) in the block accross the street from the UN on the
seventeenth floor and was later moved to Woodside, NY. Compasses and
inclinometers were fabricated during the Second World War for the war
effort. During normal times watchcases were manufactured for Hamilton,
Elgin, Longines, Girard Perregaux, some Rolex, Patek Phillip and
importers. The principal owner was Alphonse Wuischpard, Louis
Wuischpard and later Milton Wuischpard. Max and Robert Schwab were
former partners and were bought out. Jean M. Wuischpard* was VP,
Director of Manufacturing for Schwab and Wuischpard of N.Y. from 1936
to 1963. He designed for Hamilton Watch Co., from 1963 to 1968, and he
was a senior stylist designer for Pulsar Time Computer. He served in
the Swiss military. Alphonse and Louis were the brothers of my
The Wuischpard family orginated in Geneva, Switzerland."
* Jean M. Wuischpard was born in Geneva. He died 91 years old on April
Former French company established by Marc François Louis
Secrétan (born in 1804 in Lausanne, Switzerland). He was
mathematics teacher to the Académie de Lausanne but moved to
Paris in 1844. In 1845, the company merged with Lerebours. The trade
name Lerebours et
until approximately 1880 and later. M. F. L. Secrétan became
head of Lerebours et Secrétan after Nicolas Marie Paymal
Lerebours (1807 - 1873), his associate's son and successor abandonned
business in 1855. Secrétan published catalogues under his
sole name after 1860. He died in 1867.
His son Auguste (1833 - 1874) resumed the business. After him came his
own cousin Georges Emmanuel Secrétan (1837 - 1906), then
Paul Victor Secrétan in the early 20th. c. At that time the
company was only a retailer (for Morin). George Prin, (successor of
Gautier) was bought by Secrétan in 1934.
Secrétan's business existed until late 1940's/early 1950's.
Although the name always existed, Secrétan had been
controlled by C. Eprey et Jacquelin since the 1920's. (Cited after:
Thomas Watling Short and William James Mason
founded ‘Short & Mason Ltd’ in 1875. Their
business address was
at 40 Hatton Gardens, London.
The company created apparently the MAGNAPOLE compass but was also a
retailer of precision instruments made by
famous manufacturers like F. BARKER & SON. The NY based
Taylor Companies and Short & Mason formed some sort of
partnership called TYCOS which is an acronym consisting of TY for
Taylor, COS for companies - or ...S for Short & Mason ?) just
before 1915, located
at the Aneroids works, Walthamstow, London E.7. For a
very short time period the Taylor compass line was produced in England
by Short & Mason. Around 1915-1918 the production
of the Taylor line was moved over to the US (Rochester N.Y.).
Siemens Halske was the name of a German company established in 1847 by
Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske called
Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske and located in
The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any further information about
this company. Your help is welcome. This company (or its successor) is
kindly invited to contact the museum's curator.
Swedish company founded in 1933 by the brothers Alvar and
(1911-1984) Kjellström together with Gunnar Tillander (born
May 13, 1904 - died 2000). Read the complete history in Wikipedia
(See also the obituary
in the New York Times
and this company's website: www.silva.se)
Samuel Berry SINGER was a British Navy captain. He invented the compass
rose design which was named after him (patent filed in 1861 - see also HUNTER's patent
His idea was to make it easier to distinguish the compass' rose
position in the dark by painting the northern half in black while
leaving the southern half blank. The compass card's material (mother of
pearl) would then reflect even faint light.
Examples : items made by F.
Barker & Son
, a marvelous
pocket compass in a gold
unsigned wrist compass
Read SINGER's complete story HERE
Below: Examples of compass cards as shown in the patent (copies
(Click on image for
Former French company. Owners in 1930: Pethe, Eparvier, Destribois et
Cie. Products: glasses and optical instruments. Address: 6 rue
Pastourelle Paris 6e
The old logo featured the letters S and L on either side of a
candelabra. The modernized version is simplified (see pictures at right
and on p. 1 of the 1907
This company had been created in 1849 through the cooperation of three
single shops (l'Association fraternelle des ouvriers lunetiers) which
existed until the late 1860's. It was renamed 'Essel' (pronounciation
of the abbreviation S-L) in (?) and was then a group of small parisian
In 1930, there were several plants in different French provinces.
