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- M -


Lensatic compass used by the U.S. Army. This designation applies to a compass system with several designs.
The original and quite heavy version described here was based on the design of the DOLLOND compass described in a 1926 F. BARKER & Son's catalogue. It was issued to very few units and replaced during WW2 by a light-weight version (see Superior Magneto and Gurley). It was superseded by the model M-1950 built by many companies (list: see Lensatic) and still in use today. For training purposes, the Army used a fold-out guide with a dummy compass.

(Click on small pictures for enlarged views)
Technical data
- Diameter (lid): 54mm
- Depth: 35mm
- Weight (empty): 180gr
- Divisions: 6400 mils, counter-clockwise
- Paint: grey, rests of green paint
Manufacturer: some items are signed AINSWORTH.

Official user instruction available (go to our SHOP)


MAGNAPOLE was the designation of some hand-held marching compasses designed and sold by SHORT & MASON Ltd solely and of pocket compasses in cooperation with TAYLOR.
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The meaning of the abbreviation 'MAG. TRNG.' is not obvious. 'Magnetic Training' doesn't really make sense.

Low tech military compass made in India when it was part of the British Empire.
The original model (designed and built in 1942) was officially modernised a first time 2 years later (Mk II, 1944).
At some unknown later moment the remaining items were transformed again. You can see here the three different versions.

Above: The crystal was secured by means of a wire feather. The chapter ring was flat and could be rotated by hand by means of two tabs located at 90 (E) and 270 (W) deg. .

Below: View of the card's divisions through the side window. At each end of the vertical black line is a small arrowhead of radium paint.

The case side opposite to the window had a white line below the sighting notch
Original model - 1942, S/No. 6529

(Click for enlarged view)

There were additional radium paint markings on the bezel inner rim (at 360 degrees) and on the black lubber line engraved on the plexiglass disk, between the two notches of the casing's rim.
Technical Data
- Diameter: 60 mm
- Depth: 1 in./25 mm
- Weight: 100 gr
- Card release: by depressing a spring-loaded pin at the bottom
- Divisions: 360 deg (card and scale)
- Sighting: over two notches in the rim
- North mark on card: diamond-shaped radium paint marking
- Markings on bottom: British Army's arrow symbol (crowfoot) engraved above an upper case 'I' for India, Abbrev. "R.P.A." (Royal Pakistan Army?)
- Material: brass, black paint

Detail view of the compass card

On the Mk II model, the securing wire was replaced by a tight-fit ring and the lugs on the chapter ring were replaced by two bulges.

Mark II Model, 1944

The original card existed also with four holes through which the white and selfluminescent case inner paint could be seen (see last row):

(Picture by courtesy of Chris Stedman)
Technical Data
- Dim. & weight: see above
- Markings: British Army's arrow symbol ("crow foot") engraved above an upper case 'I' (for India?), Abbr. "M.I.O." (?)
- Casing date: 1944
- Material: brass, traces of black paint

On the compasses upgraded a second time, the card is now flat and the useless side window is blinded by a plate attached with four screws.

On the latest version, a flat chapter ring was placed upon the original one. Since it couldn't rotate, this compass couldn't be used to set a marching course or to measure a bearing.
Model ME 502 - Mk II

Technical Data

- Dim. & weight: see above
- Divisions: 360° and 6400 mils on a flat card, 360° on the (concealed) old ring and the upper new ring
- The design date (1944) has no significance on these modernised versions.

View inside the casing: the needle brake release is actuated by means of a push-button (visible on the right of the picture at left), a hinged lever and a blade spring.

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Short name of the company Manufacture d'Armes et de Cycles de Staint-Etienne which was the first French mail order retailer created in 1885. Some compasses feature a MF marking. The models shown are (among others) a boussole directrice, a Bézard, a Peigné, a Lemaire, a Souchier etc.

Issue 1908
Issue Edition 1921

Issue Edition 1965

Pocket compass featuring a typical
Muller & Vaucher face

Compendium, barometer side
(see one in good condition HERE)

Meiser & Mertig

Meiser & Mertig GmbH - Werkstätten für Präzisionsmechanik (located in Dresden Nr. 6, Kurfürstenstr. 27) was a German manufacturer of scientific equipment. M. & M. built in 1924 the TRIUMPH compass. Link to the 1903 catalogue no. 27.
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Czechoslovakian manufacturer located in Prague (Praha in Czech language). The name (MEchanická a OPTická výrobA) was created after the company SRB a SŠP was taken over by the state in 1946 and merged with Optikotechna. Both had produced in the 1930's and 40's a Bézard-type compass. The only difference lies in the arrow on the lid which is only a decal on the SŠP-signed civilian model. See also the Meopta survey compass.This company's confidential manufacturer code for military materiel during the communist era was xbk (link to example). See also the yal-signed wrist compass.

The manufacturer's logo on the casing
The embossed arrow on the lid

Technical Data
- Graduation: 360 degrees, clockwise
- Ruler: 50mm
- Weight: 70gr
- The mirror can be held at an angle of 45 deg. by means of a blade spring mechanism.

Hiking compass
probably made in the 1950 or 60's

Click on images for enlarged views
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 80 x 52 x 20mm
- Divisions: 360 deg., clockwise
- Cardinals: read menue point Miscellaneous / Cardinal points / Czech
- Side ruler: 70mm
- Weight: 75gr
- Dial and needle: Bézard-type
- Materials: Casing made of bakelite, lid and mirror made of steel
- Markings:  MEOPTA (logo) Made in Czechoslovakia
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Former Swiss company located in Ettingen (for more information click HERE). NOTE: Not to be mistaken for the survey compass model called MERIDIAN and made by the former German company WILKIE and currently by K&R (see SURVEY compasses).

