POCKET COMPASSES

The Online Compass Museum owns over 100 pocket compasses coming from many countries (America, Europe, China)
and several historical periods. A great quantity of others are also described here by means of the pictures sent by collectors.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers could not be identified. If you can name one by means of its design, please share your knowledge with us.
Thank you.



A
ADAMS
ADBER (АДБЕРЪ in Russian)
ADRIANOFF / КОМПАС АДРИАНОВА
AIRGUIDE
ANCHOR (north mark design): see HOULLIOT
ANDREWS (Captain, India)
Army & Navy Auxiliary (see A. & N. Aux)
ASKANIA

B
BAMBERG
BARKER
BAUDET (go to BURNAT)
BERGMANN (Kolumbus)
BILAND
BLUNT
BRYAN, Captain
BÜCHI
BURNAT
BUSCH

C
CAIL, John
CASELLA
Chicago Apparatus Co.
China
COLLIGNON-HOULLIOT
Compass (teaching means)
COOKE
Czech Compasses
D
DARTON
DEMARIA-LAPIERRE
DENNISON
DIXEY
DOLLOND
DOXA
DU-NORTH
E
Eclaireur
ENBEECO
ESCHENBACH

F
FRANCE (unidentified)
F. S. & C. (F. Sommet)
FUESS

G
Glass, transparent compasses
GOERZ
H
H.B. (see BURNAT)
HOULLIOT
HUGHES
I
ISZARD-WARREN


J
Japan (s. also Glass)
K
KEUFFEL & ESSER
Khlynovsky (Хлыновский in Russian)
KREIS
KRÖPLIN
L
LATOUR
LEMAIRE
LINCOLN, Abe (i.e. his murderer's compass)
LONGINES
LONG NECK
LUFFT

M
M.D.S.
Milvay
MOKO
MORIN
MULLER & VAUCHER (M & V)
N
NARDIN
NEGELEIN
NEGRETTI & ZAMBRA
NEWTON

O
OSSIETZKY (Осецкiй in Russian)
P
PASTO
PATHFINDER
Pedometer
Pétain
PLATIN
Poland

Q - R
RADIA (BUSCH model name)
RUBERGALL
RUSSIA / USSR (no name)

S
SCHARDT, J.
Schlagintweit
Schwab & Wuischpard (S & W)
Scoutism (and other organizations)
SEL
SELSI
SHORT & MASON
(S - cont'd)
SIMMS
SINCLAIR
SINGER
SINGER & SOHN
S-L (Société des Lunetiers)
SOUCHIER
SPEAR
STEWARD
STOCKERT (C. St. & Sohn)
SYMONS

T
TAYLOR
Tell-Tale
TERRASSE
TfA
THALSON
THORNHILL
True North (see SYMONS)
U
Unicus (The ~)
U.S. GAUGE
V
VERPIOT
VONIN
VTD
W
WALTHAM
WARTBURG
WILKIE
WITTNAUER
WOODMAN
WOTTON & SHERRY
X
NO NAME

Y - Z
ZEISS IKON
ZUP


- A -

ADAMS, Dudley

PROFILE: Dudley Adams was a son of George Adams Senior (1704-72), the patriarch of the Adams family of globe makers, who wrote numerous treatises on globes and scientific instruments including A Treatise Describing and Explaining the Construction and Use of New Celestial and Terrestrial Globes, published in London in 1766 and is thought to have succeeded to John Senex and James Ferguson, the pioneers of 18th Century British globe making.
George's sons, George Adams, Jr. (1750-95) and Dudley (1762-1830), carried forth the family business as instrument and globe makers in London. Dudley Adams continued the business until 1817, when bankruptcy forced him to sell the pocket globe plates to the Lane firm.
(Source: George Glazer Gallery)



Pictures by courtesy of diggerlee 



(Click for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Dimensions
. diam. case: 39 mm
. diam. compass: 49 mm
. length: 70 mm
. depth: 15 mm
- Weight: 60 grs
- Dial material: enamel
- Case material: brass, gilt
- Markings on dial: DUDLEY ADAMS LONDON
TOP OF PAGE

AIRGUIDE

PROFILE - former U.S. manufacturer successor of Fee & Stemwedel (more information HERE).
See also Nautical and Wrist compasses.



