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- D -


This dip needle compass was made by a U.S. manufacturer located in Melrose Park, a suburb of Chicago.

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 85mm
- Depth: 27mm
- Weight: 260gr
The cotter pin at the end of the chain is used as a stop for the needle which is then caught between it and the black foam block.

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Paul Guillaume DELCROIX was a French officer (for more information click HERE)
He developped two compass systems. The first one, when he was an army captain, was part of an instrument patented in 1892 (no. 224.290) and called Règle topographique - boussole rapporteur (topographical ruler - protractor compass). It was presented during the 22nd meeting of the 'Association française pour le développement des sciences' (French association for the development of sciences). This description is to be found in the association's meeting minutes published in 1893 in the review LA NATURE (on line accessible on the website of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers).
Delcroix published in 1893 the corresponding user's instructions. We don't know whether this instrument was built in large series and issued to other users than the French Army's survey units.

His other development was a smal hand-held marching compass called boussole directrice (see this category).

Official user instructions (Link to p.1)

Click on drawing above for all views
Patent - figures

(Click on the image for an enlarged view)
Functional description: see patent and user instructions

Technical Data
- Dimensions (fully opened): ... x ... x ... mm
- Weight: ... gr
- Compass: easily removable for separate use
- Divisions: 400 grades
- Mirror: it is covered with a layer of platin, half transparent, has millimeter lines and can be tilted
- Scales on sides:
. left: 1/80,000, 1/40,000e and 1/20,000
. right: metric scales (1/10,000 and 1/100,000 for military and foreign maps
- User instructions: in short on two papers glued on the instrument's rear face and in a comprehensive manual (27 pages, copies can be ordered).
View from above (sun shield flipped backwards) and mirror detail view

Side views
(Click for enlarged view)

Left hand side

Right hand side

(Pict. Jaypee - priv. coll.)
View from aft to front (w/o the mirror)
Excerpt of the users' instruction:
"Echelles des écartements des courbes pour l'équidistance de 1/4 de millimètre de la carte d'état-major et des cartes topographiques en général, ceci pour les pentes usuelles de 1/2 à 10 centièmes en passant par la pente connue de 1/64."

(Click for enlarged view)
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Capitaine Desombre was a French officer. He designed in the late 19th c. a compass (patent no. 230,704) called boussole-guide pantométrique which was manufactured by HOULLIOT (see user instruction below). The first item was sent to him on October 25, 1893 to St-Quentin (France) by the manufacturer*. The system is described in two different documents.
Short description: the divided circle (360°, counter-clockwise) can be rotated with a stylus attached to a chain so as to match the magnetic deviation on the working place. A rotatable arrow (marching course indicator) is attached on top of the crystal. Transparent protractor. Sighting is effected via a hole in the middle of the mirror in the lid. The sighting plane is represented by two lines: one across the mirror and one on the bottom of the compass which can be stuck on top of a simple pole. The mirror can be fixed in any open position by means of a screw.

Four items are still owned by the manufacturer: they are all slightly different regarding their functions und size. Three ressemble the description below, one is attached to a square base plate.

(Click for enlarged views)

The exhaustive booklet
(64 p., 1894)
Technical Data
- Dia. (outer/inner): 58 / 40mm
- Depth: 23 mm
A similar text including a comparison with other systems (Hossard, Burnier, Peigné, Février**) was also published in the Revue du Cercle Militaire in 1896 (photocopies available).

* Source: HOULLIOT's archives
** Famous Géneral, maybe the "father of the boussole directrice". See citation in the French version of this article.
Click on image at l. for a composed view of seral excerpts of the 'Revue du Cercle Militaire'.

AT r.: Figs of the patent

Above: dia. 61 mm,  transparent bottom, no sundial

Left, top: dia. 58mm
Left, bottom: dia. 61mm, correction of deviation via rotatable divided circle (link to pic.).

Model featuring a transparent bottom, attached to a square base plate.

- Dimensions of base plate: 62 x 62 mm
- Steel mirror

On the case RH side are two devices:
the LH one on the picture above ensures the function of the stylus attached by a chain (rotation of the divided circle).

Le RH one near the lid's hinge ensures the positioning of the lid at the right angle when pushed to the left.
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U.S. manufacturer (more information HERE) - Visit also the Virtual Survey Museum (see LINKS).

(Click on the images for enlarged views)

Pictures courtesy Starla Ryer

Brunton transit pocket compass made by Dietzgen

Technical Data

- Levels: two tubes

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Dip (Needle) Compass

Description - Instrument also called inclination compass. It was used to measure the vertical force of the Earth's magnetism. Very precise scientific instruments allow to draw maps of equal inclination (isoclinic).
Picture at right: Instruments made by Brunner and used for establishing the isoclinic map of Spain
(Magnetismo Terrestre, Madrid 1919 - Picture courtesy David Montón Farrioli)

This type of compass was also hold vertically by a large loop and used to detect metallic ore in the ground, especially in the U.S. during the Gold Rush period - which was not efficient since gold is amagnetic.... See also DARLEY above and Schubert & Vialon. Compare with A. Weber's pocket magnetic probe made by FES. 

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Catalog view of a dip compass made by Short & Mason / Tycos
(click on image for full description)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 97mm
- Depth: 19mm
- Weight: 215gr
- Wooden case (octogonal)

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DQL-x / DQY-x

The abbrev. DQL or DQY is the root designation of the compasses built by the Chinese manufacturer HARBIN Optical Instrument Factory (for examples go to CHINA). The D is the first letter of the chinese alphabetic "DiZhi" (地质), which stands for "Geology" or "Geological".


Some instruments bear the signature of Ducatillon. He was an optician located in Paris, 29, Bld. des Capucines. This instrument is called an equinoctial sundial compass (follow the link for more information and examples)

Typo in the address on the case:
Boulevard ist written with a 't' !
Technical Data
- Dimensions: mm
- Probably made in England in the late 19th c.

Pictures by Stephen Ostrow - priv. coll. -
Click on the pictures for enlarged views.


