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- L -


Dominique LATOUR was a French maker and retailer of survey materiel who established the company named after him in 1857. The logo depicted a lighthouse, the letters D & L and a banner marqued FIAT LUX. It was located 13, Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. The name was changed in 1907 in D. Latour & Fils (Latour and son) after the son Adolphe-Dominique inherited. The plants were located in Ligny-en-Barrois (Département Meuse). Many items like small compasses were supplied by HOULLIOT. LATOUR also offered military and survey compass types designed by the French officers Burnier, Peigné and Rossignol (see below).

Pictures courtesy A. Coubard (l.) and M. Collignon (r.)

Click on the pictures for enlarged view of the full page

Click on the pictures for enlarged view of the full page


Former French company part of the BAILLE LEMAIRE group.
This pocket compass is identical to the wrist version.
See also marching and survey compasses.
Click on picture at r. for enlarged view

LINCOLN, Abraham (the murderer's compass)

 Unknown manufacturer. A similar design appears on a disc that could be a medal or a compass dial (link to image courtesy B. Sutton) - the rest of which is lost - and which was maybe partly coated with a thick layer of paint or enamel. This picture symbolises the extension of the United States in all directions contrary to the North vs. South division of the cessation war.

Historical note: This compass is on permanent exhibit at the Ford’s Theater Museum in Washington D.C. It is one of the items which belonged to President Abraham Lincoln's murderer, John Wilkes Booth. The latter tried to escape after he had killed Lincoln on April 14, 1865 at Ford’s Theater. Despite using a compass, the conspirators John Wilkes Booth and David Herold lost their way while attempting to cross the Potomac River on the night of April 20th and landed in Maryland instead of Virginia. They tried again two days later but in the meantime, more Federal troops were hunting them. On April 25 they were surrounded. Herold surrendered and was sentenced to death. John Wilkes Booth was shot during the fight.
Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith - Postediting: Jaypee (see original picture "Booth's possession").


Swiss clockmaker located in Saint Imier. He made Mark VI pocket compasses for the U.S.A. and Great Britain during WWI. At that time,  WITTNAUER was their agent in the U.S.A. Another compass was produced in the 1940's after the Longines WITTNAUER Watch Company (LWWW Co.) was created in 1936. See also Wrist compasses.

(Photo Dennis Honor - Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
Technical Data

- Diameter: 49 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 55 gr
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Long necks are antique pocket compasses whose loop attachment fitting is somewhat longer than on most other (later) compasses.
They were produced in the second half on the 19th. century, maybe earlier. Most of them feature a bar needle and an enamel display (see SIMMS, SPEAR). Extremely rare are the ones featuring a floating compass card (e.g. NO NAME, GB).

The example below features a tortoise shell back. It is unsigned, however the fleur-de-lys' shape is identical to that featured on the compass signed J. & G. SIMMS.
The transit lock is a plunger type, it goes in and out, rather than side to side. This feature was used only up until around 1790, it is not unique, but is limited only to the very oldest long-neck compasses. It is rare for that feature, but is also unique that it is made in tortoiseshell, solid gold, and gold plated silver. There appears to be no brass.

Pictures courtesy Will Parsons
(Click for enlarged views)

The rear face made of tortoise shell
Technical Data
- Case diameter = 43 mm
- Dial face dia. = 39 mm
- Case depth = 13 mm
- Neck (not incl. loop) = 12 mm
- Weight: 50g

Note the tiny arrow below NNW indicating the declination: (ca. 23.5° W = 1790, London)

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German company located near Stuttgart (for more information click HERE)
Apparently, LUFFT only manufacturated the BÉZARD compass. A car compass and a diver's wrist compass with identical features are also known.
All other items were produced either by BUSCH, STOCKERT or by the French manufacturer HOULLIOT.
They were called Schülerkompass (school boy's compass), Wanderkompass (hiking compass), Marschkompass (marching compass) etc. They are displayed here together since their simple cylindrical form constitutes one category. The product range goes from simple compasses (no. 330) to precise models for military use or ambitious hikers. The latters featured a rotating course setting arrrow. There were several technical solutions: some were directly fitted under the crystal (no. 745 and 1745) and could be set by turning the crystal frame rim. On others, this arrow was on the rotating capsule floor under the magnetic needle (no. 2745). This system and most other models were manufactured by HOULLIOT. No. 2745 was called in France by MORIN Boussole directrice (see user instr. below). They featured civil divisions (360 degrees) or military divisions (6400 mils). Some had also radium paint markings for night missions.

