- L -
PROFILE - Former French company: Constructeur des Instruments
Militaire, 69, rue Gambetta
late 19th C.
It was eventually bought by Doignon. (COMPASSIPEDIA
possess any information about this
company - your help is needed).
Below: the modernized round version (dated 1887) of the famous model
by the French général
The weekly magazine Revue
(RCM, iss. 8 Jan. 1888 - 3 p., copies available) states
that gén. Peigné had this compass
version made by
LADOIS. The article contains a
detailed description and a user
instruction (incl. 4 fig.). This compass was selected by the
Artillery school in Saint-Maixent.
Excerpt of the article de la RCM (click on image for
system and a
LADOIS also built the square wooden version and was a retailer
small pocket compasses.
PROFILE - Spanish manufacturer (located in Saragossa), created
in 1880 by Amado Laguna
der Rins. Produced precision instrumente.
Incorporated in 1920. The shares are hold by the family.
LAGUNA built in the 1930s a modernized version of the BÜCHI
(see this manufacturer's survey compasses).
See also this wooden case item
Portrait : Anthony
Lamb has history in London and was an apprentice to an instrument maker
there and then he got wrapped up in some not so good things and became
an accomplice to a very renowned burglar. He ended up getting caught
and was sentenced to transportation to the Colonies. He did his time
and became one of the first instrument makers in the Colonies. This
compass pre-dates the revolutionary war.
Lamb’s son was
very instrumental in the U.S. and actually served under General
Washington during the war.
(Click on images for enlarged views)
Dimensions: 15” long, 5 ¼” Compass
needle 4 ½”, Sighting vanes are 6” tall.
Weight: ca. 4 lbs.
Manufacturer's date: c. 1740
The Manufacturer's signature:
French company located 44, rue
Etienne DOLET - 94230
CACHAN created by the son of Secrétan's director. It was
later by MORIN and was then called first MORIN-SECRETAN and later SRPI
don't know more about this
company - your help is needed.
L.A.T. produced materiel for survey works. Picture of an advertisement
for survey materiel HERE
PROFILE - Charles Lavauzelle & Cie is a French company
stationary items). It was created in
1835 and was many years France's War Department's sole
supplier for maps,
official documents, specialized literature etc.
1 - Special ruler for distance assessment used by WW1 officers with
with Général Peigné
system and the ruler used together with the Bézard
compass. The tip was cut away by its user propably so that it fits into
a uniform's pocket closed with a flap. The ruler can still be used
since the top of the curve still matches the (missing) zero mark.
User instr. ("Précis
Topographie", by Col.
- (see descr. above)
- Dimensions: 150 x 30mm
- Map reading device: Gaumet-type
- British and Russian measuring units.
- The ruler featured a magnifying
glass at one end.
|2 - Special protractor
graduated in MILS. It was to be
with a compass called Boussole
Directrice (ex.: see MORIN, S-L).
Illustration: French War Dept. document on Compasses (Note
technique du Ministère de la Guerre)
PROFILE - British retailer. The Lawes Brothers started their
business in 1919. The Dacres Rabjohns started their business in 1922.
In 1936 they registered a joint marketing company called Associated
Drawing Materials and Equipment Ltd (Admel). In 1947 the Lawes
Brothers and Dacres Rabjohns merged to form Lawes Rabjohns Ltd and in
1964 Lawes Rabjohns Ltd was re-named Admel International Ltd
type surveyor's compass, i.e. with prism and alidade (see also F.
- Diameter: 86 mm
- Depth (closed, with lid): 30 mm
- Height (alidade upright): 100 mm
- Weight: 265 gr
The French company LEMAIRE (see the sections Wrist, Pocket and Marching
also among other instruments an artillery level called sitomètre
(see next entry).
This manufacturer is described in the section Marching Compasses.
Manufacturer unknown - Compass with clinometer.
Procedure for measuring an elevation angle: Holding the case tilted
sideways, sight at a feature through the pin-hole located under the
prism and past the hair in the vane. A bubble level located on a
graduated disc is visible via the mirror of a lift-up window. Rotate
via the serrated wheel the scale of degrees visible in the opening on
the opposite side until the bubble is levelled and read the angle
horizontal and the feature aimed at.
The side to side lines on the base plate, are
the same as those on military
can be aligned
with map grids.
(base-plate): 5.5" x 2.75"; Markings: Yds. 12 Ins
= 1 Mile; NOTE: the use of the inner scale in the window is not known.
The instruments in the next table are called sitomètre
in French and Sitometer
in Swiss German. The name
comes from the French expression for elevation angle which is called angle
while the azimuth angle
called angle de
level system called
Early system produced by the French companies HUET, LEMAIRE, MORIN
and SECRETAN from 1911 on until the 30's.
For techn. details see SECRETAN
level system called clisimètre
Early system produced by the French company MORIN in the 1930's
system called Sitometer
For details see BÜCHI
For details see GOERZ.
This system is called Abney level. It was designed by Sir William de
Wiveleslie Abney (born 24 July 1843 - died 3 Dec. 1920) and is
popular in England and the U.S.A.
Sir Abney was an English astronomer and chemist
best known for his pioneering of color photography and color vision.