This instrument was designed by a compassmaker lady called Mademoiselle DUPUY who lived in Saint-Maixent where a famous school for officers was created in 1881. This instrument resembles in many respects the famous Paul PEIGNÉ system. It looks as if it were a basic development later improved by Peigné. Compare with Sanguet's instrument.

(Pictures by Jaypee - priv. coll.
Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Measuring an elevation by means of the two sight tabs

Text on brass plate:
Boussole alidade à perpendicule
Melle Dupuy - St-Maixent
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 109 x 79 x 29mm
- Wooden case 


This square-shaped instrument was made by DUTROU Fabricant, Boulevard St Germain 94, Paris. On a later one (in the octogonal case), the address states: Transféré Rue de Savoie 16. No other information available. Both items feature the same characteristics. There is on the rear face a table for slope angles (percentage / degrees), a foldable rear sighting vane, an erectible fore sighting pin and a screw (for makeshift tripod?) that can be stowed in the capsule.e the same characteristics. There is on the rear face a table for slope angles (percentage / degrees), a foldable rear sighting vane, an erectible fore sighting pin and a screw (for makeshift tripod?) that can be stowed in the capsule.

Pics Jaypee - private coll. 

Technical Data
(compass in octogonal case)

- case : 78mm
- compass dia.: 63mm
- cardinals in Engl.
- divisions: 360°, counter clockwise

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- E -


Elliott Brothers (link to profile) was  British company created around 1800-1804 by William Elliott (1781-1853). His two sons Frederick Henry and Charles Alfred are the "brothers" in the company's name.
This compass and clinometer system with rotating prism was designed by the British officer Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hebden O'Grady Haly who also was a surveyor.
Both faces (compass and clinometer) were protected by a metallic casing and only a small portion of each dial was visible under the prism. The sideways rotating prism gave view to both scales on compass and clinometer.

At right: ELLIOTT Bros. catalogue (click on image for enlarged view)

The compass face
(compare with Hutchinson)

Pictures by courtesy of N. Godridge -
Click on the images for enlarged views

This instrument featured two folding sighting vanes and a rotating prism.

Engraving on the clinometer face:
Lt. Colonel O'GRADY HALY's Compass Clinometer Patent
ELLIOTT Bros. London
Technical Data
- Dia: 70mm
- Thickness: 25mm
- Weight: 360grs

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- F -


PROFILE - Retailer company (1828-1834) comprising Abraham van Benschoten FELLOWS (b. 14 Nov. 1786, Rhinebeck, NY - d. 24 Mar. 1861, Buffalo, NY), William READ & J. OLCOTT, New-York City, NY. The name Meneely (inscribed in the centre) was the one of a compass maker in Troy, NY, who also worked for famous 'compass makers' (Gurley etc.). Dimensions - Dia. (compass case int.): 6 1/4" (160mm); overall length: 15" (380mm); vanes height: 6 3/4" (170mm).
Picture courtesy antiquesandmoore


Former German company located in Kassel, Königstor 16, created in 1851 by Otto FENNEL (b. 23.6.1826 - d. 1891). His son Adolf (b. 7.3.1860 - d. 1.5.1953 *) joined the company in 1871. The name was later changed into Otto Fennel Söhne KG. Fennel manufactured mainly optical and measuring instruments like theodolites. The company was sold in 1968 to Steinheil Lear Siegler AG and the production moved to Munich/Ismaning. Later, the joint venture Theis, Wolzhausen und Führer & Co. located in Baunatal/Kassel near Otto's workshop location, bought the production and selling rights for the Fennel instruments. The name was changed into GEO FENNEL in 1978.
* This date appears in a company's description (link to p. 1, full copy available) transmitted as a pdf document by GEO-FENNEL. On many websites the date indicated is 1.3.1953.

Bottom with Guilloché design

Pictures by courtesy of H. Waldmann
Click on the images for enlarged views

Technical Data
- Dia.: 67,4 mm
- Thickness: 13,9 mm
- Weight: 111 g
- Divisions: 360° counter clockwise
- Clinometer: 2 x 90° and collapsible ruler
- Transit lock: disc actuated via a lever in the neck
- Compass glass and bottom lid hinged

NOTE: Compare to Breithaupt's model
Rider compass for theodolites

Catalogue 1952 - Miner compass

Pictures by courtesy of Fletch Bruno
Click on the images for enlarged views

Technical Data
- Dim.: identical to BRUNTON

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FPM Holding - Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik

German company located in Freiberg, Saxony (more information HERE).  See also Marching Compasses and Wrist Compasses.

Spiegelkompass (mirror compass - 1957)
(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

On the green model used in the GDR's Army NVA, the logo didn't comprise the company's name.
Technical Data
- Diameter: 68 mm
- Length: 100 mm
- Breadth: 58 mm,
- Serial No.: 63858
- Pendulum clinometer, level gauge, mirror (in the lid).
- Material: aluminium.
The vanes' ends are shaped with opposite hooks so that the compass can be hung on a string in a mine gallery to measures angles.
(surveyor's compass, c. 1970)

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

Clinometer (5 grades) and Level
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 93 x 75 x 22 mm
- Clinometer (lock at underside), double levels
Markings: FPM Logo and DDR

User's manual (VEB FPM, DDR)

(Pictures courtesy Struck)
Miner's compass (1965)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 110 mm
- Length: 240 mm
- Depth: 120 mm
- Serial No.: 54515

This compass is used suspended on a string along the axis of mines galleries to measure their orientation.
Click on link for description.
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Probably made in China. FOX is the only indication given on the box.