One of the most important was
called La Compasserie
(the compass maker) and was
located in Ligny-en-Barrois (Lorraine). Here stood also two other ones:
and Le Moulin
Further plants : Mihiel and Cousances (Meuse) Montreuil sous Bois,
Morez (Jura), Longueville (Seine et Marne), Foncine le Bas (Jura).
There was also a shop in London, 56 Hatton Garden EC. This company
mergeed in 1972 with Silor, created in 1930, giving birth
to the Essilor group.
Former French manufacturer of optical material called
Société de Recherches et de Perfectionnements
Industriels. Later: imprimerie des Pays de Vilaine à Redon
: 7, rue Saint-Conwoïon
: The company SRPI was created in 1919 and
moved to the city of Redon en 1939 because of the coming War.
Production: optical materiel for the French Army and Navy. SRPI
produces later compasses together with MORIN.
W. F. STANLEY & Co. Ltd - Former British company founded in
1853 by William Ford Robinson Stanley (1829-1909). The first address
was Great Turnstile Holborn London. It
became part of the Sime Darby Group in 1977 and was liquidated in 1999.
The production of the G-150 compass was bought in
1999 by SIRS NAVIGATION Ltd.
Address of head office and works: Avery Hill Road, New Eltham, London
Business scope: manufacturers of mathematical, drafting, scientific and
(Partly quoted after http://www.mathsinstruments.me.uk/page43.html).
NOTE: The modern compass reproductions made of copper (e.g.
BRUNTON Transit compass) and signed STANLEY LONDON are made by another
company. We don't know of any relationship between this ancient company
and the existing retailer of reproductions (see BRUNTON). This company
kindly invited to contact us.
Former German manufacturer located in Munich (Müncen-Solln).
J.H. Steward Ltd was established in London, England in 1856. J.H.
Steward was the head optician of the company and had businesses at 406
and 66 Strand and 54 Cornhill in London. In the mid 1800s he became the
optician to Her Majesty's Government and the National Rifle, and
National Artillery Associations.
The production scope was very broad (optical measuring and observation
instruments like telescope, sextants etc. - see also Sundials).
The company existed until the middle of the 20th century.
(References: Thomas Nicholas, Annals and antiquities of the counties
and county families of Wales, Oxford University Press, 1872). See W.
Verner's Pattern compasses.
German company located in Führt near Nuremberg (Bavaria)
in 1850 by Karl
Already ca. 100 years before, Ernst Christoph and Johann Paul(us)
STOCKERT signed sundials with compasses (diptychs). In the late 19th c.
there existed two separated companies owned by
different members (brothers?) of the Stockert family:
K. S. Stockert and C. Stockert & Sohn (whose logo was the
letter "S" in an elongated hexagone).
After WWII, K. Stockert was refounded under the name PASTO
The C. Stockert "S" company is still existing today and you can see the
production of high-quality pocket compasses on old machines in a
footage produced by the Bavarian television with the title Die
Kompassmacher von Fürth
(the compass makers of Fürth).
Suss Nandor (1848-1921) founded company "Suss Nandor fele Praecizios
Mechanikai Intezet" in 1900, headquarter on Alkotas utca, Budapest. The
company produced optical and geodetic devices. Later, in 1905 company
moved to Csorsz utca 39 to bigger buildings. Caused by finance problem
the company was transformed in 1918 to "Suss Nandor Praecizios
Mechanikai Rt." After his death by traffic accident in 1921 the origin
Hungarian development was inhibited. Company was renamed to "Suss
Nandor Praecizios Mechanikai es Optikai Intezet Rt." The company got
under ifluence of Carl Zeiss Jena and C.P. Goerz. Between 1926 and 1932
company produced radio models too. In 1934 company was renamed to
"Magyar Optikai Muvek Rt." In 1937 company produced some optical
devices for GB Army, during WW2 for German Army, for example some
tank`s optics. Between 1945-1952 under Soviet management, company was
in very poor situation. Since 1955 the production was growing up, since
1960 began production of laboratory equipment too. Since 1971 the
company joined to the computer technology too, they produced
peripheries for perforated tape and according to French licence
magnetic disk units too. The company was splitted up in 1990 to many
little companies. (source: www.Radiomuseum.org)
- T -
The Taylor Instrument Companies was a US manufacturer located in
Rochester, N.Y. Taylor and the British company Short & Mason
built a joint venture called TYCOS (acronym of their names' initials).