Sir Abney invented this instrument under the employment of the School
of Military Engineering in Chatham, England in the 1870's. It is
described by W. & L. E. Gurley
(*) as an English modification
the Locke hand level, noting that it gives angles of elevation and is
also divided for slopes, as 1 to 2, 2 to 1, etc. Since the main tube of
this instrument is square, it can be applied to any plane surface. The
clinometer scale is graduated to degrees, and read by vernier to 10
The original Abney level did not have a compass. It was simply a type
of sextant for measuring vertical angles on land, not using the sun
– no filters. Until its invention clinometers were either
very bulky (sextants were used) or were not very accurate. Abney
invented his pocketable level purely to fill a much needed gap in the
market. Surveyors welcomed his invention, but it was primarily used by
the military for artillery and engineering (creation of roads, bridges
etc). However, the addition of a compass was a much later invention and
it is possible, though not definite, that F.
was the one to make the
* W. & L. E.
Gurley, A Manual of the
Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying,
Troy, N. Y., 1893, p. 228.
level made by F. BARKER & Son
(see catalogue at right)
Multiplying the TAN no. (tangent) of the angle (given in
a table) by the distance in metres to the base of
gives its height.
for enlarged views)
All pictures by www.TRADEMARKLONDON.com
Prismatic compass with SINGER's
patent type green paper dial with fixed prism
and folding sighting vane.
The compass transit lock engages when the sighting vane is folded down,
and has a "brake" button to help settle the card for a reading.
The 5" version has no adjustable telescope (no draw tube).
- Dimensions: 5 x 2 1/2 in. (12.5 x 6 cm)
- Compass diameter: 1 1/2 in. (38 mm)
- Compass calibrated in 360 degrees.
BARKER catalogue 1909
DE LISLE'S REFLECTING
1890 - 1945 ANTIQUE, BRITISH MILITARY ITEM USED DURING THE BOER WAR,
THE FIRST WORLD WAR AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR
This simple device was invented by General A. de Lisle, (1825-99). The
half mirror in the diamond frame reflects the observer's eye when the
instrument is suspended from the thumb and held at arm's length. A
sighting on a distant object through the clear glass will be on the
same level as the observer’s eye and its mirror image. In
model the mirror can be tilted by using the weighted arm running over
the scale on the arc as a “handle”. This will give
measure of the inclination of the distant object. A heavy arc is
constructed upon the lower part of the instrument. This
is jointed upon a vertical axis so that it may be revolved to bring the
mass of the arc either forward or backward, to take inclines upwards or
downwards, or to rest at an intermediate position to make the
instrument flat and portable. The arc has a stiff centre axis with a
radial bar, the edge of which forms the index. A sliding weight is
placed on the radial bar, which is sufficiently heavy when at its
greatest extension to exactly counterbalance the weight of the arc in a
horizontal position and to make the mirror quite vertical. In this
position it forms a simple Burel level.
A set of graduations are made
upon the arc, which are numbered 1 to 50. The radial bar index set to
one of these numbers gives the amount of inclination that will result
from the coincidence of the reflection of the centre of the pupil of
the eye cutting the object to be observed. It is calibrated for
gradients from 1 in 50 to 1 in 5.
Overall length 160mm / 6 inches ; weight : c. 300 gr.
/ 10 oz.
An instrument used to determine the angle of elevation or depression. A
De Lisle's Pendant Clinometer was used by surveyors and Royal Engineers
to set out slopes and gradients in the construction of paths, tracks
- (Marie) Gustave LEZY, precision mechanics, born in Brienne le
Château on 27.03.1867 at no. 7, rue Zacharie, Paris, 5rd
arrondissement, d. at home, 20 boulevard Jourdan,
14° on 11.2.1927) was a French manufacturer of
(radiotherapy). His workshop was created in 1892 and located first at
no. 4 (in 1899
then no. 17
former rue Maurice Meyer in
arrondissement near the actual rue de la Glacière. The
production most probably ceased after WWI since he is
retiree in official documents (his daughter's wedding and his death
The only catalogues know today show mainly radiotherapy
at the turn of the century an improved
version of General
system. In the Note
, 1931 (see pic.
at r.), this type is
the Modèle LEZY and compared to Peigné's
version. It features different or additional devices
like the round bubble level and its separate clinometer integrated in
the lid. The clinometer's sighting system in a groove in the case side
to the 15 cm ruler. The slope angle measuring pendulum is locked and
can be released by depressing a bar on the lid's outer side. There is
no military user instruction glued on the case. The two holes
the fitting used as a sighting device (on the lid) are also part of the
locking mechanism (together two sliding pins on either
side of the attachment ring).
The museum's collection comprises a second instrument made by
LÉZY: a cylindrical cross staff
(see tyble below, 2nd row) graduated in 6400 MILS featuring an
electrical lighting system. Its poor precision was probably the reason
it is extremely rare...
PROFILE - A. LIETZ was a former U.S. manufacturer (for more information
Product range - among others, they built the famous Forestry Compass
which was available in two versions : 360 degrees and four quadrants
(compare with Keuffel & Esser).
On this compass, the cardinals West and East appear reversed (their
position left and right of North is swapped left to right). This is a
typical feature on some U.S. geologist's compass: The needle indicates
here the direction that you
are facing when your turn on the spot with the compass in your hand
(look for "quadrant" in MISCELLANEOUS / Terminology). You
will also find
more details in this Tutorial
Other instruments: see CHARVOZ
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
- Dimensions: 83 x 75 x 18 mm
- Weight: 190 gr
- Divisions: quadrants
- Material (case and lid): aluminum, black paint
- Bubble level in the lid (possibly missing but not represented in the
The needle's horizontal position is balanced by means of a small weight
wound around the needle's southern end.
The declination adaption range covers plus/minus 32.5 degrees, so that
the compass can be used from the farthest point of the East coast to
the extreme western end of Alaska.