(Click to enlarge
View Dismantled. The capsule can be refilled via an opening on the side. Its bottom is shaped like a barometer's to compensate for pressure and temperature variations.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 60 x 52 x 17mm
- Weight: 135gr
- Divisions: 360 deg. no radium
- Mirror: metallic, two short lines of luminous paint.
- Markings: on reverse: (S/N) 94 and MERIDIAN
- With leather case
- Adaption to various declination values by rotating the glass window with red lines.

Model MK-2002

The abbrev. MK probably stands for the German word Marschkompass. Early models feature a disk made by PASTO.

(Pictures Jaypee - Priv. coll. - click to enlarge)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Height : 20 mm
- Weight: 120 gr
- Capsule: soft plastic
- Divisions: 400 grades (was also available with 360 deg. graduation
- Colour: black or military green painted case

Note: this prismatic instrument is a very simple imitation of the famous british Mk III compasses. Its design is almost identical with the light-weight PASTO model 206 S (see below) but has a metallic case and no marching course arrow. It is not clear which was made first.

Model no.

Compare with the model below signed

On some compasses, the company's address is indicated as being PERY in Switzerland.

(Pictures Jaypee - Priv. coll. - click to enlarge)
Technical Data
- Dimensions: .. x .. x .. mm
- Weight: .. gr
- Capsule: soft plastic
- Divisions: 400 grades
- With leather case like survey compass MK-2001

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MILLER is an Austrian company located in Innsbruck.  Its director Dr Bruno Miller (90 y. old in Jan. 2013) who had inherited the company from his father Fritz Miller in 1951 could not remember having seen items marked like this one. Miller never built light compasses but optical survey devices (theodolites). The graduated circle and the needle are identical to items built later by PASTO / WILKIE. The bakelite case is identical to the more simple one displayed in the MERIDIAN article (above).

Technical Data
- Dim.:  65 x 65 x 25 mm
- Graduation: 360° clockwise
- Weight: 88 g
- Clinometer: +/- 90°, bubble level
The cover/mirror can be secured by a screw and activates the transit lock.
- Ruler: none 
- Marking (rear face): MILLER INNSBRUCK


Former Swedish company located in Stockholm (no other info available).
The circle in the Swedish military system is divided in 6300 Mils that's why the north reference faces exactly the division 63.  Between the compass and the hinge are the words INNERSKALA = GRADER (inner scale = degrees) and YTTERSKALA = STRECK (outer scale = MILS). The sun watch and rose of the winds (link to pic.) is very particular. The semicardinals are abbreviated in Swedish (V = västerut = west) but the cardinal WEST is a W like on the compass.  The abbrev. FM and EM stand for formiddag and eftermiddag i.e. a.m and p.m., M stands for noon and MN for midnight. Note that in northern Sweden in summer, the sun never sets for several weeks or even months !

Pictures courtesy of H. Waldmann

Sight and lock.
Dot of luminous paint in the lid below the sight. See the pic of the sun watch.

Ruler on both side of casing: 90 mm (together when both halves are flat)
Technical Data
- Dim.:  c. 75 x 50 mm
- Div.: 6300 MILS counter-clockwise on bezel, 360° clockwise on compass face
- Cardinals on compass: German (W = West)
 - Marking below the sun watch: MILTON & Co  STOCKHOLM
- On either outer face of casing: rulers for distance measuring on Swedish military maps 

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This instrument is the only one we know of featuring an entirely black card (compare with Stinger). They were manufactured between 1915 -1930 by F. Barker & Son for the Indian Army (still under British rule). The dial was also sold in the UK, but wasn't a popular design. Generally when F. Barker & Son developed something that didn't sell well in the UK they managed to sell it to the British Army in India. The abbreviation M.I.O. stands for Mathematical Instruments Office located in Calcutta.

Pictures courtesy David / Nautical Antiques

Technical Data
- Card material: aluminum
- Dimensions: standard Verner's Pattern Mk VIII

- Further markings:
• On the base: broad arrow above the upper-case 'I' for India between the letters I and G.
• On the leather pouch (link to pic.): Broad arrow above an upper-case bold T
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Mirror Compass

The mirror compass was first invented by ... in ... (...?). Mirror compasses usually have like the prismatic compasses a double row of divisions on their card: one is printed in normal figures so that angle values can be read with the naked eye directly from above through the crystal. The other one is printed inverted and can be read in a mirror placed in a lid behind the compass capsule.

Examples of mirror compasses in this Museum:
- Survey & military compasses: Breithaupt, Brunton, FPM, Rossignol, Winterer...
- Marching compasses: Bézard, Busch, Doignon, Cruchon & Emons, MORDAN, Plan, RECTA, SILVA, "S" (C. Stockert)...

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Mk 1 (Mark 1)

British compass type (see also Mark 1, 2 etc.) which was also in use in the French Army (see F. BARKER & Son)


Mark III models were built in Australia during WWII and also from 1966 onwards in Australia by J. W. Handley of Melbourne. They were designated MK3A. By 1966 the patents had all run out and Australia was producing them for its own Military. See below at right the latest Austr. version with two different NSN after replacement of Radium with Tritium (note the abbrev. GILS in the center). India also built MK3A models.
The meaning of the abbreviations O.D.D. and O.F.D. is unknown.
Technical Data: see BARKER - MK III (Pictures sent by collectors)

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MODČLE 1922 (Mle 1922)

The compass type called Modčle 1922 was utilized within the French Army and Gendarmerie (road police) from its start shortly after WW I as a successor for the boussole directrice utilized by the infantrymen. It appeared rather late (late 1920's?) in the instructions manuals for infantrymen (Manuel du gradé d'infanterie - see picture at right - click to enlarge). Its typical U shape reminds strongly of the BÉZARD compass (click on the link to open the special chapter dedicated to this system) by which it was replaced after WWII but it lacked its main features.

