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- K -


Swiss company located in Aarau (more information HERE).
See also Survey Compasses

(Click to enlarge)

Model designation (?)
Technical Data:
- Dimensions: 73 x 65 x 19 mm
- Weight: 162 gr
- Divisions: 6400 mils (Swiss Army),
- Material: aluminium
- Fluid needle damping, luminous paint markings, no possibility of adjusting for a different magnetic declination
- Scale (on casing side): 1:50.000 (6 km)
- Production year: probably 1940's.

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K.M. 32

Compass model in use within the Polish Army (Wojsko Polskie, W.P.) and probably developed on the basis of the French Modèle 1922.
The letters K and M stand for the inventor's initials, Colonel Mikołaj Kulwieć, born March 24, 1890.
It is also known in Poland as the „Kulwieć compass“.
Kulwieć had spent some time in France as a member of a military mission, which maybe explains why his compass ressembles so much the French Modèle 1922.
It was first produced by G. GERLACH (S/No. 0001 to approx. 9000, the first 4000 being marked M.K. 32) and later by Z. JEZNACKI (until S/No. 20,000?). The initials were probably interverted because of a possible confusion with the German designation Marsch-Kompass.
A user's instruction was added only from 1938 on (Busola kierunkowa wzór K.M. Opis i uźycie, marching compass K.M., description and use).
Its advantages were its large diameter and simplicity of utilisation. Drawbacks were the lack of degrees divisions (it features only mils) and its heavy weight (200 gr). For comparison: a Bézard large model weighed only 160 gr. Solely the British Mk III compass was heavier : 260 grs, example : T. G. Co. Ltd. London. (Cited after the Fundacja Kosciuszki's website - see LINKS).

Instrument signed by G. GERLACH

Below: the early version M.K. 32:
(Picture courtesy A. Andersen)
The reflecting characteristics of the GERLACH compass interior surface (see picture below, left) were much better than the JEZNACKI model (below, right).

(Click on the picture for enlarged view)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 80 x 72 x 17 mm
- Weight: 200 gr
- Mirror: polished inner surface of metallic lid. It has a sighting opening made of two partly overlapping circles, so that two convergents edges form a continuation of the lubber line engraved vertically.
- About the S/N:
* From S/N 6000 onwards: without the Army's coat of arms and model designation

See also a pocket compass with cardinals in Polish language (go to POLAND).
Instrument signed by Z. JEZNACKI

User's Instructions (1938)


(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
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Ed. KOEHN was a Swiss clock maker.

The Internet Compass Museum doesn't possess any other data concerning this company. Your help is needed.
Ed. KOEHN built a Verner's pattern compass called Mk VII (see exhibit made by French Limited, F-L, for a Verner's pattern Mk VIII compass). A facsimile of the original User Instructions can be ordered. (Click HERE to see a photograph of page one).

Picture at right: advertisement in the French original issue of P. Dériaz' manual Guide de poche pour l'emploi de la boussole sur terre published in 1917. It was translated into English and adapted under the title The prismatic compass and how to use it (see Prismatic compasses).
Click on the picture for an enlarged view.

(Click on pictures for enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 54 mm
- Depth: 21 mm
- Weight: 150 gr
- Card material: mother-of-pearl
- Date: 1915

The compass card must be locked by hand.
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KOHL, Max (MK, hap)

Max KOHL AG (Adorferstr. 20 in Chemnitz) was a German company established 1908. It produced mainly instruments for schools and universities laboratories as well as measuring equipment for fabric manufacturers (notice issued by the Leipzig stock exchange). Its code during WW II was "hap".