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

The capsule's luminosity is also used for the clinometer

Conventional lensatic-type compass

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 85 x 60 x 28 mm
- Weight: 130 g
- Divisions: 360 deg./6400 mils, clockwise
- Clinometer: two 90-deg ranges (red and black figures), locked when not in use, visible in complete darkness
- Distance measuring dial (3 scales): 1:25.000, 1:50.000, 1:100.000
- Lid: sighting system with rangemeter
- Side sight for clinometer
- Casing material: plastic


Rudolf FUESS was a German company (more information HERE). See also category Marching compasses.
The instrument in the 1st row was visibly integrated in an (unknown) equipment with mirror because the cardinals are printed inverted under the glas window. It could be attached to this equipment by means of a locking mechanism and a small rectangular fitting located on the casing's side. Paper with luminous paint was glued onto the needle and on a black bar located under the needle. One half of the black bar is made of black cardboard, the other half is the metallic transit lock lever. On either side of the North mark (NNE and NNW) is a rectangular black paint patch with a dot of luminous paint on the reverse (see pictures below). A disk of plastic on which the company's name is printed is attached with 2 screws to the bottom of the casing.

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 2 1/2" - 63 mm
- Depth: 4/5" - 20 mm
- Weight: 150 gr
- Divisions: only main cardinals
- Date: approx. WWII
Model identical to the BRUNTON POCKET TRANSIT design
The table of sines engraved on the case bottom features a triangle with the designation of the alpha zero angle and the three sides.
Note the position of W on the eastern side of the dial like on the original US made instrument.

Pictures by courtesy of Th. Steffen
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- G -


Henri GAMBEY was a French scientist (1787-1847, see Wikipedia, French version). He invented or improved several instruments among others a highly precise deviation compass for which he was awarded a gold medal at the International Exhibition in 1824.

Picture courtesy Larousse 1930
(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
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 GAMBS was a French manufacturer / retailer of optical instruments like microscopes.
Several generations ran the shop located in Lyon. His name appears here on a surveyor's lensatic compass model NT1 made by the Swiss manufacturer WILD.


Otto A. Ganser (Vienna, Austria) was the (manufacturer/retailer?) of a M.15-type compass (compare with the M.13 model under Goerz below). A marking on top of the cover reads GOERZ / Bratislava. He also signed his own very early version of the Bézard compass.

Richt-Bussole M.15

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Inside the cover: map of the isogons for central & south Europe in Czech language dated Jan. 1, 1926 (check GOERZ for German version dated 195)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 140 mm
- Weight: 1107 gr
- Divisions: 6400 MILS, counterclockwise
- S/N: 1107
- Level
- Needle transit lock: lever rotating by 180 deg.
- Adaption of magnetic declination: 1-300 mils.


Joseph William A. GARDAM was an American inventor living in New York, 96 John St., NY. He was granted a patent for improvements of a dipping-needle compass designated Meridian Finder. The patent no. 682,585 was granted in 1901 (application date 1897). However, the same compass design and designation bears the inscription PAT. Nov. 2, 1880 without any number. We suppose that there were some problems with the first appplication. On one of these instruments a scale shows only the dipping angle scale on one side where the other side can be used as a full compass but this is not visible in the patent figures. Name and address (link to picture) are not indicated on all instruments. The free floating movement of the needle supporting bars seems to be obtained differently in the patented solution.

Meridian Finder - Dipping-Needle side

Picture by courtesy of junktique1
(Click on images for enlarged views)
Meridian Finder -
Four quadrants side

Pictures by courtesy of
J. Mcanally
Technical Data
- Diameter: approx. 88 mm
- Needle pivot: between two mobile curved bars (see pic at right)
- Divisions: 2 x 90 and 4 x 90 deg
- No. 223/759: signification unknown


GAUMONT was a French company which built a simplified version of the marching compass Modèle 1922 and a telecompass for aircraft (see the company profile in this category). This instrument is described in a document stamped "Centre de Perfectionnement des Sous-officiers de Carrière d'Infanterie des Sables-d'Olonne / Deuxième Compagnie (Mitrailleuses)" i.e. Training Center for Infantry Petty Officers in Les Sables d'Olonne / 2nd Company (Machine gun units - follow the link). It was called Modèle 1926. This eight-pages document is presumably a draft since there are many (visibly corrected) typos. Moreover, the letters C and P were attributed twice for different items: C for crochet (hook) and couvercle (lid) and P for plateau (divided circle) and poussoir (push-button)! On the other hand, certain items noted in the text together with a letter don't appear on the drawing like V for the screw (vis) securing the position of the bezel pointer. Three images are missing but nothing shows that they have ever been glued or lost. The 3rd one depicted the handling of the compass, namely like the HOSSARD model with the mirror leaned against one's chest (see further down), i.e. hold in one hand with the mirror deployed at an angle of about 150°. The target is to be observed over the erected sighting aid located at the far end by looking downwards in the mirror.

Pictures courtesy A. Coubard

Technical Data
- Dim.:  170 x 84 x 19mm
- Divisions: 400 gradians clockwise
- Transparent bottom, mica plate painted with three bars.
- Rulers (overall length case fully opened): 160mm
- Compass bezel with marching course pointer 
- Device for adaption of magnetic declination
- Mirror painted with two aiming bars and one large radio-luminescent arrow


Available documentation

Description and user instructions (8 p. in French language) plus a full-page drawing
To order copies, please ask the curator via the CONTACT button


Russian compass maker
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Model name of a compass made by the Italian manufacturer BIMA MECCANICA S.A.S. DI E. MAGISTRELLI & C - OFFICINE MECCANICHE DI PRECISIONE) located via Alcide de Gasperi 95 in 20017 MAZZO MILANESE (Italy)

Pictures courtesy Jaypee - Private coll. FPM

(Click on the images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Dim.: 120 x 60 mm
- Weight: 110 g
- Divisions: 360° counterclockwise
- Clinometer +/- 90 degrees, indicated in Italian: "gradi"

View and description in a company's document.

Geolestochpribor (Геолесточприбор)

Company located in the former Soviet Union, in Leningrad. 
Picture at right: Schmalcalder-type compass, c. 1930 (courtesy S. Istakhow)  
(See more instruments on the website Russian survey compasses)

Geologorazvedka (Геологоразведка)

Company located in the former Soviet Union, in Leningrad.
Click on picture at right for view of the compass, 1952 (courtesy S. Istakhow)  
(See more instruments on the website Russian survey compasses)
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The former manufacturer Geophysical Instrument Co. was first located in Washington D.C. became later a division of GEORATOR Corp.
Manassas, VA. (now GISCO, Geophysical Instrument and Supply Company - No other information currently available. Your help is needed).