There was also a simple pocket version featuring the same design (see at right and MORIN's pocket compasses).
Another marching compass made by DOIGNON was also called Modčle 1922 although it was very different.

It was the basic design for the Polish KM32 (also called MK32) first produced by GERLACH, then by JEZNACKI (check these names).
It was also used in Belgium's Army and Gendarmerie units from ... until ...(?).
Read the complete user instruction of this instrument in the French Army in the booklet L'ORIENTATION published by Lavauzelle (editor specialised in military documentation (photocopies avalbl.).

The Modčle 1922 compass as described in an instruction document issued by the French Institut Géographique National (IGN, 1943). Its dial features a fixed black marching arrow like on the WWI pocket compasses made by MORIN and LUFFT (see these categories).

Technical Data
- Material: aluminum
- Dimensions: 750 x 60 x 17 mm
- Weight: 100 gr
- External markings:
. On the hinge: Mle 1922 + manufacturer's name + S/No.
. On the lid: I.G.N or MG (Ministčre de la Guerre = War Department)
- Ruler: 60 mm w/o figures
Other manufacturers: CRC, DLM, SECRETAN, Sté des Lunetiers (S-L), GAUMONT etc.
- Divisions: degrees, grades or MILS. Note: on the oldest version in deg., the declination was indicated by the letters NM (nord magnétique). Picture:  Note Technique sur les BOUSSOLES (1931)
Early version (DEMARIA-LAPIERRE)
Graduation: 6400 mils
Radium-compound paint arrow in the lid

Official later version (LEMAIRE)
Graduation: 400 grades (gons)

Below: drawing published in a doc. of the
French mil. engineers

Model 751* (1933-39)
- Bakelite case with a mirror cemented in the lid and a table made of German silver
- Designer: Charles Collignon
- Manufacturer: Houlliot
- Transparent capsule base plate made of Rhodoid
- Radium markings (Société Française d'Energie et de Radiochimie, 51-53 rue d'Alsace, Courbevoie).
The 1st bakelite case (supplied by Baldon located in Bezons) was presented for acceptation on Dec. 12, 1933. Later, in the Kralastic casings made after 1945, the mirror had to be fixed by 2 screws.

At right: the prototype of Model 750 used for design registration in Jan. 1934:

Picture above right by courtesy of M. Collignon who also supplied us with the technical and historical data
Model 850* (1950s-60s)
Version with aluminum table made of oxydised aluminum. The case was made of a special plastic called Kralastic treated against static loading.
- Manufacturer: Collignon-Houlliot

This item also existed in a
 military version (6400 MILS).

* The model no. appear in internal documents (price list)
These compasses had depending on the client's choice a 400 grades, 360 deg. or a 6400 MILS division but were all delivered with a conversion table stowed in a slot between the capsule and the transparent case body. See on pic. below the scales D (degrees), G (grades) and M (Mils) plus a 50 mm ruler.

One model featured a measuring device made of two scales (degrees and percentage) for positive and a negative angle values. Prodedure: holding the compass fully open by the lanyard, read the angle value of a target (viewed in the sighting notch) on the opposite side of the scales printed on the lid. Compare to the Büchi and Teleoptik systems.

The compass capsule alone was also sold as a pocket compass (see LUFFT no. 1950).
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Model 96 (Japan)

This prismatic marching compass is described in a Japanese document. The designation is taken from the file title: Handling Procedure for the Model 96 Carry-on Compass. It looks like a standard British Mk III but is attached to a pouch or box into which the prism is folded back. Unfortunately no pic available. Link to a 3-side view and the title page of the user instruction (full original document available - translation in progress).

Drawing copyright COMPASSIPEDIA

MOM (Süss Nándor - IRÁNY - TÁJOLÓ)

1 - MOM (Magyar Optikai Művek, Hungarian Optical Works) was a Hungarian company founded in 1876 by Süss Nándor (1848-1921) in the University of Kolozsvár, 8 Mozsár street, and first named Süss Precíziós Mechanikai Intézet (Süss Precision Mechanics Institute). The company moved in 1900 to 9 Alkotás street and its name was changed to MOM in 1939. MOM closed down in 1995. Its logo consisted of the three letters "MOM" in a circle or the figure 41 (the company's code during the communist era). MOM built a BÉZARD-type compass which was larger than the first version made by Süss Nándor (identical to the German version), just like the Polish K.M. 32 was larger than the French Modčle 1922. The original version signed Süss Nándor and dated 1930 featured the characteristic dry needle with its disk-shaped south end. The later versions featured a fluid-dampened needle.  The older models (before 1939) featured divisions with the zero facing south (for details, go to the Technical Data), a brass capsule casing and lid while the later ones are much lighter: capsule casing and lid are made of aluminum.  Shape and material of the attachment rings are also different. The instrument was utilised exactly like the Bezard UBK with a 10 cm ruler. Earlier versions had an elliptical mirror, the later ones had a round mirror covering the crystal and painted in green camouflage (click HERE for picture). This compass type is said to have been issued to the North-Vietnamese troops during the independance wars (fought first against France, then against the USA) despite the language used for the word DIRECTION (IRÁNY) and the cardinal points (see MISCELLANEOUS). It seems that MOM only built the military version. A small version identical to LUFFT's Model I was manufactured by GAMMA.