Tin model 330 (c. 1910)

Side and rear view

The museum's collection also comprises a brass model in the size of the tin model, built in a leather strap (see Wrist compasses)
Brass model 330 (c. 1930)

Technical Data (tin model)
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 48 g

Technical Data (brass model)
- Diameter: 40 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 35 g

catalogue no. 1745

(Compare with BUSCH's "RADIA" model)
Tin model, WW I

Engraving on rear side:
(propriety of the Army's Administration)

This compass is very similar to the BUSCH compass no. 3348 "RADIA": only the position of the needle transit lock and the needle's shape differ.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 65 g
- Magnet needle: lozenge-shaped
Brass model, 1930

Rear side:
16 JR 41 (16. Jägerregiment)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 40 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 44 g
A self-luminescent radium zinc sulfide paint compound was applied on the case bottom under the face featuring a rose of winds with cut-away cardinals through which the luminous paint glowed. Needle and marching course arrow are also coated with a self-luminescent paint compound.
A version of the marching compass with a luminous cardboard rose in a brass body

The user' instructions

Technical Data
- Divisions 6400 mils, counterclockwise
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Depth: 13 mm
- Weight: 26 g

No. 1950 with glass bottom.

No. 1950 with transparent bottom
(see also Collignon, mod. 946 / 948)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 50 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 47 g
- Divisions: 400 grades

Export version export from France (Houlliot). In the 1950's-60's, the French company MORIN sold the compass type Modèle 1922 based on the same principles: transparent bottom and arrow point on the black rim.
It was then made by Collignon-Houlliot.

Nr. 1745 S (with swivel case)
This compass dial design also appears in a BUSCH catalog (model Radia).
Manufacturer: C. Stockert

Model no. 1950 with swivel case like no. 1745 S

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 67 x 54 x 15 mm
- Weight: 83 g
- Divisions: 400 grad/gon
- Manufacturer :  Houlliot
(Click on picture below for enlarged view)

At least two different sizes were available:
'Tourist' compass No. 440 D
(the letter D stands for the German word Deckel, i.e. lid)
Concerning the German word "Tourist" in the 1930s and in East Germany (GDR) after WWII, see MISCELLANEOUS / Terminology.

Technical Data
Brass compass
- Diameter: 40mm
- Depth: 14mm
- Weight: 35gr

Model No. 1540

Design differs slightly from the picture
(compare with the MORIN, fig. 51 below).
Technical Data
Material: steel/silver-plated
- Diameter: 35 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 30 g
- Punch inside lid: D 35

Basic model no. 1745
(Compare with MORIN's
Boussole Directrice
fig. 1235, next item)

Model no. 2745 D
(the letter D is for the German word Deckel, lid)

User Instructions printed in France (with typos!) by the French manufacturer Houlliot.

S/No.: 36

Technical Data
- Diameter: 46mm
- Depth: 14mm
- Weight: 60gr

Appears also in a 1910 STOCKERT catalog (No. 821)
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- M -


Profile - Unknown abbreviation engraved on back. This Mark VI compass model appears in a 1926 Barker catalogue.

Click on picture for enlarged view
Technical Data
- Diameter: 46mm
- Height: 15mm
- Radium-compound paint markings


Unknow German manufacturer. The compass parts (needle and rose of wind) was much probably supplied by Stockert (DRGM : see MISCELLANEOUS / Abbrev.)
Vesta cases, vesta boxes, or pocket match safes were small portable boxes made in a great variety of forms with snapshut covers to contain vestas (short matches) and keep them dry (Definition: Wikipedia).

Click on picture for enlarged view
Vesta case

(Pictures petra40cat)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 48 mm
- Length (with loop): 70 mm
- Depth: 17 mm
- Weight: 29,7 gr

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Former French company (for more information, click HERE).
See also the categories Survey & Artillery compasses, Nautical compasses and Marching compasses.