PROFILE - The name C. LÜTTIG (Berlin) appears on a theodolite
made probably at the turn of the 20th C.
No other information momentarily available.
for enlarged view)
- Dimensions : x x mm
- Weight : gr
- Divisions : 360°
- Clinometer: one part ist attached to the sighting tube, the other
under the compass capsule
- Serial no.: 1684
- Inscription engraved on the tube:
F. V. St. 139
PROFILE - This Japan-made compass is identical to the one displayed
under the name CHARVOZ
which was also identical to a LIETZ -made compass. The name LUTZ was
probably chosen for the resemblance with LIETZ.
No other information momentarily available.
on images for enlarged views)
- Dimensions: 4 1/2" (118mm) side length
- Dia.: 95 mm
- Divisions: quadrants (4 x 90°) on inner and outer
- Clinometer: +/- 90°
- Side rulers:
. simple, inches (4 1/2)
. double (two-way), inches with decimal
divisions from 0 to 4.50 and from 4.50 to
- Adaption of magnetic
declination by side screw.
- M -
According to the U.S. Army Field Manual 21-26 App. G, the M1 compass
predecessor of the M2
(pictures: see Brunton
The description given in this document reads as follows:
"One of the most important features of the M2 compass is
is graduated in mils and does not require a conversion from degrees to
mils as does the M1 compass."
We suppose that the M1 was identical to the standard Brunton pocket
transit compass because we couldn't until now find a picture of any
compass matching this
definition. On many websites, the standard lensatic marching compass
(example: see Cammenga
designated M1 but this is not consistent with the definition above
since all models known feature both graduations (degrees and
mils). FM 21-26, Ch. 9 describes the lensatic marching compass but this
instrument is never designated M1.
PROFILE - British design, maybe late 19th c. It appears in F. BARKER's
catalogue as early as in 1909 (see in LINKS , the website
www.TRADEMARKLONDON.com) together with the 4 in. (10 cm) prismatic
compass described in P. Dériaz' manual THE PRISMATIC COMPASS
The graphic (below, centre) shows the French Model 1918 that could be
utilized together with different gun types, among others the French
155mm howitzer type M1918. This drawing is to be found in a Maintenance
Manual (TM 9-1595) issued during WWI and reprinted during WWII by the
U.S. Secretary of War in 1943.
- Diameter: 100 mm (4")
- Height: .. mm
- Weight: ... gr
PROFILE - This compass was used during WW1 and is described in a French
Army booklet (Note Technique sur les
Photocopies available in
) as being an already
older special compass for MG
information (in French) and photographs
of units and material are posted on the website Pages d'histoire 14-18
The compasses used in the
are displayed in this museum in the articles
VOIGTLÄNDER and PESSLER.
on images for
description given in the
technique sur les boussoles
- Dimensions (clsd.):
80 x 80 x 25 mm
- Weight:150 g
- Divisions : 6400 mill. clockwise,
- Manufacturer unknown
- Cardinals: French, Radium paint markings black lined
- Needle lock: spring-loaded, releasing by depressing the
An instrument designed for measurement of the absolute value of a
magnetic field intensity or of one component of this, be it from the
earth ot from some instrument. We describe special
used for electrical circuits (galvanometers
in the section "Other Compasses". Some magnetometers were used in the
ship and aircraft industry to determine the best place for a compass
See examples and read more here: Askania
PROFILE - W. Mansfied & Co. Birkenhead / England.
Dimensions : x x mm
- Weight: g
- Divisions : only on both sides of North: + / - 40 deg.
(military, Germany, WWII)
For WWII British escape aid maps go to Escape
The WWII German soldiers were given maps of the fighting area
(backpack document) especially printed for the Third
(OkW). They belonged to a large collection of (originally)
teaching and tourist maps made by the Bibliografisches
Leipzig called Schlag
which means 'look up' (like in a dictionary). These words were followed
by the name of the region, in the example below, Mittelmeer
This one (no. 11) shows the complete area and especially North
Africa where many
German troops fought with Marschall Rommel and were taken prisoners by
the British Army.
Mediterranean Area in 1940
map, countries or
parts thereof are indicated together with the relevant authority
red): Greece and Bulgaria were a single country. Italy, Lybia
Albania formed one unit (mention in red: In Personalunion).
Morocco, Tunesia and Syria were French colonies, protectorates or départements
friendly states) whereas Egypt,
Palestine, Malta, Trans Jordan, Cyprus were on the British side
map: "Restricted - Use only within the German Army"
- Dim.: 18 x 44"
(46 x 111 cm)
- Scale: 1 to 4,500,000
- Issue: 1939/40 - 1st year - Booklet no. 11
The only military
information are red triangles indicating friendly (simple shape) or
ennemy (double triangle) facilities like Malta's harbour of La
Valetta held by
Great-Britain located near the coast of fascist Sicily:
Examples of ancient map pockets for military use or hiking. Some had
transparent walls, others pockets for drawing tools (colour pencils,
eraser, ruler etc.). Some can be carried with a shoulder strap, others
with two short straps for example on a bike's steering handles.
Some also had a small integrated compass.
on pic. to enlarge)
System called "Swedish" in German (see catalogue below)
Leather map holder with transparent walls, compass and shoulder strap
- Content: map (1/20.000) of area East of Paris,
around Drancy, type 1889, dated 1928.
- Dimensions : 230 x 140 mm
- External pocket for a booklet (training data of artillery soldiers in
|Official Wehrmacht pocket (Meldetasche)
Leather map holder with pockets for colour pencils, eraser, ruler etc.
and straps for horse saddle, bike etc.