Wehrmacht marching compass

(Click on the pictures for an enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 54 mm
- Depth: 17 mm
- Weight: 60 g
- Case: Nickel
- Lid: Aluminium with "broad nose" (s. below) and 4 rivets at the hinge
- Thumb loop: brass
- Ruler: 60 mm, klappbar

NOTE: see lid shape comparison under Breithaupt

(Click on the pictures for an enlarged view)

Marching compass, WW II
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 75 x 55 x 20 mm
- Weight: 80 g
- Case: Bakelite
- Side ruler: 50 mm

Export catalogue (c. 1920-1930)

The Chemnitz plant

A Max KOHL AG share (1940)
(Picture courtesy Benecke & Rehse)
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K&R - Kasper & Richter

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 and supply important retailers like Eschenbach. See also Survey compasses.

Model M1 (c.1980 )

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 75 x 57 x 20 mm
- Weight: 58 g
- Divisions: 360 degrees, clockwise
- Fluid-damped needle

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Model ALPIN (current programme). The prismatic model ALPIN PRO is used by the Indian Army

Technical Data

(see K&R's website)

MERIDIAN Lensatic version
The model  MERIDIAN PRO features a prismatic lense and a clinometer on a foldable panel
Special version of the MERIDIAN PRO model used by the Netherlands' armed forces
(compare with Eschenbach's version)

(Pictures courtesy Liebau / K&R)

Technical Data: see Eschenbach
NSN: 6605-17-037-9774

(Click for an enlarged view)

The remanence of luminosity is long enough to take a bearing at night up to 4 hours after dusk.
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Former German company. Signed a standard WW2 marching compass (example: see Busch or Breithaupt). This company was only a bakelite manufacturer (became later no. 78 of the Materialprüfamt and still later only "etl"). The compass parts were supplied by Busch or Breithaupt and assembled.


German company (for more information click HERE). The objective of the patent H. C. Kröplin filed in 1925 (see KRÖPLIN's prototype of an 'Armeekompass' and his patent in the category Pocket Compasses) was to make it possible to set a marching course on a compass without having to orientate a map or even on a vertical wall map and to transfer this information into the compass. He designed for this purpose a card with cardinal points and a (red) pointer that could be inserted under the transparent compass capsule. This model was built in a small quantity and provided to a hikers' organisation called Wandervögel (migratory birds). This association had been created in 1901 but ceased to exist after the Nazis took over power in 1933.


(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

The pictures shows an improved version of the removable card with all four cardinal points and a better grid. The original card had only North and South (West and East are engraved on the cover plate) and the grid only consisted of 3 lines.
The magnetic declination could be adapted by removing the cover plate and turning the crystal on which a small arrow is painted so that this arrow points to the right declination value engraved on then coverplate.

The 40 mm ruler on the rear face

View folded
Technical data
- Dimensions: 55 x 50 x 15 mm
- Weight: 70 gr
- Materials: wooden box in a metallic envelope, protection strap in leather imitation, course setting card made of celluloid
- Needle locking by means of a lever (front face, left, above the course setting card)
- Capsule painted with luminous compound
Detailled view of the rear face. It is not clear whether the figure 1 under ORION means that this was a first version or the serial number.
Some compasses bear the only words Gesetzlich geschützt (protected by law, i.e. registered TM)

Military model
(without designation)
This model features a mirror and a bezel.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 55 x 50 x 20 mm
- Weight: 87 gr
- Divisions: 6400 Mils counterclockwise
- Sighting: gun type sights
- Ruler: on the right side

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Former compass maker located in Nürnberg (Germany) at the time of WWII (more information HERE). The brothers Hugo and Arno Kührt were granted a patent in 1939 for the use of a transparent plate with a grid in the compass. The KÜHRT compass model was built by PASTO after WW II but somewhat smaller.  The Online Compass Museum knows only of two similar compasses built by KÜHRT. The respective markings on the lid were: "Kührt DRP" on the large one and "Kührt II DRP" on the smaller one.