Pictures courtesy J. Bumgarner 
(Click on the images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Compass dim.: base 5 x 5" (125 x 125mm), dia.: 3 ¾" (95mm), divisions: quadrants (4 times 90°)
- Magnetometer: 3 ½ x 1 ¼ x 1 ½ " (90 x 30 x 35mm), scale: 0-5 millioersted
- Ser. No.: G2/41
- The needle features a sliding counterweight for use at any place in the world.

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Geophysika / Геофизика: s. UOMZ

GeoPriborTsvetMet (ГеоПриборЦветМет)

Company in the former Soviet Union located in Moscow.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Pictures Ted Brink (
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 110 x ... x ... mm
- Weight: ... gr
- Divisions: ....


GEOSTROYIZYSKANIYA (GSI) is a russian manufacturer of survey materiel. The company's website displays a virtual museum with several antique compasses.
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GERLACH  (герляxь)

G. Gerlach was a German manufacturer of measuring and drawing instruments located in Warsaw, Tamka 40, Poland (for more information click HERE - See also Marching compasses). The home town name of the manufacturer's address in Warsaw is also indicated in French: Varsovie or Russian варшава. The maker's name appears also in cyrillic letters: герляxь.

Picture courtesy M. Porzelt
Technical Data
- Side length of compass base plate:
7 ½ in. / 190mm
- Compass diameter: 5 ¾  in. / 145mm
- Graduation: 360° clockwise
- Extendable and foldable sighting vanes, overall length: 17 ¼ in. / 440mm, 1½  in. / 40mm broad with additional sighting holes for measuring elevation angles
- Manufacturing period: late 19th c.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Picture courtesy W. Wladyga

Technical Data
Dia.: 3 30/32 in. / 98mm
The production year is probably encoded in the Serial Number: 1929

The instrument at left features the same design as the U.S. Forestry Compasses (Brunton, Gurley, Lietz etc.), i.e. counter-clockwise 360° divisions (resulting into inverted positions of East and West, O / W in German language) and four quadrants.

Picture courtesy B. Dobrev
Model exported to Russia. Below: the manufacturer's name and home city written in cyrillic letters.
Dim.: 130 x 130mm

At right: cover of a price list in Russian (note the different spelling of the maker's name and home town) and list of compasses.   

Pictures courtesy M. Ivanov

Jakubowski's Bézard-Type Version
A system allowing a precise setting of the magnetic declination was developed in 1933 by Olgierd Jakubowski (Warsaw, patent no. 20963*). A disk with a sliding ruler at the capsule's base could be rotated by the declination's angular figure and locked with two screws. The sliding ruler would be then used like the East-West-bar of the original Bézard compass. This ruler also pushed the needle upwards when closing (transit lock).
* German version available
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GK-2 (ГK-2 / горный компас)

The GK-2 is a mining compass (GK is the abbr. of gornii kompas / горный компас). It was built in the 1970's by the soviet era export conglomerate Mashpriborintorg (MPI, Машприборинторг) located in Moscow. The logo on this compass was apparently a hand grenade (for MPI's logo see WIKIPEDIA).
The modell GK-2B had in addition a mirror and a sight (see drawing).
Circumferentor GC-2 is designed to determine the azimuth and angle of the fall line marking the plane of rock samples. Used in magnetic survey, with geological and geophysical studies to determine the elements of bedding rock strata.
Compass housing is made of aluminum alloy. The lack of polymer materials eliminates the impact of electrification on the testimony of a magnetic needle, made of alloy 52KF-TM (vikalloya). The northern end of the arrow is painted white, and the southern end of wearing a copper coil to balance the vertical component of the earth's magnetic field in the northern hemisphere.

Model GK-2B

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

The hand grenade logo and the cyrillic letter 3 (latin 'z') which stands for the Russian word zapad, West (see MISCELLANEOUS / Cardinal points / Russian)
Model GK-2
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 115 x 77 x 24 mm
- Diameter: 70 mm
- Weight: 200 gr
- Graduation: 360 deg., counter-clockwise
- Deviation adapter: +/- 10 deg on rear face, coin operated,
- Conversion table: alpha (0-90) / sin alpha (0-100)
- S/No.: 8866, date 1974
- Tube level: one
- Clinometer: (0 ± 90) °, push-button released
- Transit lock: screw released
- Case: aluminum
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The German company Carl Paul GOERZ Optische Anstalt was created in 1886 in Berlin (quoted from WIKIPEDIA).
We display below two versions of an artillery compass (WW1 and WW2). See also the improved model called M.15 signed GANSER.
The latter was built by several companies, among them the famous camera manufacturer Carl Zeiss (Jena).
Goerz also produced in the late 19th c. a special compass similar to the ones below but divided into 5760 MILS (1 unit equals 1/16th of a degree). This particular division system was used until the year 2000 in the German Artillerie-Aufklärung (Artillery-Reconnaissance unit).

See also Pocket compasses.

Pictures by courtesy of Graham Dalby

(Click for enlarged views)

Inside the cover, a map of the isogons for Central Europe in German dated Jan. 1, 1915 (check GANSER for Czech version, 1926)

The logo made of the three letters CPG engraved on the cover

Richt-Bussole M.15 (1915)
echnical Data
- Diameter: 140 mm
- Weight: 1107 gr
- Divisions: 6400 MILS counterclockwise
- In the lid: luminous dots on Map of Central Europe
- S/N: 364
- Level
- Needle transit lock deactivation: depressing by hand the spring-loaded lever
- Markings: M.15 Richt-Bussole (aiming compass), Wien u. Pozsony (names of Goerz' plants in Vienna, Austria and Pozsony, former Hungarian designation of Bratislava, today's capital of Slovakia, which was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918).

Bottom view (s. detail at r.)