- Two compartments inside
- Straps for bike steering handles
- Germany, 1930's and WWII
- Dimensions: 270 x 190 mm
Eisenschmitt, Karte und Gelände, Ausg. 1939 with list
of pockets and compasses
Description : This instrument is used to measure distances on
maps (see also the early models made by ZIKO
It is made of a tiny wheel that can follow the curves of a road.
This wheel is connected to a pointer that shows the measured track on a
dial. Some compasses are equiped with map readers with several scales -
see in particular Breithaupt
version made by Ladois
The French maker Baudet (later : Burnat) offered in his catalogue
for the year 1925
in all European and British/U.S. measuring
units, one with a tiny
compass in the pendant
links to pictures).
The instrument shown at right (built in the 1950's-60's) displays
divisions that allow direct reading of distances on maps with the
scales 1:20,000, 1:40,000, 1:80,000 and 1:100,000 on one side
while the opposite side has divisions for the scales 1:25,000,
1:50,000, 1:75,000 and 1:200,000.
at right: click
enlarged view )
PROFILE - Name of a company in the former Soviet Union located in
PROFILE - Former German manufacturer, company created in Berlin in
A catalogue for survey materiel dated 1910: "Illustrirter
Katalog und Preis-Verzeichniss über
geodätische Instrumente, Messgeräthe, Reisszeuge etc:
Erzeugnisse der mechanischen Werkstätte für
von A. Meissner (Inhaber: H.
& F. Reinecke) Mechaniker und Optiker Berlin W
courtesy E. Horsfield
(Click on images for enalrged views)
- Dimensions: ? mm
- Divisions: 360° counter clockwise
- Magnetic needle: two parallel bars driving a divided circle.
Case with foldable vanes and a leather pouch with a round window like
instrument but the capsule is fluid dampened and its bottom is shaped
with concentric waves like a barometer's aneroid capsule.
PROFILE - Former Czechoslovakian
manufacturer located in Prague (Praha
in Czech language).
Its confidential three-letter code during the communist era was xbk
(link to a military model). See also the section Marching Compasses.
Pictures courtesy Houcke
(click on images for enlarged views)
and clinometer window
Side ruler and sights
- Dimensions: 130 x 10 x 65 mm
- Bubble level
- Divisions : 360° clockwise and 24 hrs counter
Cardinal points : N.W.S.E printed reversed for reading in mirror
- Clinometer: +/-110° unlocked by depressing the knob
- Extendable rifle-type sights for measuring vertical angles on the
- Back face: round window for illumination of scales from below
- Side ruler: 10 cm / scale 1/1000
PROFILE - former Swiss manufacturer (for more information
Not to be mistaken for the MERIDIAN called compass model made by the
former German company WILKIE and the actual K&R (see also
(Михаловский - Tуров)
PROFILE - MIKHALOVSKI and TOUROFF (Михаловский -
туров) designed in the early 20th c. aiming circles.
courtesy Archives Russ. Fed.
Click on image for an enlarged three-sides view
The words север синий
mean 'North blue', i.e. the needle's blued half points north.
Click on the link for a view of the complete
Click on the image for a view of the complete system and follow the
link for an exhaustive description
of the compass.
Definition: special compass for survey tasks in mine galleries (s.
items built by FPM
Older compasses in France and in the German-speaking countries were
divided into 24 hours.
on pictures for enlarged
Left: description of a miner's compass in an old French encyclopedia
for measuring instruments and metallurgical tools (1813).
(Translation - see original text in the French part : poche
miner's compass assembly generally
1. a compass to measure the galleries' orientation
2. a graduated half-circle with plumbline to measure their slope
3. a chain to measure the distance between the stations
4. several brass screws, to attach the chain
5. a protractor to transfer the measurements on the drawing
6. (optional) an optical sight.
Click on the images for enlarged views
complete with semi-circle hanging protractor, plumb bob, adjustment
- Maker: Noesselt & Staritz, Breslau (Silesia, now Poland),
late 19th c.
- Compass card: silver-coated, with 360-degree scale.
- Dimensions: wooden case (c. 30 x 23 cm).
On the back of the case is still the original leather bag.
view of a
compass: see SECRÉTAN
PROFILE - Former French company (for more information, click HERE
been a supplier (partly as retailer*) for the French armies and the
the late 19th
c. The catalogue for the year 1930 (picture
) gives a perfect
overview of its
product range. The various items are shown together with the catalogue
picture sent by D. M. Farrioli
that we know of is
a book about the drawing of the isoclinical map of Spain (Magnetismo Terrestre
* One of the main manufacturer
See also the categories Marching compasses, Nautical compasses and
- Diameter: 80 mm
- Depth (closed): 27 mm
- Height (alidade upright): 60 mm
- Weight: 300 gr
- Diameter: 80 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 110 gr
go to Collignon-Houlliot
Compass equipped with a clinometer: The zero reference is situated on
a tangent defined by a retractable lever. The needle can be locked by
means of a piston sliding through the loop fitting (free when
The same model exists also bearing the name of the italian manufacturer
of optical instruments SALMOIRAGHI.
- Diameter (compass): 90mm
- Depth (case, closed): 30mm
- Height: (alidade upright): 75mm
- Weight: 200gr
Export Version (cardinal points in English)
- Dimensions: 70 x 70 x 15mm
- Weight: 50gr
or Plane Table Compass
NOTE: the museum
doesn't possess this item. This
was sent by a visitor. The museum has four other exhibits (see RICHER,
SECRETAN and two no-name, items, one being part of a military
theodolite, see the trough compass below).