Hugo and Arno Kührt's patent no. 682777 (1939)

Technical Data
- Case: bakelite
- Dimensions: 90 x 77 x 18 mm
- Ruler: 70 mm
- Weight: 115 g
- Divisions inner scale: 6400 mils, counterclockwise
- Divisions outer scale: 360 degrees, clockwise

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)
Model Kührt II

Technical Data
- Case material: bakelite
- Dimensions: 80 x 50 x 18 mm
- Ruler: 70 mm
- Weight: 80 g
- Divisions inner scale: 6400 mils, counter-clockwise
- Divisions outer scale: 360 degrees, clockwise

User's instruction (copy available - German):


Polish officer who developed the compass type M.K.32 (or K.M.32). For more information about Mikołaj Kulwieć, click HERE klicken.
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- L -


Sidney Solomon Lawrence was an optician active 67-69 Chancery Lane in London. He created together with another London optician called Mayo the company Lawrence & Mayo (19 New Oxford Street, more details HERE). Some instruments signed L. & M. were in reality made by famous makers like F. BARKER, STANLEY or STEWARD (link to example). He filed in 1907 two patents (see table below, photocopies available). Description (excerpt): "The back of the case is made of transparent material coated on the inside with luminous paint and sufficiently rough on the outside to enable notes to be written thereon" (read more in the original Patent, pic. below).
- Patent no. 10,522 describes a compass with a cylindrical glass card. The scale is printed on the rim and can be read via a side lense (this system was also implemented on the models GKS and Wilkie 110 P).
- Patent no. 24,792 describes a compass with a tiny mirror like the ones built in the models REFLECTOR, Cruchon & Emons or PLAN Ltd (small concave mirror). The card's rim is transparent like on the MORDAN version.
We don't know of any existing compass matching these patents.

(Click on image above for a view of description - excerpt - page 1)

Patent 24.792

Read the description in the original document (excerpt - page 1).

 Click on patents images at left for enlarged views of the entire page
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LEGH (Major)

Major Gilbert LEGH (b. April 21, 1858 - d. Dec. 23. 1939) was a British officer (Grenadier Guards) and inventor. He designed in 1896 a system making it possible to read bearings in the darkness wih a precision of one degree (patent no. 19,600 - for figs. click HERE - complete copy available). The basic principle consisted in placing a star-shaped metallic stripe with tiny holes upon a luminous paper disc. The black "star" having 36 branches and the V-shaped line between two branch ends comprising 10 holes, each hole represents one degree. The loop of the basic model featured a sighting notch. The compass capsule featured a bezel crystal with a radius painted on it permitting thus to set a bearing. The prismatic version, signed by Lawrence & Mayo., 87 Chancery Lane, London, featured a reticle-shaped sighting vane in the lid.
This design was also used later on the Magnapole compass in a simplified version.

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

Three different versions of Major Legh's luminous compass design:
- Basic version with floating card (left) and with magnetic needle (above)
- The marching course could be set by opening the hinged glass cover turn the bezel.
- Right: prismatic sighting system with a reticle-shaped sighting vane in the lid.

Pictures by courtesy of Nick Godridge

Technical Data (Patent's version)
Dim. (dia.)
- Patent version: 3.5"
- later models: 2.25"
Subdivisions: the degrees were represented by holes in a V-shaped metallic star.

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Former French company. The company's name was later BAILLE-LEMAIRE. It was located 26, rue Oberkampf, Paris 11. It existed from ... ? and disappeared approx. about 1980. It produced like other manufacturers the well-known compass called Modèle 1922 and about 10 years after WWII a version of it with a liquid-damped needle in a transparent capsule called "Mle 22/54" (i.e. 1954) just before it disappeared. The French Army introduced about at this time the German Bézard compass. Lemaire also filed in 1953 a patent for an improved system featuring a hinged hanging mirror like the Swiss RECTA (see BAILLE-LEMAIRE) called Model 49 (below).
It also produced a wrist-top compass (see this category).

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)
Technical data
- Dimensions and weight: see Modèle 1922
- Divisions: 400 grades, clockwise
The LEMAIRE version was the only one to feature a tightening screw for the lid hinge:

(Pictures courtesy Jaypee, priv. coll.)