The first Süss aluminum version (built 1930) was blue-grey coloured (dial: see image at right).
Engraving on lid: IRÁNY means DIRECTION in Hungarian language.

Signature and logo:
Süss Nándor R. T. Budapest
Serial no.: 41868

Click on images for enlarged views
Below: Dial of the early Bézard-type dry-needle version (1930)

Below: The pre-WWII MOM fluid- dampened version with a red and white needle

The North marking (Észak - check Miscell. / Cardinal points / Hungar.) is facing the figure 3200 Mils like on the older Bézard compasses (late 1920's / early 1930's). This is also the case on items signed "41".
The old Hungarian coat of arms on the leather pouch
Click on the picture for an enlarged view

MOM's logo:

Technical Data MOM 1939
- Dimensions: 80 x 70 x 20 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils, counter clockwise, zero facing south
- Diameter: 55mm
- Weight: 285gr
- Ruler: 50mm
- Mirror shape: oval (Bézard-type)
- Inscriptions on the crystal:
39 M. TÁJOLÓ (' Compass Model 1939' in Hungarian)
- Inscription on the lid: IRÁNY (direction)
- Materials:
. casing: bakelite, greenish
. lid: brass
. attachment loop: nickel (round)
- Inscriptions on casing reverse:
. MOM logo
. Serial No.: 8372

The item was to be used with a ruler like the Bézard UBK and had a round mirror covering the entire crystal and painted green (click HERE for picture).
Dial with the typical 6000 mils divisions used in the Warsaw Pact (built after WWI, 1949)

Compared shapes of the attachment loops
(at left: the older model,
at right: the post 1949 model)

Technical Data
Dimensions: see above
- Divisions: 6000 mils, clockwise, North facing zero
- Weight: 150 gr
- Materials:
. casing: bakelite, brownish-red
. lid: aluminium
. attachment loop: aluminum (partly egg-shaped)
- Inscriptions on casing base:
. 41 (plant code)
. Serial no.: 954557
- No more luminous paper arrow inside the lid

2. MOM also built a simplified version of the famous British model Mark III (see F. Barker) after WWII but contrary to the genuine Mark III, this compass didn't contain Radium-compound paint. The case is larger and it's a dry-needle compass (link to view dismantled). This instrument features cardinals in Hungarian language but only K (East), D (South) and Ny (West) where North (É) is indicated by a triangle of luminous paint. The needle is glued under a rotating divided disc. The bottom of the capsule is lined with a (formerly luminous?) yellow paint. On either side left and right when looking forward through the lid, are two slots (link to photograph backlit) which look like black dashes. These were possibly used to align the case cardinals West and East (Ny and K) just like the white bar on the Bézard compasses parallel to the names of cities on maps.
In addition, this instrument features a device for measuring slope angles. It consists of a tiny ball rolling freely in a groove. The corresponding scale is printed on the glass and must be rotated so that its ends match those of the groove. The zero is also the luminous line on the glass. There is also a fork-shaped red pointer located at 270°, the use of which is for the moment unknown. In addition to the 360 degrees scale, the rotating disc features divisions in 24 hours like the ancient survey compasses (examples: see Breithaupt or Schablass, s. Menue / Miscell. / Divisions / Hours). The black versions feature the manufacturer's name (MOM Budapest). The unpainted item probably belonged to an early or only production batch (number 49 (link to pic) is punched on a main part). 

Dry comnpass in a Mk III - type casing

Luninous paint (no Radium compound)

Click on the images for enlarged views
Technical Data
- Dimensions: Ř 68 mm, height 25 mm
- Divisions: 360° clockwise and 24 hours on rotating disc
- Clinometer: +/- 45°, ball in side groove, divisions on glass
- Marking: only a serial no.

Manufacturer's logo: MOM Budapest

The Budapest Museum for History ( owns a collection of compasses and this model among others but due to their moving to other premices, the curator cannot access them and give us more information.
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S. Mordan & Co made mainly Verner's pattern compasses during WW1. This item is called a mirror compass and is a variation on a model designed and produced by Cruchon & Emons and PLAN Ltd. in Switzerland for the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
See also exhibits made by French Limited (F-L) and Ed. KOEHN for examples of Verner's pattern Mk VII and VIII.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 54mm
- Depth: 21mm
- Weight: 150gr
- Card material: synthetics, transparent
- Case inside coating: radium paint
- Date: 1915
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Former French retailer (for more information, click HERE). See also the categories Survey & Artillery compasses, Nautical compasses and Pocket compasses

MORIN proposed in the 1960's a civilian version of the Modčle 1922 made first of bakelite then of plastic (see details above) manufactured by COLLIGNON. Morin had this picture printed in the greatest French Encyclopedia Larousse (ed. 1968)!

The compass also called boussole directrice in the Morin catalogue 1930 (see picture at right) is described in the department of Pocket compasses (entry MORIN) because of its shape and some similarities with other instruments (see LUFFT, BUSCH etc.) although it is a marching compass as far as its function is concerned.

It was the standard compass of the French WW1 soldiers.

Click on the image to jump at the MORIN pocket compasses entry
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- N -


Norddeutsche Elektro-Akustik Gesellschaft, Kaufhold K.-G., Berlin SO 36, Oranienstr. 185. During WWII the confidential three-letter-code was cjy. Standard marching compass of the German Wehrmacht Soldiers. Techn. descr.: s. BREITHAUPT.
Pictures courtesy Jaypee - private coll.  


Former British Company (for more information click HERE)
N & Z built large instruments for ships. A Verner's pattern Mk IV prismatic compass like the next item (Newton & Co.) but bearing N & Z 's signature is also known.