Pictures by courtesy of interenchères
(Click for enlarged views)

The letters R Č S engraved on the bottom stand for Republika Česko- Slovenska (first Czechoslovak Republic, 1918-1939)
Richt-Bussole M.15
Technical Data

(same as above)
- S/N: 2359
- Marking on base (top left with arrow): Hilfsziel (auxiliary target)
- Marking on fore aiming bar: Ziel (target)
- Markings on compass face: M.15 Richt-Bussole (aiming compass), BRATISLAVA (Bratislava was the new name of the slovakian city after the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled after WW1).

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 115 x 105 x 26 mm
- Diameter: 100 mm
- Weight: 600 gr
- Graduation: 6400 mils, clockwise
- Needle damping: by eddy current
Detail view of support: see ZEISS

LEVEL (link to comparison with the French and Swiss systems called sitomètre)

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Pictures courtesy Arthur

The side ruler allows direct reading of distances in kilometers on maps with a scale of 1:20,000
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 60 x 50 x 22 mm
- Weight: ca. 250 gr
- Optical scale in angular Mils:

Goszavod / ГОСЗАВОД: s.  UOMZ


Russian compass signed P. I. GROMOV ( ГРОМОВЪ ) in Moscow.
Note the cardinal points in German.


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William and Lewis Ephraim Gurley were two brothers (more information HERE).

Click on the picture for a detailed view of the dial
Technical Data
- Dimensions (closed): 80 x 80 x 28 mm
- Weight: 120 gr
- Graduation: 4 quadrants, E & W cardinals swapped
- Material: wooden box in a commonly used shape (see also Busch, Wardale, Morin, S-L etc...)

Some items feature on the lid a device with two ratchet wheels numbered 1-16. This is a chain counter used by surveyors. The U.S. chain length calculate easily into acres & miles. If the surveyor's sight line runs North or South, every measured chain is counted once on the N-S dial. Conversely, if the surveyor's sight line runs East or West, every measured chain is counted once on the E-W dial.
1 surveyor's chain = 66 feet; 16 x 66 = 1056
1 mile = 5280 feet; 5280 / 5 = 1056 feet = 1/5th of a mile = 0.2 miles
1 acre = 1/640 of a square mile; 1 square mile = 640 acres;
1 acre = 66 feet × 660 feet (43,560 square feet);
1 square acre = approx. 208.71 feet × 208.71; 1 acre = 4,840 square yards
1 acre = 43,560 square feet

Picture courtesy T. Winter

Device invented by E.D. Stewart, Eagle Rivers, Wisc.

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- H -


The company's history:
- November 1870: The precision mechanics Arwed and Richard Hahn create a workshop in Cassel (written now Kassel) which will later become A. & R. Hahn, Cassel, Institut für militärwissenschaftliche Instrumente (Institute for military scientific instruments).
- 1910: joint venture with Actiengesellschaft (AG, limited company) Hahn für Optik und Mechanik, located in Ihringshausen/Cassel and with Optische Anstalt C. P. Goerz (Berlin) which was the leader.
- 1927: the company AG Hahn Optik und Mechanik, Kassel, is bought by Zeiss Ikon created in 1926.

Technical Data
- Dia.: 85 mm
- Divisions: 2 x 3200 MILS
- Weight: 262 g
- Material: mostly aluminum
- Manufacture period: approx. 1920-1927

(Pictures courtesy H. Brenner)


The name Haja appears on a German map reading instrument of which many bear the name ZIKO (link to main entry).
No information about this maker is available.

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HARBIN Optical Instrument Factory

HARBIN Optical Instrument Factory is a Chinese manufacturer located in Harbin, province Heilongjiang (s. a. CHINA). The compass models are designated via an abbreviation (DL, DQL or DQY) and are partly Chinese adaptions of famous European or U.S. items made among others by Breithaupt, FPM, Keuffel & Esser (Brunton type), Suunto etc. The company's logo (at right) depicts the name of the city of Harbin 哈爾濱市 inscribed within a prism and a concave optical lens. The abbreviations DQL or DQY is the root designation of the compasses. The D is the first letter of the chinese alphabetic "DiZhi" (地质), which stands for "Geology" or "Geological".

DQL-5, -4, -7 (read more about this item in Marching Compasses / CHINA)

DL-1 - Production discontinued.

NOTE: compare to the low-tech version Brunton CADET compass.

Models DQL-3 and -8, DQY-1 (compare to the BRUNTON-type pocket transit compass)

DQL-2A (compare to similar instruments made among others by FPM und BÜCHI)

DQL-16B (compare to SUUNTO's products)


Electronic multifunction instrument comprising among others a barometer and a laser pointer.
Case shape and dimensions similiar to model DQL-8 above.

Technical data of the non magnetic functions (click on link for view of table)

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Joseph Hart was a British manufacturer. He worked 1785 – 1801 from no. 5, Digbeth, Birmingham.

Technical Data
- Dimensions (closed): 160mm square x 35mm thick
- Dial diameter: 145mm calibrated on outer chapter ring to 360°
- Weight: 800g 
- Hand engraved, silver-coated dial, blued steel needle with gold “N” and “S”.
- Transit lock engages when lid is closed
- Signature: “Hart Fecit Birming. m” (around centre of dial)

(Pictures by courtesy of
Click on the picture at left for a detailed view of the dial)


Max Hildebrand was a predecessor of FPM, Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik, successor of August Lingke & Co. More info about M.H. in Wikipedia (German).

Technical Data
- Dimensions (vanes folded): 100mm square x 20mm thick

Picture at left by courtesy of S. Istakhov
Miner hanging compass
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Ebenezer HOPPE was instrument maker in London in the early 19th c. He also made sextants. Picture courtesy Jehanath
Technical Data - Diameter: 130mm


Paul-Michel Hossard (1787-1862) was lieutenant-colonel d'état-major, former professeur de géodésie et d'astronomie at the Ecole Polytechnique (source: his books). He gave his name to this augmented version of a common compass (s. Busch). It was quoted by Cptn Desombre in 1896 in the Revue du Cercle Militaire in the description of his own system, in the Polytechnisches Journal (1877) in Ostoya's own system's description and was still offered in the MORIN catalogue (1930's).