Lemaire's logo was a bee in a prism and a convex lens

Technical Data
- Fluid dampened needle model 1954 (marking on hinge side: Mle 22/54)
- Dimensions and weight: same as above
- Divisions: 6400 mils, clockwise

The same capsule design is also to be seen on a wrist compass (SILVA patent).

Compare with the later prismatic version below.

Click on image for enlarged view of dial

Modèle 1 - This prismatic version of the standard Modèle 1922 was probably an attempt to offer the French Army an alternative to the excellent British model Mk 1 that had just been decommissioned in GB and was immediately available almost for free.

Drawing: Yearbook of the S.G.O.I.P. (Syndicat Général de l'Optique et des Instruments de Précision) issue 1979:

Technical Data
- Divisions: 400 grades, clockwise, precision: one half of a degree
- Prism not adjustable
- Dimensions: 80 x 63 x 20 mm
- Weight: 150 gr
- Marking on hinge: Mle 1 (plus n° S/N 535) LEMAIRE PARIS Bts* SILVA
(* Brevets = patents) 

Click on images for enlarged views

Modèle 49 
System with transparent capsule and hanging mirror similar to the Swiss instruments made by RECTA (DP) and BÜCHI II (the patent was filed by Baille-Lemaire - see drawings)

Sighting by means of rifle-type sight 
Technical data
- Divisions: 6400 MILS, the West cardinal (O for Ouest) is also a recess for an air bubble indicating the horizontal position while sighting
- Weight: 130 grs
- Dim.:75 x 60 x 20 mm
- Marking on lid: void or M.G. (Ministère de la Guerre = War Office)
- Markings on hinge:

Picture above courtesy J. Houcke
This very rare if not unique model was made after WW2. The letters MG  (Ministère de la Guerre = French War Ministry) are still on the lid but there is no serial number on the hinge. It features a civilian graduation: 360 deg. This instrument was given to the Museum by the former head of the French company Collignon- Houlliot. It probably was a prototype that never was produced in series after the use of radium for luminous markings was forbidden.

The arrow in the lid is made of UNPROTECTED radium compound! (Picture with radiameter: 0,59 microsievert/hour, i.e. six times the natural background radiation)
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LENDVAY, Karl von

Header of the patent no. 108.262 issued in 1926 in Austria but filed in 1925 for Hungary by Karl von Lendvay living in Budapest : Instrument für die Bestimmung von Entfernungen, Richtungen und Winkeln auf der Karte und in der Natur (instrument for measuring distances, directions and angles on a map and in the field). The compass displayed below is only one part of the device described in the patent (see the eight figures below).

Note that the zero (6400 mils) faces south in conformity with the artillery procedures at this time.

 Pictures courtesy J. Houcke
 (click on the images for enlarged views)

This instrument was to be held in 50cm distance from the observer's eye by means of a lanyard. The rail in the grip held the device shown in the picture at right (enlarged view) i.e. a rotating plate (fig. 2) with four pairs of points to measure distances on maps with various scales, a radial (H) divided in Mils to measure angles and distances on maps. The disc- shaped part features two halves: the top one being divided in Mils (1600-4800) and the lower one in degrees (10°-170°). The concentric circles represent distances in Mils. The rectangular windows (C) are used to inscript on the map the military designation of troops. The complete device
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Lensatic Compasses

The lensatic compass was invented by F. Barker & Son in 1916 (patent no. 103,019). Apparently, pre-series models were produced in small quantities but the definitive version is the one in the table below at left. The U.S. ARMY lensatic model was described in W.C. CUDE's patent filed in 1945.