Newton & Co. was a British manufacturer (more information HERE).  It seems that this company produced the earliest Verner's pattern prismatic compass known to date.
It was designated Mark IV and featured a mother of pearl card with a single row of figures.
See also Pocket compasses.

Click on the pictures for enlarged views
(Pictures by courtesy of Steven Wiggins)

Technical Data
- Materials: brass case, mother of pearl card
- Divisions: 360 deg.
- Dimensions (dia. x depth): 53 x 16mm
- Weight: 130gr
- Markings: Manufacturer's name on lid, no. 160 on prism protection and the figures IV and 46 on the base, alongside the British Army's crow's foot symbol

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Albert NIEDERMANN was a Swiss inventor. He patented several systems, two of which were produced by BÜCHI (see above).

Patent no. 152,634 (1932)

Click on images for enlarged views
Patent no. 199,512 (1937)

Patent no. 234,145 (1944)
Diopterfreie Orientierungsbussole
(compass without sights)
Swiss patent no. 376.280 (1964)
This instrument was never built.

Magnetnadeldose mit Flüssigkeitsfüllung zur Dämpfung der Magnetnadelschwingungen
Niedermann filed in 1940 a patent (swiss no. 165,879) for a fluid capsule (Membranfensterdose) which was sued by the Swedish makes Instrumentfabriks-Lyth and Svenska Elektro-Industri Co. because it infringed the rights of their own patent (Swiss no. 193.664). Niedermann's solution was described in 1943 in a new patent (no. 228.002): the adaption of the capsule's volume to the variations caused by pression and temperature changes was ensured by the side walls and not by the base or the top glass (s. drawings at right).
Fig. in the patent (click on the image for a view of the complete description and a handcoloured drawing by Niedermann dated 1940)

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NIFE is the name of a Swedish-owned company that made Nickel Iron (Ni-Fe) batteries in the 20s and 30s in England.
We were told by a SILVA representative that this compass type was made by a company called A/B Lyth, and based on a design by Gunnar Tillander. We don't know which kind of relationship existed between NIFE and A/B Lyth.
It was also built in a different version (with mirror in the lid) by SILVA. It was one of the first fluid dampened marching compasses (apart from F. BARKER & Son's prismatic liquid Mk III). This item was built in the 30's (this item is marked 1933) and features the typical Swedish division of 6300 Mils (streck) division. Note: Sweden was the only country worldwide to utilise compasses with a 6300 mils. division.

In the lid, where the brand name NIFE and the word Patent appear, is only a line of luminous paint but no mirror (compare with SILVA's and LYTH's versions).
(Click on the images for enlarged views)

Above left: Provisional version with three windows marked Patent Sökt (Pat. pending)
Right: final version (193)
Technical Data
- Materials: bakelite, steel
- Needle dampening: by fluid
- Divisions: 6300 mils, clockwise.
The North's red mark is exactly located on the figure 63. Cardinal points for W and E in Swedish: V-Ö.
- Dimensions: 70 x 68 x 20mm
- Weight: 210gr
- Serial no.: 44


Raffaelo Nistri (read OMI in Aero Compases) was an Italian engineer. He filed in 1956 a patent (Swiss issue no. 314952) for a marching compass.


The former East Germany's army Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) used a training poster featuring a compass made by Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik (FPM).
View of the poster for military training       
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- O -


NV Ltd OBSERVATOR was a Dutch manufacturer located in Rotterdam, created in 1924, bought by Kelvin Hughes in 1996 (read in  WIKIPEDIA: John Lilley & Gillie). They produced also other instruments like sextants and ships compasses (see this category).

Holland's version of the famous Mk III
model (s. F. Barker & Son)
Pictures by courtesy of G. Ralph

Click on the images for enlarged views
Technical Data
Divisions: 360°, cardinals in Dutch language (Z = Zuid = south)
S/N: 691 D
Marking (on back):


O.I.P. is the abbreviated name of -----.
They signed a Barker Mk III type compass issued to the Duchy of Luxemburg's troops and marked A.L (Armée du Luxemburg).


Optikotechna was a Czech manufacturer of Přerov. Its logo was a T in what seems to be a circle but is in fact the letter O (see pic. at r.) or a vertical bar in a circle. This logo also appears on the face of other compasses (link to pic.). They produced during WWII optics instruments for the German army, notably binoculars. After WWII, Optikotechna was nationalized and renamed MEOPTA in 1946.
For more information click on the image at right to access the BÉZARD chapter and scroll down to Imitations / Czech        
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Former Czechoslovakian company producing mainly cameras (brand name OPTOS MORAVIA) located in aus Prostějov (former name Prossnitz in Moravia). Historical records: 1938-1953. This instrument features all typical characteristics of the small Bézard-type compass (model I, w/o mirror). The only design difference is the arrow on the lid below the word RICHTUNG (Direction) where it is superimposed on the genuine LUFFT compasses. The West-East (W-O) line is meant to be aligned with the city names on the maps so that the side ruler can be oriented according to a desired marching direction without having to orientate it.

Contrary to LUFFT's Bézard design, the arrow and the word RICHTUNG (direction) are separated.
Technical Data
- Case material: aluminum
- Divisions: 6400 mils, counterclockwise
- Dimensions: 70 x 58 x 13mm
- Weight: 55g

The magnetic declination marker consists of an aliminum tag attached to the frame. The crystal can rotate within the frame to adapt to different declinations.
The pictures show the Model no. 5020. The model no. 5021 featured a mirror like the small Bézard IS.

(Click on images for enlarged views)
The transit lock system is unique: a cam rod concealed inside the casing and actuated by the closing of the lid depresses the lever raising the magnetic needle.