Special compass for survey works in mines' galleries (see also description
and exhibits made by SECRÉTAN
compass designed by Berget
MORIN catalogue no. 9925
The compass unfortunately w/o its prism. Compare with the item
made by Houlliot
- Dimensions (overall): 110 x 85 mm
- Compass diameter: 40 mm
- Divisions: 400 grades
- Weight: 85 gr
produced together with SRPI
Peigné's system (see further down) made of aluminum.
Jaypee - private collection)
Click on the image above for displaying the entire page
staffs and similar instruments
Morin made them only in cylindrical cases while Secrétan
made them octogon-shaped.
|MORIN retailed in the 1960s/70s a
dip needle compass
Collignon-Houlliot. This item featured a foot so that it could be used
as a altazimut compass but is identical to the one described in the
1930 catalog (w/o pic) which featured a large ring.
PROFILE - Artillery compass for guns battery made by
through the slot and over the wire. The
angle values are read in the small square mirror located above the wire.
on the images for enlarged views)
used together with
binoculars and a
tripod. The meaning of the
letters (DFHLN) is not known. All compasses
featured different letters.
The divisions ring also comprises a scale for correction
coefficients (see pic.
below. For a
drawing of the complete range please click HERE. Thank you for any hint
about its use):
- Length. (extended): 8" / 201mm;
- Length (folded): 5" / 128mm
- Dia. (case): 3 1/4" / 83mm
- Dia. (compass disc): 2" / 52mm
- Divisions: 6400 MILS
- Weight: ca. 1 lb. / 480 g
Descr. in Dutch language
court. T. Brink):
Teeken: sign (plus
- O -
PROFILE - Richard Hebden O'GRADY HALY* was a British officer (born 22
February 1841, died 8 July 1911 Major General) who invented when he was
Lieutenant Colonel a compass system with clinometer that bears his name
and was built by ELLIOTT
* For comprehensive résumé and portrait click HERE
PROFILE - G. Ostoya was an Austrian (Imperial officer?) and inventor.
He had this system built by E. Kraft in Vienna. Full
description in German in the article "Eine
neue Handbussole von
" (a new marching
compass designed by G. Ostoya) published in the review Polytechnisches
Journal (issue 1877), online on the website of the Alexander von
Humbodt University in Berlin HERE
Images digitized by
A. v. Humboldt University
on the image for an enlarged view)
- Dimensions: no information available
- Technique: this instrument is a precision trough or plane table
compass. The needle can only swing between the two boxes (F). Rotation
of the cylinders while sighting
is effected via the mechanism (T). The angle value (precision
20 minutes or arc) can be read on the external nonius.
(For more details
read the full description on the A. v. Humboldt
University's website - If needed, we can help with a translation).
- P -
PROFILE - Państwowe Zakłady Pomocy
Szkolnych was a government supplier
educational material for mining and surveying in
technical colleges. It was created
in Warsaw in 1949
and existed until 1973.
courtesy of hipermetalo
- Case side length: approx. 150 mm
- Kompass-Ø: ca. 100 mm
The underside is hollow without
- James Parkes was a British manufacturer of telescopes.
He founded his company in 1839. He was
son and the company was renamed James Parkes
& Son (1843 – 1862).
Both companies traded from 5, St. Mary’s Row, Birmingham.
We presume that there is a connection with a certain Robert
Parkes who lived in the late 16th century and was cited by Simon Forman
his book Longitude
Parkes was apparently a manufacturer of telescopes.
Description of the production scope in a catalogue for the year 1848:
chains, mathematical instruments, miners' & mariners'
watchkeys, seals etc."
Parkes's trademark was a
human left eye shown open together with an eyebrow. The "eye" trademark
also appeared on both sides of Britain's
coat-of-arms in an 1867 catalogue (see
image at right - click to enlarge
Compass open with the vanes erected (compare with the compass
made by the German FENNEL
or the French MORIN, above).
- Diameter (sighting vanes folded): 60 mm
- Diameter (sighting vanes deployed): 70 mm
- Depth (closed with lid on): 21 mm
- Weight: 120 g
This compass type was designed by the French officer Paul
Peigné (for his
It could well be that in reality, the then captain only modified the
system designed by a lady compass maker called Mademoiselle DUPUY
by integrating the clinometer into the compass capsule and
user's instructions glued on the case's upper and lower sides.
See also LEZY
It was built by several companies like
MORIN, LADOIS and S-L. A short version of the users' instructions was
glued on both sides of the wooden casing (printed by Delagrave et
Cie). Late 19th until early 20th century. This compass is equipped with
alidade that could be used both with the compass needle to take
bearings and with the clinometer to measure elevation angles. The
magnetic needle oscillations can be slowed by depressing a thin piston
gliding through the transit locking screw. The clinometer scale is
inverted so as to be read in the mirror. It was one of the major
official compasses used in the French Army during WWI.
right: French Infantry petty officers manual 1914/15 in which the
compass is still designated "du capitaine Peigné")
Compass system by Gen. PEIGNÉ in the MORIN catalogue for 1930
on the picture for the full
catalogue text in French)
version signed Colonel Peigné 1897.
The oldest known version states his former
grade as Lieutenant-Colonel
(link to pic) from 1883 on.