Lensatic compasses feature a lens attached to a foldable holder. There are different holder types: some fold inside the closed compass, other on top of the lid. The lens holder generally features a (rear) sight element, either a notch or a pin-hole through which the other (fore) sight element —originally a thin etched line on the cover window, later a metallic wire attached in a slot in the lid— can be observed together with the object being aimed at (compare with prismatic compass and mirror compass).
Other lensatic compasses feature a sometimes adjustable lens on the case side (e.g. Creagh Osborne, WILKIE Meridian, unidentified German military compassGKS etc.).
NOTE: Even the best lensatic compasses cannot compete with the high precision of a prismatic system (2 deg. vs. one half of one deg. like with the Barker M-88).

Creagh-Osborne - 1915
(for description go to Creagh-Osborne)

F. Barker & Son - 1916
(for description go to DOLLOND)

- Basic version (go to M-1938)

U.S. ARMY (see CUDE 1945 pat. no. 2,487,044). See also Gurley, Sup. Magneto.

(go to Brunson, Cammenga, Stocker & Yale, Lionel Corp., Fee & Stemwedel, Union Instruments, Miller, Waltham etc.)

Pict. at left: Large-size wooden training device (dia.: 23") probably used for demonstration in a training center's classroom (e.g. Camp Lejeune).
(Click on image for enlarged view).

For training purposes, the U.S. Army used fold-out guides with a dummy compass. The black-and-yellow guide doesn't mention any manufacturer or production year. The only hint is the verse:
    To be "ORIENTED" you don't become a JAP Simply find your position on ground and map.
(* Short for Japanese - see WIKIPEDIA, Pacific War)
There are more such "good" jokes like this one: An AZIMUTH is not something you sit on.
Or this one: Like ham and eggs your map and your compass go together.
The style of the later version (1968) was much more serious.
See another training (practising) compass in SILVA.

(Click for enlarged views)

The symbols for the cardinal points around the dummy compass are a polar bear (North), a cowboy (West), a smiling rising sun (East) and a palmtree (South).
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 4 1/5" x 4 1/2" (110 x 125 mm)
- Number of pages: 6
- Divisions (on dummy compass): 360 deg. clockwise
- Date: 2nd World War
- Conventional signs: general and military

The compass on cover (pict. left, 1st row, r.) is a lensatic Model 1938 (see Superior Magneto and Gurley).

(Click for enlarged views)
NOTE (pic. at left): "READ RIGHT-UP" compare with the more precise German Planzeiger system.

This dummy compass presents all the characteristics of the M-1950
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 6 1/4" X 4 1/4" (159 x 108 mm)
- Number of pages: 6
- Divisions (on dummy compass): 360 deg. and 6400 mils
- Date: 1968 (Vietnam war era)

Excerpt of the footnote on page 6
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LEUPOLD is a U.S. manufacturer of optics for rifles (more information HERE).
This compass was made by LEUPOLD & STEVENS INSTRUMENTS, INC. (Portland 13 Oregon). According to their history (see this company's own website, they built compasses in the 1950's. This item looks at first sight like a standard forestry compass (compare with Keuffel & Esser and LIETZ) but it additionally features a TOWNSHIP PLAT chart (ref. the cadastral manual) inside the cover which showed the numerical order of sections within a township in accordance with U.S. Public Lands Survey. This special chart was already featured on a compass made by Keuffel & Esser in the 1930's-40's and called RECON. It also appears on the CRUISER compass model also made by Warren-Knight. Moreover, the device for magnetic declination adjustment was much easier to use. Two basic models were proposed: the smaller SPORTSMAN and the larger and heavier CRUISER*. Moreover, LEUPOLD proposed a large compass type called FORESTER that could be fitted onto a staff (model A) and a similar one with a graduated sighting vane (model B). This compass occurs with the name of various manufacturers (LIETZ, GURLEY, CHARVOZ etc. see Survey Compasses). Some older models were made by Leupold, Volpel & Co. and feature user instructions on the face (pic. clickHERE).
(Pict. at right: LEUPOLD ad, late 1950's - click to enlarge)

* Note: Mooers Jr., Robert L. Finding Your Way In The Outdoors, Outdoor Life Press (1972), p. 47: The term cruiser compass derives from the practice of foresters cruising or estimating the value of a stand of timber by taking compass readings to ascertain the size of the stand.