(Click for an enlarged view)
The names AIRGUIDE and Fee & Stemwedel are printed on the box



(Click for a composed picture of several enlarged views)
Technical Data
Needle type model no. 83
- Diam.: 2" (50 mm)
- Thickness: 12 mm
- Weight: 57 gr
- Case material: aluminum
The small coat of arms printed on the box contains the words:
AMERICAN
M...(ADE
PRODUCT?)

ASKANIA

PROFILE - Askania made a pocket-watch-shaped compass based on a design by KRÖPLIN (for more information click HERE).
See also Marching, Nautical, Aeronautical and Wrist compasses.
Picture at r.: lid with AskAniA's logo - For technical description go to KRÖPLIN
TOP OF PAGE

- B -

BAMBERG, Carl

PROFILE - Carl Bamberg was a German compass manufacturer in Friedenau near Berlin (for more information click HERE).
See also Nautical and Aeronautical compasses.


 Pictures courtesy Peter Ruge (Click for an enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 70 mm

The large cut-out in the compass card reduces the inertia of the mass that the magnets have to move. The two blade-shaped magnets (each with a N at their Northern extremity) are very unusal. They are usually to be found only in large ships or aircraft compasses where they ensure a higher position stability.
TOP OF PAGE

BARKER

PROFILE - Francis Barker & Son was a British manufacturer (more information HERE and in our LINKS)
See also Nautical, Marching, Escape, Survey and Wrist compasses.
(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)



Front page of the Barker catalogue for the year 1926


(Picture by Jaypee - priv. coll.)

Logo: the words TRADE MARK LONDON forming a triangle around his monogramme (FBS, inside the lyre) are the hallmark of Francis BARKER. The black-and-white design is called SINGER's pattern.
Technical Data
- Diameter: 45mm
- Depth: 15mm
- Weight: 73gr

Catalogue no. 3000


(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

This item has a floating card (like catalogue no. 3012, right) and a system to render the markings luminous at night (...) by burning 1/2 in. Magnesium Ribbon close to the dial in the lid but the same design as the catalogue no. 3000 (left) which has a rotating needle.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 35 mm
- Depth: 15 mm
- Weight: 65 gr

Dial design called RGS pattern
(see further down)





This item is similar to the one described p. 90 in the book TRADEMARKLONDON.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 43mm
- Depth: 16mm
1905-1920



(Pic. courtesy TML)

Descr. of dial: go to Singer's patent.
(see also the 1926 catalogue).
UK Boy and Girl Scouts Compasses

Pic. at left: The back side of the folding model featured a paper tablet on which notes could be written in pencil and easily erased.

Pic. at right: After WW1 the Mark VI (link to descr.)  design was also used in scouts' compasses. Only the lid's hinge of the sturdy case was replaced by a reinforced one (compare to the former fragile pocket watch design).
1920-1930

Pic. at left: marking on back MDS 
Pic. at right: 1926 catalogue
TOP OF PAGE
F. BARKER & Son registered many, entirely different dial designs. Here are a few examples:
(Pictures by courtesy of TRADEMARKLONDON - click on the images for detailed views).




William Barker (1858)
The maker's name is punched beneath the fleur-de-lis


"The Cyclist's"
(1885 catalogue)
featuring a magnifying glass for easier reading of maps or lighting a fire...


"The Glow Needle"
A variation of the design at right (combination with a radiant's dial). The same needle was also used in the models The Guide and The Prospector.
(See Patent 12,777 - 1906)

The same reg. no. (355,639, Apr. 4, 1900) applied to the different versions, either with needle (pict. at left) or with floating card (above). The letter N in red paint appears on top of the radium square.


The maker's name is punched inside the fleur-de-lis.


"The Hunter Radiant",
(dial pattern: Reg. no. 416645, see at right)


Three examples of the dial pattern called "RGS pattern" (Royal Geographical Society)
(explanation: go to STEWARD)


Early version of the "Scouting" model with the cardinal points in red paint on the crystal


Two different markings of the maker's name: here on two lines near North and South (compare with picture at right)


Here, the maker's triangular TML logo is used like an arrowhead.