Pics at left: Views of the box and the user instructions.
(Photocopies available)


ORION was the model name of a KRÖPLIN marching compass.
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P - Q


Former German Company located in Fürth near Nuremberg. It was bought by WILKIE on Dec. 31. 1972 (for more information click HERE).
PASTO built KÜHRT's only model but somewhat smaller and with numerous detail modifications. He also built (after WWII) a model identical to one of the standard German soldiers' compasses, with and without mirror. He eventually produced but in very small quantities a light-weight compass called 206 S, similar to the famous British Mark III prismatic compasses.
Pic at right: PASTO's logo      
See also Pocket compasses.

Simple marching compass without mirror lid (mod. no. 1 in PASTO's catalogue) identical to BUSCH's model created in the 1930's. 

Same casing but with KÜHRT's index ring.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 70 x 60 x 18mm
- Weight: 40gr
- Needle lock: manually actuated lever
- Side rulers: 50mm and 2'
- Divisions: 64 mils (black index ring)
It existed also with a white index ring and two divisions (see also below, image on box), probably added after KÜHRT was taken over by PASTO.
The maker's signature (PASTO Germany) and the fact that it has two different rulers (decimal and imperial) indicate clearly that this is a post WW II product. Moreover, the position of the magnetic declination luminous marker (5° W) is consistent with the 1950's.
Same shape and functions than Kührt's models but smaller

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 85 x 65 x 18mm
- Weight: 75gr

A special version with fluid capsule offered as possibility to take into account the local declination:

Model no. 5, but made of plastic with mirror, lumiscent paint and thumb ring. It was available in black or cream colour. The same lid/cover form appears also on the later C. Stockert compass models.
Theses models were called no. 11 and 12 with fluid damping.
Pict. left: no. 5 cream case, dry capsule, at right: no. 12 Fluid, probably in cooperation with WILKIE

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

No. 5s (S = Schnur = lanyard) with KÜHRTs typical index ring (divisions: deg. and mils.)
User instruction

Technical Data
- Dimensions : 70 x 60 x 20 mm
- Weight: 55 gr

Photos no. 12 Fluid and 5s courtesy Sancho Urbina

PRISMATIC Fluid Compass 206 S
Fluid - Light-weight imitation of the famous British marching compasses (see BARKER). PASTO supplied the compass cards to MERIDIAN for the early version of its model MK-2002.
It was a common feature of the leather cases to have a tab with a button hole to attach the compass at one of the uniform buttons.

Technical Data
- Case diameter: 48 mm
- Depth: 17 mm
- Weight: 70 gr
- The marching direction arrow could be set through the crystal by means of a small knob like on LUFFT's and BUSCH's pocket compasses.
Model 206
Technical Data
- Dim.:  55 x 85 x 20 mm
- Leather pouch with button hole tab like the one fisplayed above but with black finish.

Export version (USA): box-shaped casing. Compare with WILKIE's version with hinged hanging mirror.

User instr. in English available.

In Nov. 1972 Paul Stockert designed a system featuring an internal lighting. WILKIE produced it in 1973 with several improvements (follow the link for compl. descr. and more pics).
The brightness can be adjusted by means of a wheel located on the side (compare to the model signed Eschenbach).

Pictures courtesy F. Liebau/Post-editing J-P Donzey

Drawing below: The design registering document  (DBGM 7243598) issued to Paul Stockert in March 1973.

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This compass name designated several pocket compasses (check this category) and was here used for a SILVA Boy / Girl scout compass. Click on the image at right to see the information on the box door and its content: No. 1051 / SILVA-SYSTEM COMPASS.


Emil Perman was an inventor living apparently in Stockholm. He filed in 1914 in imperial Germany a patent (no. 304765, link to page 1) for a marching compass featuring a mirror hinged below a transparent casing. However, the patent was publisehd only after the end of the First World War in 1918 ! The principle was later re-used by several makers like WILKIE.


PLAN Ltd was a Swiss company. The manufacturer was propably the renowned watch and clock maker David Perret fils (PLAN watches) located in Neuchatel's Plan quarter (there is a street named "rue du Plan"). The company was founded in 1854. David died in 1908 but the firm continued with his son.

Probably already before WWI, PLAN built the following marching compass (maybe) for the Swiss Army. It has a double graduation featuring twice the scale 0-32 (i.e. 6400 mils altogether). This can also be observed on the older BÜCHI artillery level called Sitometer.

Model c. 1910 ?

(Click on image for detailed view of dial)

View closed: the company's name is engraved
on the upper hinge fitting (see pic. at right)

GOERZ built a compass with a comparable design

Technical Data
- Diameter: 55mm
- Depth: 17mm
- Weight: 100gr
- Divisions: 2 x 3200 mils

PLAN Ltd also built mirror compasses for the U.S. armed forces during WWI (see also Cruchons & Emons and Argentina's Army). A version without military markings is known. It features cardinal points in German language (O = Ost = east) but no radium-compound luminous paint (link to picture).
The patent was filed by the Swiss clock maker LONGINES but only at the end of WW1 (August 1918). Compare with the Abercrombie & Fitch (A & F) version. This item was called Position Finding Compass in a flyer (see pic below, at right) and Sighting compass in an ad (for picture go to Cruchon & Emons).
For Instruction and 'Rules to be observed': CLICK HERE (and enjoy the humoristic wording of rule no. 2...)
All documents available in fac-simile quality in the shop

WWI mirror compass

The arrow-shaped lubber's line on the crystal was only a short thick line on the C. & E. version. The Argentina Army's version featured cardinals in Spanish language

The mirror was a polished disk made of steel. The sighting hole was arrowhead-shaped but the A. & F. version featured a round hole.
Technical Data
- Diameter: 54mm
- Depth: 18mm
- Weight: 150gr

(Pic. above courtesy K. Takacs)
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Square protractor/Romer scale (click HERE for explanations)

Square protractor - c. 1935 ?