(Copies of catalog, advertisement and manufacturer's manual can be ordered).

(Click on the images for enlarged views)

The grid engraved in the lid shows a township plat. The entire territory of the U.S.A. has been surveyed by the U.S.G.S. and divided according to a system of square tracts measuring 24x24 miles containing each 16 townships * of 6x6 miles. Each township comprises 36 sections numbered as shown in the compass grid.

(Cont'd at right)
The two basic models were the
(see note above)

Markings were made on ground and they are indicated in the topographical maps issued by the U.S.G.S. (Quadrangles or Quads). This makes orientation for hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen very easy. This system was created for new territories by future president Th. Jefferson when he was governor of Virginia.

SPORTSMAN - Technical Data
- Outside diameter: 2 1/2 in.
- Thickness: 1/2 in.
- Weight: 4 oz.
- Needle length: 1 3/4 in.
- Material: Aluminum
- Adjusment of magnetic declination is effected by turning a slotted pinion gear in the case with a coin or a knife blade (see pic. below)

At r.: Flyer featuring all L & S compass types (photocopy available)

* Abbr.: T = Townships, numbered verticaly, R = Range, numbered  horizontaly, plus initial letter of the cardinal point.

more details on the website of the U.S.G.S. We also recommend the booklet CARTERS' Map and Compass Manual (150 p.,1954)

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LIONEL Corp. was U.S. manufacturer (read the full story in WIKIPEDIA).

(Click on image to enlarge)
LENSATIC compass model M-1950

Technical Data (see Cammenga)


PROFILE - The company's full name in the early 20th C. was Fabrique des Longines, Francillon & Co. S.A. It is located in St-Imier, Switzerland (read the full story in WIKIPEDIA and on this company's website).
Longines filed in August 1918 a patent (no. 79671, copy available on request) describing in all details the famous compass produced by Plan Ltd, Cruchon & Emons. (compare with the Abercrombie & Fitch version). We suppose that Longines waited until this moment (end of WW1) because this instrument was a (secret?) military materiel supplied to the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

Drawing: Longines' patent, figure (click on the drwg. for a full page view)
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LUFFT is a German manufacturer of barometers (see picture at right, c.1930's). LUFFT was the manufacturer of the famous BÉZARD compass. LUFFT also retailed many different pocket compasses and a diver's compass (unknown manufacturer).
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A.B. (Aktie Bolaget = incorporated company) LYTH is a Swedish company created in 1861 by Georg Wilhelm Lyth (website: See also Nautical Compasses. Lyth manufactured in the 1920's-1930's marching compasses for Sweden's Army. Lyth cooperated with Björn Kjellström before the latter founded SILVA and several various designs are known bearing both names after the mention: PATENT S. (= sökt = applied in Swedish) Mod. KJELLSTRÖM - LYTH. Silva sued Lyth later because of a patent filed by Lyth in 1931 for a fluid-dampened marching compass.
Compare with the models built by SILVA and NIFE

Model Lyth 1928, S/N 465

Model with round window
(no date, no S/N)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 70 x 68 x 23 mm
- Divisions: 6300 mils.
- Dry capsule

All feature a sturdy bakelite case and a massive capsule casing and bezel.

Click on images for enlarged views

Picture courtesy Sihvonen Jarkko

Model with transparent window in the lid with 400 grades division and 40 mm ruler.

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 70 x 68 x 23mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils.
- Dry capsule, steel mirror in lid
- Ruler: 60mm
- Sighting aids
Technical Data
- Divisions: 400 grades (read menue / Miscell. / Divisions)
- Markings: STELLA on a five-branches star.
Note the word PATENT but no number.
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