HOSSARD's compass system

Simple version in cheap wood
Picture courtesy Jaypee - private collection

Houlliot's version with  clinometer in mahogany casing
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 81 x 81 x 20mm
- Weight: 132gr
- Sighting device with centre-line in mirror and foldable vane as rear sight
- Case material: mahogany

(Click on the image for the MORIN catalogue description in French)
Short user instr. published in capitaine Brèche's lecture course on milit. survey (Ecole Milit. d'Infanterie, St-Maixent, 1911)

(Click on image for view of full text)

Sophisticated version featuring a clinometer with a table (link to full view w/o mirror) akin to MORIN's clisimètre. It was offered in the catalogue of BALBRECK.

Measuring a slope's angle: the compass dial is partly covered with a mirror in which the pendulum and the scale are visible.
At left: view from above while taking a bearing. The compass is held horizonzally with the lid inclined in such a way that the target, the erected bar and the centre-line in the mirror are on one line.
Centre: The pendulum is locked when not working. The release device is a button located on the external face of the lid (link to pic.).
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PROFILE - Former French company located in the Marais district in Paris (more information HERE).
This company manufactured many different compass types for French retailers and exported worlwide but didn't sign his products.
Here are some examples:
1 - Berget-type prismatic compass
2 - Pocket-type survey compass - Description (excerpt from a MORIN catalogue dated ca.1930)
Survey compass made of brass, with a slide-in lever for measuring slope angles. Double divisions: clinometer on the bottom plate and angles on superelevated ring (level with the needle) for azimuth angles. The transit lock is actuated by a piston sliding through the attachment ring stud.
3 - Survey compass with vanes and levels
(4, 5 & 6 : ses below)

See also Houlliot's Pocket and Nautical compasses (and also Desombre). Also worth a visit, the equinoctial compasses (with sundial).

1 - Berget system

Below: User instructions

2 - Compass with clinometer

Technical Data
- Diameter: 62mm
- Depth: 17mm
- Weight: 115gr
- Material: Brass

The clinometer's zero mark coincides with the compass north mark. It lies on a line defined by the end of the pulled out lever and the rim of the case. See also BLOCH and a similar item signed by the Italian manufacturer of optical instruments, SALMOIRAGHI made of aluminum.
3 - System with two tube levels, clinometer and declination adjustment (+/- 30°)

4 - Instr. with two flat vanes (comp. dia.: 58mm) and
5 - plane table compasses (large model: length 220mm, +/-30 deg)


Pictures by courtesy of Michel Collignon 
(Click on the images for enlarged views)

6 - Special compass for prospectors and sewers workers: it can be held by the long grip, wearing protection gloves.

The face is divided in 360° clockwise numbered every 20°. Dia.: 53 mm

Instrument listed in a E. VION catalogue dated 1910 (Click on image for full descr.)
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HUEL, Henri

PROFILE - French officer (capitaine) who designed a compass manufactured by Antoine BIANCHI, an optician engineer located in Toulouse. He also designed a plane table system with integrated compass.

Click on the picture at left for a detailed view of the dial)
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 100 x 70 x 10mm
- Dial diameter: 55 mm
- Divisions: 4 x 100 grades
- Clinometer
- Sighting aides foldable blades
- Inscr.: SGDG (French patent marking, see Miscell. / Terminology / Abbrev.) w/o no.
- Side ruler: 2 x 0-500
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PROFILE - Former French company located in Paris (76, boulevard de la Vilette - momentarily no other information available).
The instrument shown below is called Modèle 26 M.57 which means that it is a version modified in 1957 (this French numbering system corresponds to the U.S. and British designation Mark 1, 2 etc.) It is marked Boussole topographique (i.e. survey compass) but together with the abbreviation M.G. for Ministère de la Guerre, which means it was issued to the armed forces by France's War Department (and probably also Belgium's).
The exact positioning of the divisions ring's inner black line in front of the needle was made possible by means of a prism attached to a swivelling fitting. The latter is stiffened on this item compared with the original design built by CRC. The compass's line of sight is represented by another black line drawn opposite to the knurled screw. The magnetic deviation could be adapted to a half degree. The corresponding scale features divisions from 20° West (occidt) to 5° East.

The models 26 and 26 M. 57

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)
Technical data
- Dimensions: 111 x 97 x 30/80 mm
(prism fitting folded / erected) 
- Weight: 295 gr
- Divisions : 400 grades, clockwise
- Luminous markings on the base frame's left beam:
fore: one arrow; aft: three dots.
- Prism for precise needle observation
-Transit lock (half circle-shaped lever) and divisions ring lock (knurled screw head)
- Below at left: detail view of the needle in the capsule.
- center: Drawing in the booklet L'Orientation by Cptn. H. Seignobosc, Berger-Levrault, 1952
- at right: - à dr. : drwg in doct. Minist. de la Déf. Nat. et de la Guerre, Service Technique du Génie (STG), Instr. prov. sur les ponts d'équipage, 1939.
(photocopies avlbl.)


This is maybe the ancestor of all French sitomètres but this one features no compass.