"The Skeleton"
The lid is marked “F. Barker & Son” and the back is stamped with the triangular trademark with the “S” the correct way round, indicating pre-1875.
The background in the capsule is made of luminous paper (see Balmain in  Miscell. / Terminology)



"The Unicus" (1890-1930)
Fluid dampened model, two versions:
dia. 52mm, 10 srews, 1890-1905
dia. 47mm, 8 screws, from 1905 onwards, std. Dennison case, RGS card pattern.

TOP OF PAGE

BERGMANN

PROFILE - E.G. BERGMANN was an unknown Norwegian or Danish manufacturer 

BILAND

PROFILE - Otto BILAND was a Swiss manufacturer located in Saint-Imier (Sankt Immer in German). He founded his company in 1906. He received a Gold Medal at the Swiss National Exhibition in Berne in 1914. The company was listed in 1920, plus an ad for precision instruments, tachometers, timers, speedometers, watchmen's watches and counters for cars and aeroplanes.
The basic design of this compass is described in a 1915 Patent no. 70460 (copy can be ordered), see also NARDIN.
Several versions are known: transparent, open face or hunter-case compass with or without marching angle arrow under the bezel's crystal.
The magnetic needle has two points on its vertical axis and rotates between two bearings, one of which is on the dial and the other in a screw in the centre of the S-shaped transverse bar (see MOSER's patent).



The letters N and S on the needle were both entirely covered with radium paint.
The crystal has a metallic frame on which the  marching angle arrow is attached.



The manufacturer's monogramme: O-B-L 


See-through version




Punched on the lid: the British Army's arrow and an upper case 'I' for India.
The holding loop is attached by means of a long transverse screw.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 50mm
- Height: 8mm
- Weight: 43gr
- Date: 1915
- Figures punched in the lid: 42 and 55.
- Patent nos. 76117 for France and 83025 for Switzerland: These numbers do not refer to compass-related patents, maybe they are registered trade marks.

Biland also filed a patent (no. 71472) for a map reader but we don't know whether it was ever produced:


BLUNT

PROFILE - Blunt of London. Famous manufacturer. During WW2, the premises were located in Old Kent Road. They built bomb sights for aircraft. The factory was hit during the Blitz but rapidly repaired thanks to the help of Clayton Hutton who also let manufacture there the famous escape compasses concealed in uniform buttons (quoted after "Official Secret, Cl. Hutton, 1961).
Picture by courtesy of Nick Godridge

BRYAN, Captain

PROFILE - Captain Bryan was a British officer (...). This instrument was retailed by the London-based company Military Equipment Co. which was famous for procuring expedition materiel (see below). An open-face version existed probably before with a slightly different design (divisions).
The dial consists of two discs: on top of the compass card is a smaller disc with black stripes and a triangle for North. The paper used contained a  phosphorescent paint called Balmain's luminous paint, a preparation of calcium sulphide, which shines with a white light after having been exposed to a bright light like burning magnesium.


(Picture above courtesy N. Godridge)



(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Markings on the lid and base:
MILITARY EQUIPT CO.
7 WATERLOO PLACE
LONDON

CAPT BRYAN'S NIGHT-MARCHING COMPASS RD. NO. 323931
Technical Data
- Case material: brass
- Diameter: 2 " / 50 mm
- Divisions: 360 deg. graduated every 10°, numbered every 20°
- Luminous paper with black stripes
- The RD (Reg. Design) no. 323  931 was issued in 1899.

Picture below: view of a 1897 advertisement of Mil. Eqpt.Co.
(Click on the image for a view of the whole document)


TOP OF PAGE

BÜCHI

PROFILE - Swiss manufacturer of marching compasses and survey/military levels called 'sitomers' (more information HERE).
However, the compass shown on the flyer was probably made by Muller & Vaucher.
TOP OF PAGE

BURNAT, Henri (H.B.)

PROFILE - Former French manufacturer of instruments for hikers (altimeters, podometers, etc.). The company's full name was Baudet-Burnat (more information HERE). Burnat filed several patents. One about a new system to attach capsules in compass casings. His logo featured a map reader together with his initials H(enri), B(urnat) and PARIS. He produced at least two different compass types: the pocket compass called 40 XT of which we only have a picture in the advertisement below and a marching compass (see this category). 
The ad below was printed in a 1977 or 1978 issue of the French climbers association Club Alpin Français (C.A.F.).
See also the magnetic probe in the department Other Compasses
(No other data momentarily available).