The mention Général Peigné
appears only after he was appointed
General in 1898 (source: French
(6400 mils) with signature
A bakelite version was made by S-L
in the 1930's.
user's instructions on the casing
At right: comprehensive manual (4 p., see SHOP)
- Dimensions: 92 x 90 x 35 mm
- Diameter of compass rose: 70 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils, clockwise
- Clinometer: 0-1000 (unit ?) upwards and downwards
- Weight: 200 gr
- Side ruler (casing deployed): 160 mm
The French CapitaineBrèche who teached military survey
technique in the
St-Maixent infantry school
published in 1911 his entire lecture course in which he
describes various compasses, among others the Peigné system.
Strangely, he described this system as having two horse hairs inside
the mirror's slot:"le
plan vertical de la visée est
déterminé par le milieu de l'intervalle qui
sépare DEUX CRINS tendus dans la fenêtre".
Such a device could never be observed on any of the many compasses we
Map reader for five scales
(1:50.000, 1:80.000, 1:100.000, 1:200.000 and 1:320.000) and modern
cylindrical version called
Saint-Maixent* model. It
was manufactured by LADOIS.
- Diameter: 83 mm
- Depth: 26 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils, clockwise
- Clinometer: degrees, no separate scale
- Weight: 320 gr
- Ruler flap: 70 mm
unsigned. The dial was
probably made by HOULLIOT. The divisions (360° clockwise,
clinometer +/- 30°) are engraved and not printed on paper. The
locking hooks are sturdy. The sighting recess in the lid features
- Dim. : 930 x 930 x 31mm
- Side ruler: none
On the rear face, a placard with user instructions refers to a table
designed by MARTEL of which we know nothing yet.
at left: Version
- Dimensions : 87 x 87 x 33 mm
- Weight : 150 g
- Casing : mahogany
PROFILE - Former German manufacturer located in Freiberg
Created probably at the very beginning of the 20th C.
Astronomical and Survey instruments. The company was taken
over by the communist government in 1951 and
integrated into the group FPM
Picture courtesy Jaypee
on the images for enlarged views
| Technical Data
Dim.: 100 x 80 x 15 mm,
Compass Ø: 65 mm
Compare with the similar compass made by Voigtländer.
- Surveyor compass. The maker is still unknom but the city engraved
below his name (S. Weirant ?) was PEST
now a district of Budapest
: Dorotheum, Vienna, Austria
after the three distinct cities Buda
merged in 1873.
The case's lid uper face (black leather) is enhanced by golden
stamped arabesques and rosaces along the edges and a sort of caduceus
in each corner.
- Former Finnish manufacturer located in Helsinki. It was
probably short-lived. The only
instruments known up-to-now are this compass apparently used by the
Forestry department (Metsähallitus
and a wrist compass displayed in the SUUNTO entry which were both built
at right: the
label on the compass below
The holes in the vane were a means to assess elevation angles
tool called plane table (plain
prior to 1830) is a device
used in surveying and related disciplines to provide a solid and level
surface on which to make field drawings, charts and maps. The early use
of the name plain table reflected its simplicity and plainness rather
than its flatness (source: WIKIPEDIA).
Its consists of a board usually attached to a tripod and articulated by
means of a knee joint so that it can always be levelled.
The picture at left shows a simple product out of MORIN's catalogue
c.1930. On it are placed a Peigné compass and an alidade.
The French word 'planchette' (small board) also designates a small
portable plane table held
in front of oneself, hung by a lace around the neck. A French Ponthus
& Therrode catalogue (ca. 1910) displays a drawing
of a soldier
holding one, also
A 'planchette compass' designated hence also a pocket
compass that could be attached to the board by means of a tab and two
screws. However, in the description displayed at right (Stockert
catalogue, click on image for full descr.), the word planchette is
wrongly used to designate the tab
screwed to the compass case. The current German designation for plane
table is Messtisch
The correct English designation of such instruments is Trough
manufactured different ones until WW1 (pict. of Russian
We own one of them and one can also be seen with cardinals in ancient
in the 1910
We display below a plane table with integrated compass and
double level. A sighting system could be attached by screws.
In the 2nd row of the table: square compass designed by DELCROIX with
four holes in
the aluminium base. It was stowed in a wooden box lined outside with
leather and inside with silk and velvet.
Divisions: 400 grades. Sighting device: rifle type and two additional
sighting pins located at a 90 degree angle.
The brass capsule rotates freely. The pivot is glued onto a glass
disk. Identical to the 'Boussole Directrice' designed by Delcroix.
- Dim.: 300 x 300 mm
- Dia. compass:
- Gradation: 2 x 90°
Period: post WWII
directrice (marching compass)
designed by Delcroix (1895) for use on a plane table
signed VION (see
featuring a standard
soldier's compass (WWI)
(360°, Radium Markings)
Small Portable Devices
There existed also portable plane tables with all elements needed to
carry out topographical works.
Our first example is the one designed by
the French officer Capitaine Henri
The wooden case was probably covered with leather or fabric so as to
hold the pens in place. The lid is hollow and contains a protractor.
- Dimensions (open) : 260 x 250 mm
- Compass diameter: 60 mm
- Divisions : four 100 grades quadrants
Instructions for use: This device also allowed for working on horse
back (see also DELCROIX'
on the picture for
full text view)
This compass is set in a wooden frame the sides of which were sawn off.