Technical Data
Dim.: 59 x 47 x 9 mm

On the rear face are 2 rulers: one in centimeters and the other for measuring distances on French military maps (scale: 1/80,000).
Modified version (1923/24) of the artillery level system called sitomètre.
Abbrev.: M.G. = Ministère de la Guerre
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PROFILE - British design (probably late 19th c.) of a prismatic compass. It appears in the F. Barker's catalogues from 1909 on.
This exhibit is signed Major Hutchinson's Improved - A & N C.S.L., the abbrev. of Army and Navy Co-operative Society Limited.
Further hand-engraved markings on top and reverse give some indication about the owner who probably served during the Boer War:
- Upper side: "M. Portal - B.B. Police (?) - Fort Calevanes (?) S. Africa"
- Reverse: "Maurice PORTAL - Heath (?) Rgt"
This instrument type is also called a 4 in. (10 cm) prismatic compass in P. Dériaz's Manual (1917), pic. at left, 2nd row.
(see also M1918)

Markings on both sides

(click on picture above and below for enlarged views)
The fleur-de-lys (North symbol, as seen through the window above the protection glass facing the figure 180 deg (printed inverted to be read through the prism):

  The compass as shown in the BARKER catalogue (1909)

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 100 mm (4")
- Depth (casing): 17 mm
- Weight: 207 gr
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- I -

Inclination Compass


International Instrument Company

Light survey compass produced in 1905 by I.I.C., a company located near the M.I.T. in Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A. (follow link to ad © Smithsonian Inst.). The logo is composed of the initials I.I.C. in italic. The lid features a mirror inside. Two tiny grooves along the N-S axis but apparently no sighting aid. One half of the compass bottom is transparent (glass window). The needle is made of two blades (soldered at their ends) as was the case already in the 17th c. (link to examples in the book Der Kompass by Schück, 1911). Wire transit lock for needle. Dimensions: Dia.: 2.5", height: .700".


PROFILE - IPZ is the abbreviation of Изюмский приборостроительный завод (Izyumsky Instrument Manufacturing Plant) established in 1923 in the city of Izyum near Kharkiv, Ukrainia: Optical instrumentation and optical glass. Since December 2010, the company is part of the military-industrial complex / военно-промышленный комплекс (ВПК) within the group Ukroboronprom (Укроборонпром).
IPZ' logo features two optical lenses in the vertical branches of a cyrillic letter И (= i). Examples: go to BG-1 and BK-20.
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- J - 


PROFILE - Walter Jaklitsch is a passionate, non-specialist Austrian who built in 1,400 hrs this single instrument and its wooden case all by himself. The comprehensive user instruction is a high-quality booklet stowed inside the lid. The braking system of the needle oscillations works via a hand-operated lever. Unfortunately, this purely mechanical solution (akin to general Peigné's long pin design) was no longer appropriate for a GPS-oriented modern world.

Pictures courtesy W. Jaklitsch

Click on the image above for a group view of the instrument

Excerpt of user instr.
Click on image for legend
Technical Data
Dim. of compass: 152 x 170 x 70 mm
Weight: 3,2 kg (total weight: 7,4 kg)
Compass dia.: ? mm, needle length: 80 mm
Dim. of case: 240 x 240 x 185 mm
Divided circle: 360° counter-clockwise, precision: 1°.
Declination adjustment range: +/- 35°
Date of manufacture: 2002-2003


Japanese mining hanging compass, maybe from the late Edo period, circa 1850-1868 but still listed in a 1910 TAMAYA (link to pic) catalogue. It is gimballed and has a fixed socket.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Pictures by courtesy of J. Armstrong
Technical Data
- Dimensions (dial diam. x height, vanes folded down): 3-3/4 x 8/12  inches (95 x 215mm)
- Weight: 1 lb.-12 oz  (780 grs)
- Cardinal points: 12 rumbs (see RELIGION / Chinese tradition)
- Manufacturer (engraving on the rear face in pre-1868 Kanji script): Noriyuki Ohno, Kofu
Sometimes, the name is spelled Ono. His father was Ono Norisada, and Noriyuki had a son, Ono Norichika (1820-1886). These three generations were knowledgeable in astronomy and engineering.

Pictures by courtesy of A. Husser
Technical Data
- Overall height (on gimbal): 8 in / 200 mm
- Compass Ø: 4 in / 100 mm
- Divisions: 6400 Mils, counter clockwise
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JONES, Thomas

PROFILE - Thomas JONES (1775-1852) was a British manufacturer. He worked 62, Charing Cross, London from 1810 to 1850. He was apprenticed to and worked for the famous Jesse Ramsden (quoted from the Directory of British Scientific Instrument Makers, 1850-1851 - by Gloria Clifton). He built in 1811 for the inventor Captn. H. Kater (see below) the first "prismatic compass". In fact, this instrument featured a mirror and a lens. Such an instrument was displayed during a meeting at the Admiralty in 1915 (excerpt of minutes). A real prismatic compass (i.e. with a magnifying prism) was patented by Schmalcalder in the following year.
See also Barker in this section.

Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the dial

This series instrument has a transit case like the one below but oval

Technical Data
- Case dia.: 72mm
- Dial dia.: 66mm, white paper dial, Divisions: 360 deg. half degrees.
- Vane height: 56mm
- Weight: 130g
- Case material: lacquered brass

The glass is secured via three brackets.
The sighting optics is made of two distinct parts: a lens and a mirror.

Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the dial
The red Morocco leather transit case, lined in burgundy velvet

Pictures by courtesy of TML
Early example of a prismatic compass manufactured under Schmalcalder’s Patent.

Technical Data
- Case diameter (without protrusions): 70mm
- Diameter (incl. protrusions): 95mm
- Dial diameter: 82mm, green paper dial
- Case material: lacquered brass
- Weight (compass only): 160g

The sighting optics is made of one magnifying prism.
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- K -

Kasper & Richter

(go to K&R)

KATER, Henry

Henry Kater was a British officer and scientist (more information HERE. As an astronomer he was interested in determining with precision the position of the meridian. He had the idea of replacing the rear sight (usually a slotted vane) by a fitting comprising a mirror and a lens above the card's rim to observe the position of the sun in the opposite vane's mirror. The fitting could be removed and placed in a corner compartment of the transit box. The compass shown here is possibly an original prototype. The inscription ‘H. Kater, Invt.’ is hand written in ink. The scale is also hand inscribed, the numbers being reversed so that they can be read in the mirror. A small series was built in the following years by Thomas JONES (above).
Picture courtesy collection Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences MAAS Sydney Photo Marinco Kojdanovski
The system was patented in the following year by Schmalcalder who further developed it by replacing mirror and lens by a magnifying prism. The French Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM, Paris) calls a compass made by Morin in the late 19th C. a KATER-type compass although it is a typical Schmalcalder-type with prism and dark filters like F. Barker & Son's. The Imperial Austrian Army also called the standard compass systems "Kater-Kompass" which were then replaced before WW1 by the famous Bézard system.