Ad for BURNAT hikers' instruments in the C.A.F. magazine.



(Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the compass)



Only the needle's shape differs from the one on the ad.
This transparent compass with the only marking "BAUDET Made in France" on the case side was produced at some unknown moment (1960's?).
It was apparently a predecessor of the swivel-case model shown in the ad at left.

Technical Data
- Case material: brass
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Needle transit lock: Excenter in the loop fitting
- Marching course mark: Plastic disk with a luminous paint dot and a lubber line.
TOP OF PAGE

BUSCH

PROFILE - Former german company, (for more information click HERE). See also Marching compasses.




(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)


KARTENKOMPASS (Map compass)
Catalogue no. 3362, c. 1915-1930
Technical Data
- Material: nickel coated
- Transparent crystal bottom
- Bar-shaped needle
- Needle locking: remontoir-shaped excenter button
- Diameter: 40mm
- Depth: 13mm
- Weight: 30grs


BUSCH catalogue no. 3346
Messing-Kompass
(Brass compass)
c. 1915-1930


(Click on pictures for enlarged view)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 45mm
- Depth: 11mm
- Weight: 27g
- Graduation: degrees on an elevated rose
- The compass card is engraved on a silver-coated ground plate. The leather pouch is made of two halves sliding into one another. The loop is a full ring moving freely in the stud.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Compare with the very similar instrument made by LUFFT cat. no. 1745.


Below: the logo on the box :


"RADIA" model (military field compass)
Catalogue no. 3348, c. 1915-1930.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 49mm
- Depth: 14mm
- Weight: 49grs
- Bar-needle

The radium zinc sulfide paint compound was applied on the case bottom under the face featuring a rose of winds with cut-away cardinals through which the luminous paint glowed. Needle and marching course arrow are also coated with a self-luminescent compound.
TOP OF PAGE

- C -

CAIL John

PROFILE - John CAIL was a British manufacturer who worked in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1825 to 1865.




(Pictures courtesy P.C. / TML)

Technical Data

Diameter excl. neck & bow: 39mm
Thickness:13.5mm
Length incl. neck & bow & transit lock lever protrusion: 54mm
Casing: gold plated
Dial: enamel, hand-painted

CASELLA

PROFILE - Louis Pascal [formerly Luigi Pasquale] (1812–1897) Casella was a British manufacturer of scientific instruments.
Casella produced a compass based on SYMONS' patent for a system indicating the TRUE NORTH. Compare with Marble's TRU NORD design.
See also Survey and Nautical compasses.


Picture courtesy A. Hensel
Box float compass (compare to item 486 in the 1871 catalogue). Dia.: 35mm


TOP OF PAGE

CHICAGO APPARATUS Co.

PROFILE - Former U.S. manufacturer (701 West Washington Boulevard, Chicago).
Scientific Instruments, Laboratory Supplies, Chemicals

With the model called "The Milvay" identical but w/o loop (dia. 2")



Below: 3 views of its box




(Picture below courtesy Jeffrey R. Adams)



(Click on the pictures for detailed views)
These three compasses were offered in a 1949 catalog of hunters' gear. The compasses' names  The Chief  and The Commander are obvious. The one called MILVAY needs to be explained: MILVAY was the name of a C.A. Co. subsidiary selling biological materials. Its logo was a frog. C.A. Co. published also a specific MILVAY catalog.

 

China


Picture courtesy J. Grobovsek
Divisions: 360 degrees and 6000 Mils (counter clockwise, sovietic system)






(Click on the picture for enlarged view)
For more details about Chinese compasses go to Religion / Chinese Tradition and menu point Miscell. / Cardinal Points (Chinese).
TOP OF PAGE

COLLIGNON-HOULLIOT

PROFILE - Former French company successor of HOULLIOT located in the Marais district in Paris (more information HERE).
This company was the official supplier of the French explorer of the 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 anomalies. Collignon-Houlliot built also compasses used by the French boy and girl scouts (marching compass Modèle 1922).
Catalogue : go to the Museum's SHOP.
See also Survey compasses, Marching compass Modèle 1922 and Sundials.