Taylor's success story began in 1851 when George Taylor and his partner
Kendall built thermometers in Rochester, selling them from their truck.
The company's name was changed in 1872 into Taylor Bros., later
incorporated in 1890. Taylor opened a sales office in New York city a
year later and acquired Short & Mason (London) in 1900 and
consolidated into its new building in 1906. Taylor Instruments
Companies (abbreviated TYCOS) was formed in 1907 consolidating
Former Yugoslavian company (Belgrad).
Teleoptik was the first Yugoslavian factory of telephony, optics and
fine mechanics, established in 1922 in Francuska Street 61 in Belgrade.
In 1928 it started with the production of aircraft instruments. Before
the start of the war, in 1940 the factory was relocated to Zemun in
Cara Duana Street 139-141. In 1985 a special-purpose part of the
factory separated under the name "TELEOPTIK ZIROSKOPI", which became in
1989 an independent enterprise. for production and overhaul of aircraft
equipment and instruments. Serbia sold on april 24, 2007, the insolvent
Optical Plant Teleoptik to Cyprus-based Fenderview Ltd. (It seems
Fenderview disappeared shortly after the deal).
located 29/31, rue de la Plaine (Paris) created in 1938 by Pierre Louis
Maurice CHAIX. See CHAIX
The Online Compass Museum wants to thank this company for repairing
free of charge our vintage CHAIX compasses.
(Pictures at right: the old and the new logo).
- V -
Eric Vaucher was a Swiss engineer who
invented the famous matchbox-shaped RECTA
Patent for Switzerland: no. 220.782 issued 16.10.1942
Patent for Germany: no. 878.562 issued 25.4.1942
Patent for the USA: no. 2.680.297, 1954
Further patents filed by inventors called VAUCHER (sons and grand-son
- Denis Maurice VAUCHER, wrist compass, 1975, no. 557.020 for
3.919.782 for the USA and no. 324.726 for Austria (see section Wrist
- Frank VAUCHER: compass / sundial watch, European Patent no. 452.757
(see the instrument made by LONGINES displayed in the section Compass
See also the Muller & Vaucher pocket compasses.
Verner was born in 1852 and died Jan.
25, 1922. He served on the staff in the Egyptian campaign of 1884-85
the Boer War. Military History:
Lt.: 18th Foot: Nov 1873
Rifle Brigade: May ‘74
Capt.: April ‘81
Maj.: Dec ‘91
Lt. Col.: Sept ‘96
Retired Half pay: May 1904
(Quotation courtesy Nick
Godrige and The
A certain type of British compass is called Verner's
after its designer's
name, Colonel William Verner
However, this pocket prismatic compass was apparently designed after he
published his famous
book 'Some Notes on Military
Topography', 127 p., publ. W.H. ALLEN &, Co. 1891 (Picture
at right, click on
view of some figs)
in which he
condems the then generally used large prismatic Schmalcalder compass
advocates instead the use of a small plane table and a pocket compass
for drawing military
Earlier Verner-signed compasses were simple pocket compasses (see
Steward). The true Verner's pattern is primarily a
downsized survey compass in a
hunter case. It is based on Charles Augustus Schmalcalder
patent where the front sighting vane was replaced by a thin line etched
in a glass window inserted in the hinged lid. It went through several
stages since the first model was produced at
the time the patent was filed. The first evolution of Schmalcalder's
design towards Verner's Pattern
was signed by F. Barker and featured a Singer's patent card.
The most common items (Mk
Mk VIII utilized during the first World War) are
although the oldest
one known (Mark III, 1887)
was a non prismatic system. The design of several British Army WW1
compasses (many of them were
in Switzerland) is based on this system.