(Click for enlarged view)
The item with user instructions and pouch

Technical data
- Side length: 4 in / 100 mm
- Compass thickness: 7 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils counter- clockwise, cardinals only on compass
- String for measuring angles on maps
- For maps with scale 1/100,000.

Fotocopies of instr. available


Polish version of the Russian Red Army's model AK.

Click on the image for an enlarged view

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 75 x 55 x 20 mm
- Divisions: 6000 mils, clockwise, cardinal points in Polish language (see Miscell./Card. pts.)
- The central white bar is located on the N-S axis whereas it was located on the E-W axis on the WWII German compasses (see also FPM).
- Illumination: Radium compound (link to pic., similar to AK model)
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Prismatic Compass

The prismatic compass was first invented by Henry Kater in 1811 and improved one year later by C. A. Schmalcalder. One of the first and most famous prismatic compasses was a compass type called Verner's pattern. Another famous system is the one patented by Captn Creagh-Osborne featuring a large prism located on the opposite side of the dial, allowing the reading of the instrument when held in the hand or attached to the wrist at about 1 or 1-1/2 ft from the eye.
Prismatic compasses usually have like the mirror compasses a double row of divisions on their card: one is printed in normal figures so that angle values can be read with the naked eye directly from above. The other one is printed inverted and can be read with much higher precision through the optical prism. The very thin sighting line seen above the magnified card's rim gives a precision of at least one third of a degree.

Like on General Peigné's compass system, the card's movement can be slowed down by means of a small device, described as follows in the user's instructions:
"A check-spring plunger is fitted on the left side of the box near the hinge for the purpose of checking the oscillations of the dial when observing."

The prismatic compass makes it possible to look simultaneously
- at the landscape, i.e. the target over a line of sight engraved in a glass window (in the lid) and
- at the angular values of the compass card through an optical device that can be adapted to the user's view.

(Click for enlarged view)

User instruction (1917)

(Click for enlarged views - Photocopies of the French original or the English translation are available in our SHOP).

Drawings: The Soldier's Handbook  (Chapter 12 - Use of Compass and Map, 1941 - photocopies avlbl. in our SHOP)

Other prismatic compasses displayed in this Museum:
- Wrist compasses: Creagh Osborne
- Survey compasses: F. Barker & Son, Hutchinson, Th. Jones, K&R, Lawes Rabjohns, M1918, Wichmann, Wilkie ...
- Marching compasses: F. Barker & Son, F-L (French Ltd.), Ed. Koehn, PASTO, Stanley, T.G. Co. Ltd London...


This compass is a G150 model originally made by Stanley. It was delivered together with a different Nato Stock Number than the Barker Models (follow the links to view pictures).
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- R -

Radio Militaire

This compass resembles the famous Modčle 1922 (see above) but it is integrated in a wooden box and bears the words "RADIO MILRE" (militaire). We suppose that it was used to orientate a directional radio emitter or receiver. Although unsigned, the typical engraving shows that it was manufactured by Houlliot in the 1930's.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 148 x 50 x 15mm
- Weight: 135gr

Radium Compound Paint

The French company Société Nouvelle du Radium  was created in 1907 by Jacques DANNE (who was an assistant in the laboratoire Pierre CURIE and deceased in 1919). It was located in Gif-sur-Yvette (source: internet) and was the first industrial plant world-wide to supply this material.
A compound* made of copper-doped zinc sulfide (ZnS+Cu) and Radium (226Ra) reacted by emitting a greenish light. When the zinc sulfide was "burnt out" (after c.30-50 years), it turns orange (see below dial of the DOLLOND compass) but the Radium remains radioactive for many hundred years (its half-life is 1602 years). Captain Creagh-Osborne filed in 1915 a patent (no. 110.203, link to picture) dealing with radium-based luminous markings on compasses. This compound was utilised for the figures and markings on aircraft instruments, watches and compasses from WWI on until the late 1950's. Another patent (no. 117,641, 1917, H. E. Julyan and E. C. Weilbach, link to pic.) describes a solution with a single source of illumination under the floating card on which the markings are perforated. See examples below.
ATTENTION DANGER - HEALTH HAZARD Read in Wikipedia The radium Girls and more information on the web site Vintage Watch Straps.

* For proportions read the minutes of a meeting held on Dec. 9, 1915 in the premises of the Admiralty's Compass Observatory, p. 43.

User instruction for applying the Radium paint compound

(Pictures of cells 1-3 were sent by a visitor who requested to remain unnamed)

Vials containing powder produced by the Société Nouvelle du Radium

Box containing vials wrapped in lead and painting tools (brushes and pots).  
The dosimeter indicates a dosis of c.95µSv/hr, i.e. 1000 times the level of natural ambiant radioactivity (0,09µSv/h).

The French WWI standard marching compass called Boussole directrice: 1,7µSv/hr

DOLLOND marching compass (1916):
4 millirem/hr

Aircraft compass designed by Creagh-Osborne, Pattern 259  (1917): 2,84µSv/hr

British Army wrist compass
 (abt. 1956): 1,32µSv/hr

The DOLLOND compass dial turned orange

Document supplied by  the French compass maker HOULLIOT: Page 1 of the Job Card indicating the operations needed to manufacture the standard WWI compass. The heading reads: Boussole au radium fond ŕ cercle / Directrice fond tournant ŕ flčche 55 mm (1911)

Leaflet about the German BÉZARD compasses (1913) mentioning the markings made with Radium-compound paint (in red frame) and a pic. showing the visibility in full darkness.