Dia.: 53mm (compare with MORIN, "boussole directrice"). Aluminum casing, built shortly after WWII, double division (degrees and MILS), radium compound markings.


Dia.: 45mm (compare with MORIN, "boussole directrice")


This compass in a water-tight plastic pocket was part of the French aircraft crews' first aid kits in the 1950's.

(Click on the images for detailed views)

Compass no. 946 in the catalogue for 1960 unchanged snce the 1930s (see LUFFT, mod. 1950)

Souvenir compass made for the boys and girls scouts 1947 Jamboree (see also Scoutism)



Picture courtesy M. Collignon

TOP OF PAGE

Compass, teaching means (see also Training)

France:
• Teaching poster printed by Éditions Rossignol (located in Montmorillon, Département Vienne). Dimensions: approx. 3ft x 2ft 2/5 (90 x 75 cm), date: 1950-1965.
"When entering their classroom in the morning the pupils could discover the topic of the day on a poster hung on the wall by the teacher minutes before. Large images in bright colours attracted their attention." (quoted from the website Alaric83.fr).
Note: A close look at the cutaway view reveals that a the drawing corresponds in no way with the real thing. The external side knob moves a sliding tab which depresses a lever (flattened V-shaped rod) that pushes the needle cap upwards against the crystal, separating thus the pivot and the cap jewel. On Rossignol's poster the pivot is far too long and the strangely shaped rod cannot actuate anything (compare with detail view of the real transit lock). In fact, the artist probably had only a photograph of the compass which he or she painted in the top right corner but had no knowledge of mechanics...

•  De la pierre d'aimant à la boussole (Faits de civilisation - éd. Accueil 1967): 12 p. (23 x 19 cm) in a cardboard pocket. Historical overview from antique China to European Renaissance and the drafting of marine maps.
Click on image at left for a view of some of the sheets.

• French Army (1955): List of condensed notes dealing with basic military tasks for the "Préparation Militaire" examination, among others compass use and map reading.

- German Empire (WW1): Der gute Kamerad (1915, only a few lines and a simple drawing).
- GDR (former communist East Germany): Arbeit mit Karte und Kompass (1960), a comprehensive booklet with several maps based on the compass model made by FPM and utilized by the Police and 'KVP'. See also the poster used by the NVA.


- Great Britain
The Elementary Education Act of 1870 created elected school boards to build & run schools, and this large compass (Ø 7.5" / 160mm) was made for the London School Board by the maker W. W. Hooper, the paper dial reads 'SCHOOL BOARD FOR LONDON - W. W. Hooper: Chester Road, East Ham. E.' The School boards were abolished in 1902 and replaced by Local education Authorities.
- Nautical compasses: Check also "Boxing the compass".
• British Army (until 1955): Official manual Map Reading and Sketching with a chapter about the use of the standard compass type Mark III made by F. Barker & Son (pic at r.)

- U.S.A.: COMPASS GAME for Boy and Girl Scouts (see also the modern SILVA-Version)

See also the chap.  TRAINING and in Marching Comp./SILVA the book Be an expert with map and Compass.
TOP OF PAGE

COOKE, Thomas

PROFILE -  Thomas Cooke was a scientist (read WIKIPEDIA, Th. Cooke (machinist). The company Thomas Cooke & Sons located 14, Great Chapel Street, Westminster, London SW (factory: Buckingham Works, York, England) produced optical instruments like telescopes and survey materiel but was also a retailer for pocket compasses probably made by F. Barker & Son or some other London compass maker.
Pic. at right (View of a 1907 catalogue, courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries Digital Collection).  

CZECH compasses

After World War One (1914-1918), the Austro-Hungarian empire was dismantled and a new state called Czechoslovakia was created. Compasses with cardinals in Czech language appeared apparently for the first time. The state's coat of arms featured a  lion standing (rampant in heraldic language) in a lozenge (see Miscellaneous / Cardinal points / Czech). Materiels used by the armed forces were in addition marked with the letter T.
Note: after the end of the communist era in 1990, two new countries emerged called Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Other Czech items: pocket compass VTD, marching compasses Bézard/Cz and ŠP and wrist compass Kadlec.



Military version


Plain civilian version with only cardinals

(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Diam. : 40 mm


TOP OF PAGE

CONTINUED