The early developments are thoroughly described in the website
A fac simile of the
original User Instructions can be ordered (click
to see a photograph of page
The ultimate version was a
Mk IX but it was no longer engraved VERNER'S PATTERN and was
immediately replaced by the technologically further developed prismatic
liquid-dampened Mk III built by F. Barker.
See the compasses made by the following manufacturers:
SOME OTHER PRISMATIC COMPASSES
Former French company established 1832 by Th. VION. He had two sons. A
company called VION Frères (Bros.) was present at the World
Exhibitions in 1878, 1889, 1893 and 1900. This company built optics
instruments. It was called in 1922 Etablissement E. Vion. In the
1930's, its address was 38, rue de Turenne, Paris.
(quoted after www.europa.com/~telscope/tsfrance.txt).
Eugène VION held patents for aircraft compasses in the
1930's and 1940's and manufactured these instruments mainly for the
The existing VION company (nautical compasses) bought this production
part of the old VION company. The aircraft and tanks compass division
was bought by SATORI (in 77 Clayes Souilly near Paris).
No other data available.
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(Quoted from WIKIPEDIA)
•1854 Aaron Dennison establishes in Waltham (Massachusetts)
the Waltham Improvement Company founded in 1850 together with Edvard
Howard and David Davis in
Roxbury (later to become Waltham Watch Company). In 100 years of
existence produced 40 million jeweled watches,
plus clocks, speedometers, compasses, time fuses for bombs and other
In U.S.A., the manufacturing of Waltham watches and watch parts ended
in 1957. Production was transferred to Switzerland, to Waltham
International SA, a company established for this purpose in 1954 by the
US parent company.
However, specialized clocks and chronographs for use in aircraft
control panels continued to be made in the Waltham factory under the
name of Waltham Precision Instruments Company until the company was
sold in 1994. The company is now based in Alabama as the Waltham
Aircraft Clock Corporation.
German manufacturer of measuring instruments and stationary. He was a
retailer of compasses built by several manufacturers.
Former name of a Swiss manufacturer located in Heerbrugg (now Vectronix
AG). It was created in 1921 by Heinrich WILD. In 1986, the company
merged with LEITZ (WILD Leitz Group) and in 1990 it beleoged to the
Leica Group. The new name has been existing since 2002.
Specialty : topographical and optical measuring instruments.
Former German company founded in 1954 in Fürth, near
Nürnberg. It bought PASTO in 1972 and was acquired in 1976 by
ESCHENBACH. The production of the WILKIE compasses was sold to K&R
WILKIE was one of the most important German wholesale compass
Franz WINTERER was an Austrian officer (grade indicated in
his pre-WWII books: lieutenant in 1930, captain in 1936).
He developed at least four different compass models. The models I and
II were for Survey and Military use (see this category). Smaller ones
are being described in the category Marching Compasses. Three are based
on his patent no. 117354 (Austria, see Marching Compasses), accepted
The production shop was the Werkstätte
MASCHINEN und APPARATEBAU Karl STADLER
in Vienna, XVth
district, Rosinagasse no. 9.
He wrote several books about handling maps and compasses. The last one
The company was established in New York in 1890 by Albert WITTNAUER
(1856-1908), a Swiss clockmaker.
The company produced watches, clocks and aircraft instruments and
merged with BULOVA in 2001
X - Y
(NO INFO AVAILABLE)
Former Irish manufaturers of scientific instruments.
The Yeates family business was established in the early
1790’s. The shop moved to 2 Grafton St, Dublin in 1827,
directly across the street from Trinity College. Stephen Mitchell
Yeates (born in 1832) took over in 1865 the business which his father
George Mitchell Yeates had raised him in. It became then Yeates
& Son "Instrument Makers and Opticians".
Stephen married and fathered 6 children but unfortunately he and his
wife only outlived one child. Stephen Mitchell Yeates ran the family
business from 1865 to 1901 when he died. Their business slogan was
recorded as ‘Instrument makers to the University’
and they claimed to specialize in scientific and educational
instruments. Some of the scientific instruments made by Yeates
& Son still exist today in Trinity College.
The company is thought to have operated until approximately 1922.
- Gloria Clifton's Directory of British - Scientific Instrument Makers
1550 - 1851
- Z -