 (go to  Keuffel & Esser below)


PROFILE - Former Swiss company (for more information click HERE - see also in the category MARCHING COMPASSES). The instrument below known as a KERN / RECTA 85 is the result of a cooperation with RECTA (famous for his matchbox compass). It is called a Sitometer in German Swiss language and sitomètre in French, i.e. an artillery level. Compare with BÜCHI's original model.
Picture at right: Survey compass with tube level, mid 19th c (donated by Markus Jakob)

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Pictures by courtesy of Jürgen Zieringer
Artillery level (SITOMETER) 85

Technical Data
- Dimensions: ... x ... x ... mm
- Weight: g
- Tritium illumination, marking: H-3. 6 mCi/C14 90 µCI.

Manual (in German language) is available.
Ask the curator for photocopies.
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K&R (Kasper & Richter)

PROFILE - K&R is a German company (more information HERE). They produce the same high quality compasses than WILKIE whose patents were taken over in 2005. K&R is currently supplying a special version (marching compass without clinometer scale) with a luminous compass card to the Netherlands' Armed Forces.
See Marching compasses.

Model MERIDIAN PRO with adjustable prism and fluid-filled thermoelastical capsule. This compass is almost identical with a former model made by WILKIE.

This instrument was generously donated to the Compass Museum by K&R.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 99 x 63 x 30 mm
- Weight: 210 g
- Box level
- Inclination meter with percentage and gradient scale
- Conversion tables for mils/degrees, percentage/gradient and width/distance (underside, black).
- Material of case and lid: blackened metal
- Luminescent ring and disk on the newest items

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PROFILE - US Company New York (more information HERE)
See also Pocket Compasses. Pic at right: ad about a 'dip-needle' compass.

(Pict. J. Galasso - Click for enlarged views)

Compass procured for the US-Army by the Engineers Department.
Technical Data
- Dimensions: ... x ... x ... mm
- Divisions : 360 deg
- Material: Aluminum, dark grey paint
- Fore sight: thin metallic blade in an opening in the lid
- Production date: 1909

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

Forestry compass
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 83 x 75 x 18 mm
- Weight: 190 gr
- Divisions: 360 deg. counterclockwise

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.
Compare with the A. LIETZ Forest Service compass.
- Inclination meter in degrees
- Material of case and lid: aluminum, black paint

Keuffel & Esser's version of BRUNTON's famous POCKET TRANSIT COMPASS.
(All pictures courtesy A. Sancho Urbina except below J. Erwin) )

NORTH is indicated by a fleur-de-lis and not by a star.

The User's instructions
Copies can be ordered (see SHOP)


(Click on images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Case: aluminium
- Division: 360 deg., counterclockwise but also available with 4 quadrants
- Dimensions: 75 x 70 x 30 mm
- Weight: 235 gr
- Table of natural sines on top of some series
(see also Brunton and FAKES)

This item was made approximately in 1943 based on the July 1926 patent. This model was the first Brunton Transit Pocket Compass not designed by David Brunton himself. It was designed by Carl M. Bernegau for Keuffel & Esser. Only the sights show some little differences: the holes are round and smaller than on David Brunton's original patent. Furthermore, the sight in the lid folds towards the mirror.

(Click on the picture for a detailed view of the dial)

(Pictures courtesy G. de Villèle - priv. coll.)
Keuffel & Esser version of a compass type that was also made (later?) by Warren Knight and called CRUISER. LEUPOLD also proposed two versions of this compass (in 1957?) with a modernized and simplified dial.

The table inside the cover (square with 36 boxes) represents the new system of numbering for the sections (640 acres, one mile square) in a township. This system was created by U.S. 3rd president Thomas Jefferson (probably when he still was Governor of Virginia at the turn of the 18th c.) and designed for the westward expansion. It replaced the more traditional survey system that placed most property boundaries along natural (stream, etc.) topographic features. Read more details in LEUPOLD.

Technical Data
- Casing: Aluminum
- Divisions: 360°, counterclockwise and 4 quadrants
- Dimensions: 90 x 100 mm
- Weight: ? g
- Manufactured: middle of 20th c.
- Correction of magnetic deviation by means of a screw accessible from the underside of the casing (picture: see the comparable LEUPOLD system).

Theodolite 19th C.
Pics Jaypee - priv. coll..

The 1913 catalogue displayed 19pp of compasses:  Mining Compass,Surveying Compasses, Geologist's Compass, Prismatic Compasses, Sight Compasses, Compasses with Clinometer, Boat Compasses, Special Pocket Compasses, Pocket Compasses, Timber Cruiser Compass, Forester Compass.

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KGG-1 / КГГ-1

PROFILE - Russian compass model for mines and geology - Abbrev. stands for Компас горно-геологический, made by GEOSTROYIZYSKANIYA (GSI) / ГЕОСТРОЙИЗЫСКАНИЯ (ГСИ)


PROFILE - Italian company

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
Lensatic-type compass with adjustable lens
The case is identical with WILKIE's MERIDIAN model. The clinometer of the MERIDIAN PRO prismatik model was added. The glass in the lid features a sighting device with a distance measuring system and a small lens allowing for higher precision when taking a bearing of distant objects.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 100 x 65 x 30 mm; Weight: 305 g
- Divisions: 360 deg., clockwise
- Level: round
- Clinometer: Pendulum system, degrees and gradient (in 3 languages: German, Italian, Spanish)
- Casing material: Aluminium
- Made in PRC (People's Republic of China)
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PROFILE - E. KRAFT & Sohn was an Austrian manufacturer located in Vienna IV, Theresianumgasse 27.
They built among other intruments a prototype of G. OSTOYA's system.

(Click on the images for an enlarged view)

(Pictures courtesy Jaypee - private coll.)

Drawing courtesy of the A. von Humbodt University Berlin.
Click on image to jump to the OSTOYA entry.
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