Only part of words are still visible at left: (LI)NE OF
and at right: DIR(ECTION)
The only evidence of its British origin is the Mk.IV.
indication engraved on the reverse side preceded by the Army's symbol,
also called crow foot
board had a
underneath so it could be fixed to the forearm. It is described in the
book Military Sketching, Map Reading and
CHAIX plane table
Picture courtesy Nick
on images for detailed views
courtesy Mary Jones
- Dimensions: 2 x 2" (50 x 50mm)
- Depth: 5/8" (15 mm)
The same principle was used on the French Paris-based company CHAIX
on the picture for an enlarged view)
description (excerpt of user instr.):
The device (A)
1° a sliding table (B) with a rotating protractor (C)
2° two rolls (D) on which a stripe of transparent paper (F) is
wrapped around and on which the drawings are made.
At right: pocket plane table
of user instr. can be
on the picture for an enlarged view)
Another system was developed in Italy probably in the late 19th c. by A.
, who was an engineer
with the company 'Officine
Galileo'. The device was called 'Tavoletta di Campagna' (di Monticolo)
and produced from 1908 until the second half of the 20th c.
For a comprehensive description (in Italian language) refer to the
- Dimensions : 130 x 180 mm
- Compass/clinometer diameter : 70 mm
- Compass and clinometer : two windows on the round dial
- Rangemeter (with prism)
- Reduction tables (attached on rear face)
Plane Table Compass
* see Wikipedia
DESCRIPTION - A square protractor is an instrument utilized to measure
the geographical position of any point on a map with UTM grid reference
describe it for a user of the same map. It
is graduated with one or several scales in a vertical and an horizontal
Old models generally consisted of a square frame with several scales.
The distance between
the point and the grid lines is measured simultaneously with a
horizontal and a vertical branch.
In the 30's and 40's, there was in Germany a famous cardboard flyer
called Wehrsporttafel No. 12
especially printed for
the paramilitary 'defence sport associations' (Wehrsportgruppen
which explained the use of the square protractor (which could be
cut-away). It also desccribed other instruments like one of BUSCH
marching compass. Today, Germany's Army
its own system (see picture at left).
Pic. at r.: How the French Army designated the position of a target on
a map (excerpt of the examination booklet for future officers Recueil de
résumés à l'usage des candidats
au Brevet de la
Modern marching compasses (like
the ALPIN made by K&R
or the special British Army model Expedition 54 made by SILVA)
feature an engraved protractor. On British survey maps with the scale
the grid corresponds to 1 inch for 1 mile (see pic of map and compass HERE
- Pic. at right: Romer scale for use with national grid maps (GB)
for protractor type OS.80876)
- Ancient ones: see MORIN above (WW1).
- Pöferlein (marching compasses)
- WW2: table below and also Bézard compass
- Modern items: see Google
Apparently, the U.S. Army used a system based on a gross assessment:
Read UP-RIGHT, "4/10 the distance between 11 and 12 is read 114"
(Austrian and Italian Army until WWII).
NOTE: The values read right of the meridian were
the values read above the latitude line were called Hochwert.
You had to rotate this item by 90 deg. to read either the scale
1/75,000 or the 3 scales 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 thousand (click HERE
for the Italian version with tactical symbols).
(s. Bézard / Part 2 - Doc.)
protractor for 3 scales
(Germany, WWII and Jensen catalogue 1938)
- Dimensions: 86 x 86 mm
- Material: Aluminium
- Weight: 2 gr
Cardboard flyer Wehrsporttafel
no. 12 (see
"Wehrsport"): how to use the sq. prot.
the measuring device called Messwinkel.
can be ordered).
Cardboard flyer 12: The sq. protractor (top right)
drawn inside the Messwinkel
to be cut out.
(Click for enlarged views)
The Gunner's manual (1940) :
How to use the sq. protractor
(for locating broadcasting stations)
Brass compass in a wood casing. The dial is divided in two ranges of 12
hours, each one being itself divided in two sectors,
a white one from zero to 6 and a black one from 6 to 12. European city
indicated in German language (Nürnberg = Nuremberg) all around
outer dial. A centre dial features a green
rose of the winds and a world map
centered around the north pole where the magnetic needle's pivot is
located. The cardinals are oriented for an observer standing at the
geographic north pole: north is towards Canada and the Americas, south
towards Sibiria! This map can be rotated by turning a knurled knob
located on the side. Markings: Pat. SNOW Radio-Kompass Trademark and a
watermark-like logo featuring the letter A and the letters GIL. Dia.:
ca. 5 ¾".
Click on image for a detail
view of the dial
PROFILE - L'HERMITE & LEJARD, located 13, rue de la Cerisaie
La Bastille), apprentices to and successors of RICHER,
GUYARD & CANARY (formerly RICHER, GUYARD, CANARY
Excerpt of a catalogue (c. 1905):
"The company was created in 1780 by RICHER and his son Emile
Richer was his successor. In 1870, Emile Richer associated two
apprentices of his his father,
Guyard and Canary who became his successor. In 1890, they followed the
example of their former head and associated two of their apprentices
L'Hermite and Lejard who are currently the company's owner."
sent by Antonin L'Hermite's grand-grand-daughter)
See also TROUGH
for plane table
under MISCELLANEOUS / Glossary and Definitions)
Wooden casing, ivory scales
- Dimensions: 120 x 44 x 15 mm
- Weight: 40 gr
In Austria, the word Bussole
was utilized instead of the normal German word Kompass
see. Bézard and Winterer.
Artillery compasses used to orientate (verb is 'richten') a gun were
called consequently 'Richtbussolen'.
Examples: GANSER and GOERZ.