Wrist compass made by F. Barker & Son: catalogue dated c.1920

German WWII compass made by Breithaupt (hap) :
0,87 µSv/h

Red Army compass:
1,09 µSv/h
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PROFILE - RECORD was a Swiss clock maker who also built in the 30's a very uncommon compass type. It had been designed and patented by Jakob Leutenegger (living in Basle) in 1933 (no. CH-160.792). The two opposite mirrors reflect a non inverted view of the compass rose.
Few items were produced so it is now quite rare (for more information click HERE).

(Military Field and Sighting Compass)

NOTE: the words "Armee-Marsch etc." (or their translation) are not engraved on the export version.

User instr. in French (short version: 1 p.) 

(Photocopies of all documents can be ordered) 
Technical Data
- Casing Material: aluminum (German version) or steel (French version)
- Dimensions: 148 x 50 x 15 mm
- Weight: 135 g (alum.) / 250 gr (steel)
- Height (mirrors erected): 75 mm
- Ruler (on the right-hand side): 120 mm
- A luminous dot on the ring allowed for fixing a bearing. Cardinal points in German. Red lubber line on a glass plate over the compass rose. Both mirrors can be blocked by a notch at respectively 90° and 45°.

User instr. in German (4 p., distinct versions for Germany and Switzerland)

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PROFILE - Former Swiss company, now subsidiary of the Finnish SUUNTO (for more information click HERE).
View of a flyer in French probably dating back to the 1950's: click HERE.

Matchbox-style compass model DP: This is one of the very first DP models. It was built in 1942 within one year after production started (serial number 01377)

This basic version (see patent at right) was improved in 1955 to add a means to change the setting in accordance with the local magnetic declination (link to fig of patent no. 333971).
Technical Data
- Divisions: 6400 Mils
- Material: aluminium case
- Dimensions: 65 x 46 x 19 mm
- Weight: 100 gr

S/N - Years of production:
No. 00001 - 07221 = 1942;
No. 07222 - 17383 = 1943;
No. 17384 - 38241 = 1944

This basic model was followed by the model DP5 used by the Swiss army until 1980. It was followed by the model DP6 which is still in use to day.

Fig. as shown in the patent filed by the inventor Eric VAUCHER.

DP2 model used in the federal Austrian Army
At right under the heraldic eagle of Austria's coat-of-arms: BH 20. BH is the abbreviation for BUNDESHEER (federal army), not to be mistaken for the German BUNDESWEHR, which means federal defense forces

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

User instructions of the Swiss Army (copies of the German and French version available)


Technical Data
- Dimensions: 100 x 65 x 18 mm
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PROFILE - Compass type featuring a small hinged silver mirror located between the lid and the crystal. Two versions are known: a simple basic one with a casing that has many similarities with one version of the Magnapole pocket compass signed by Short & Mason (dimensions, screws for the sighting window, thumb loop, transit lock). Engravings "THE REFLECTOR COMPASS" and PATENT APPLIED FOR C.F.R. where the abbrev, stands for C. F. Ryland.
The other one features an additional rear sight, a divisions ring with luminous reference on a rotating disc (see also Creagh-Osborne) and a fluid-dampened card. It's apparently a modified Service Pattern Liquid Prismatic Compass designed by F. Barker and Son in 1910. The engraving on the mirror's rear side reads 11787/15.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Design/Manufacturer: C.F.R. (see next row)
Retailer's signature on the casing's underside:
G. C. BATEMAN Opticians, Reading and Branches

Technical Data
- Dimensions: (dia. x height): 50 x 20mm
- Material: casing: brass, mirror, silver
- The mirror rotates with the bezel
- Divisions: 360°, radium paint North arrow
- Divisions on casing: degrees and cardinals
The small mirror is described in S. Lawrence's patent no. 24,792 (compare with Cruchon & Emons and also PLAN Ltd).
Technical Data
- Dim.: 48 x 26 mm
- Card design: Service pattern, Radium paint.
- Additional rear sight and divisions ring on top of the case rim, rotating ring with luminous marker.
- On the mirror's rear face: the patent no. 11787/15 filed by Charles Frederick RYLAND (CFR), 109, Saint Michaels Road, Aldershot, Jeweller's Salesman, (6 pages, photocopy available).
- Manufacturer unknown (maybe F. Barker & S.). Sold by JUNIOR, ARMY AND NAVY STORES Ltd. a company formed in 1871 and established 1879 (read the compl. history in Wikipedia)
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PROFILE - This instrument was designated AK (artillery compass) in the Russian Army. It is almost identical to the WWII German Marschkompass (MK) made among other manufacturers by Breithaupt, Busch etc. This design was probably copied after the Sovietunion had occupied East-Germany (GDR) and produced by FPM.
Two versions are known: a military one with 6000 Mils and a civilian one with 360 deg. divisions.
See also the Polish version (above).

Red Army's Model AK

Click on the images for enlarged views

Drawing from the book Directory of military survey materiel (1973, click on the drawing for a comprehensive description)

Civilian Model

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 75 x 55 x 20 mm
- Divisions: 6000 mils or 360 deg., clockwise, cardinal points in Russian language (see Miscell./Card. pts.)
- The central white bar is located on the N-S axis whereas it is located on the E-W axis on the WWII German compasses (see also FPM).
- Transit lock: automatic when closing the lid
- Illumination: Radium compound (link to pic., military version only)

Visit also the website Topographical Orienteering with Map
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