PROFILE - Oskar Richter was a maker and/or retailer of scientific
instruments located in Petrograd or Saint-Petersburg,
only information about him is published on the website of the
Dresden, Germany. It says that Oskar Richter was a wealthy merchant
(optical and measuring instruments) who had sponsored a
new church near Dresden where himself and his wife had moved in
Several models are known with cardinals either in German (N-O-S-W) or
in Russian. The city name was engraved in Russian language in two
versions: 'Petrograd' or 'Peterburg').
courtesy M. V. Berdyev
PROFILE - David RITTENHOUSE was a U.S. manufacturer in the 18th c. He
is famous for having been the supplier of survey materiel to George
. The picture shows a
compass engraved 'Go.
Washington / Mt Vernon' (his estate's location).
The dial is signed Rittenhouse & Potts. The Smithsonian Institution
displays a similar instrument online
Picture at right: this compass was displayed on the occasion of the
1939 World Fair in New York (click on image for detail view).
PROFILE - K. Rode was a manufacturer locatd in Saint-Petersburg
(in Russian К. Роде, Санкт-Петербургъ - picture at rightcourtesy M. W.
Berdyev). Rode Works operated from 1815 till the Bolshevik's Revolution
on November 1917. Rode was a maker of instruments for Military
Topography Division, ministry of Transportation, Chief Engineers'
Directorate and Russian Geographical Society.
PROFILE - Rospini was the name of two brothers (Brüder
German), Andreas Carl
(1811-1867) and Carl Joseph (1816-1887), sons of Andreas Rospini
(formerly Rospino from Como, Italy). They were instruments makers in
until the early 20th century.
Carl Joseph Rospini who died in 1861 ran a shop in Vienna (pic. at
right) was the son of Joseph ROSPINI (1767-1832), a brother of
In the German-speaking countries like the Austro-Hungarian Empire or
Saxony, angles used to be measured in mines with compasses graduated in
24 hours each subdivided into 8 units
degrees precision) or 16 units
divided into 2 x 12 h), i.e. the precision
was a little better than 1
The compass displayed in the first row is the oldest one known and thus
probably made around 1830 (cardinals in Latin).
The other one features a clinometer (see also FENNEL
and MORIN) and a double scale (360° + 24h) where each hour is
divided into 15 units thus exactly matching the degrees (24 x 15 = 360).
: can be hung at wires in mine galleries (comp. to SECRÉTAN).
The case lid's rim is decorated with garlands and flowers (click on pic. above left
for detail view).
The suspension can be folded and stowed into a special recess.
- Dim. (dia. x thickness): 3 5⁄8"
(93 x 13mm)
- Weight (compass): 10 ozs. (300g)
- Divisions: 24 h, each comprising 8 units, counter clockwise
detail view of the divided circle click HERE)
- Cardinals: Latin (s.
MISCELLANEOUS / Cardinal pts.)
- Needle transit lock: tiny
sliding lock in a recess under the case body (link
- Case material: wood lined on the outside
with decorated leather, inside with shammy.
courtesy D. Geras
- Clinometer with swivel-out lever
- Divisions: 360 deg. and 24 hours, counter-clockwise (see pic. below
and menu point Miscellaneous / Divisions / Hours)
- Dim. (dia. x thickness): 2 5⁄8"
(67 x 10mm)
PROFILE - Camille Rossignol was a French officer and weaponsmith (for
He invented a compass system
and filed for a patent (no. 167.980, 14.10.1885, Boussole
militaire devant servir à
diriger les troupes et au levé des plans
Military compass for leading troops and survey tasks).
Its unusual design features a boom with the rear part of the sight and
two rulers. The sight's rear part is a notch in the fitting of the
marching course setting screw. The right-hand side ruler is a distance
measuring scale (1:80.000). The left side features a ruler in
millimeter. The zero reference of both rulers is located in the
center, so that the divisions read 40 to 100 mm and respectively 3 to 8
km. The compass capsule can rotate. It has a transparent bottom made of
horn and a cross, one arm of which being painted black. For taking a
bearing, one has to observe in the mirror the magnetic needle and turn
the capsule until the black cross arm lies under the North pointer. The
compass was delivered with a leather pouch and a wooden box.
Bté SGDG (Patented)
Top: leather pouch, ruler left side
Bottom: wooden case
On some items, the surface has been intentionally scratched so that the
chromated protection doesn't betray the user's position through light
Magnetic needle and the black cross
arm. On the capsule's base
plate are divisions engraved which make it possible to take the
magnetic declination into account.
Serial no. on the rear sight
The mirror automatically stops at an angle of 45° by means of a
spring and a triangular cam.
The distance measuring ruler with scale 1:80.000 (French milit. maps)
140 x 55 x 18 mm
- Weight: 115 gr
- Compass case: brass, nickel-coated
- Ground plate: horn, transparent
- Divisions: 360° clockwise
- Serial No. : 168
- Copies of patent, user's instructions and manual (fac
can be ordered as well as of the following booklet:
(Click on the picture for a drawing of the compass)
very rare and probably early version features a clinometer and a side
on images for compaired views)
to the current model)
- Overall length: 15,8 mm (approx 6 in), ruler graduated up to 12,5 mm
(5 in) on left side,
scale 1:80,000 on right side to read distances up to 10 km on military
- Graduation (360°) in capsule,
clinometer pointer arrow-shaped, red lines at 45° angle between
the centre cross bars.
- Rear sight with slot and plane face to apply the clinometre on flat
PROFILE - R. & A. was an Austrian manufacturer
located in Vienna (Wien)
Divisions: 360 degrees and 24 hours
(see Rospini above)
on the pictures for enlarged views)