The catalogue for the year 1930 gives a perfect overview of its product range. MORIN specialized in the field of high precision measuring instruments but offered also a large variety of widely used smaller compasses.
The most well known were the so called boussoles directrices (Marching compasses) used during WW I. The various items are shown together with the catalogue illustration.

1930 MORIN catalogue with short user instr.

(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

Model no. 9194, fig. 1235
This compass type featured civilian (360 deg.), geodesic (400 grades) or military divisions (6400 mils). This one also features large dash-shaped self-luminescent radium paint compound markings.

There were many different transport cases and pouches for this compass type (metallic and leather). We display some of them below. See also Muller & Vaucher

Technical Data
- Diameter: 52 mm
- Depth: 10 mm
- Weight: 48 g.

Technical Data (as above)
- Divisions: 6400 mils.
- Case: aluminium, guilloché back plate
(see definition under MISCELLANEOUS).
This museum also has another one wih a brass case.
- Compass dial: brushed (silver-coated ?) for better light reflectivity. It reflects light in the dark like the mother-of-pearl cards used by british compass makers.

La boussole du soldat en campagne.
The signature "Cne P. D." stands for Capitaine Paul Delcroix (photocopy available).

Side view of transit lock

Technical Data
Identical to the marching compass Model 1922 but w/o the bakelite casing with protection lid.
Brass casing with hinged lid
Belgium's Army


Technical Data
Special device for the cavalry. It was attached to the saddle and comprised a clip and a compass pocket with a concealed flap on the other side.

Technical Data (compass: see above)
The flap has a magnifying glass so that the rider can read the compass indication while seated upright in the saddle.

Model catalogue no. 100, fig. 51

Technical Data
- Diameter: 42 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 35 g
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Former Swiss manufacturer located in Bienne (Biel in German) and Geneva and founder of RECTA in 1897 (no more data momentarily available). Eric Vaucher was the engineer who designed the famous match-box-shaped RECTA DP compass type. We presume that the floating dial compass at right (resembling the item no. 1 in the catalogue) was created by this company. The words Brevet DEM = abbrev. for demandé in French, meaning 'patent pending' refers to the patent no. 71,708 describing a wrist compass (follow the link).

Aluminum case featuring a patented transit locking device.
- Divisions: 4 x 90 deg.; cardinals: German or French; Magnetic declination: line of luminous paint on the transit lock flat bar.
A special version displayed under the north N instead of the mention PAT. + 1916 a thin Latin cross over a letter S probably symbolizing the constellation Southern Cross (Crux). Compare to the French version (no. 2 in catalogue).

Existed also signed RECTA (see further down on this page)

Click on images for enlarged views - Pic. at r. courtesy Th. Steffen

Detailed view of the transit locking lever end
The figure 71481 engraved on the rear face together with the Helvetic cross is the patent number dated 1916 cited on the front face. This patent describes the locking mechanism of the magnet needle featuring a rod sliding inside the pendant to activate a lever (see below, centre pic.):

Click on the drawing for an enlarged view

Photocopies of patent and catalogues available
The same dial design was also used on compasses without paint on the cardinals and featuring a conventional transit lock (side lever).

The blue pouch was used during WWI by French soldiers for their Boussole Directrice (with 6400 Mils division). It contained also the official Charles-Lavauzelle protractor.

Pics below: Versions with 6400 Mils divisions in the pouch and 360 deg. on leather lanyard. The first magnetic needle was arrow-shaped but later lozenge-shaped.

Another model featured a 400 grades div. and
a red marching course arrow (link to picture).

Officer's compass (called Ordonnanzboussole
 in a Büchi catalogue)

Click on the images for enlarged views

This model featuring a floating card existed also with a standard needle (follow the link for a picture).

These M. & V. catalogues* were sent to Mr. Houlliot
(note by hand on the left page).
The item no. 12 is described in the section Wrist compasses.

* Kindly donated to Compassipedia by M. Collignon
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- N -

NARDIN, Ulysse

Former Swiss clock maker (for more information click HERE).

Open face compass (compare with the hunter case made by BILAND). The needle rotates between the face and an S-shaped transverse bar so that the major part of it is always to be seen. The crystal has a metallic frame.
The letters N and S on the needle had each one two radium paint dots but at different places: at each end of the S but at the lower ends of the N, so that they couldn't be mistaken.
 (Click on picture for enlarged view)

Manufacturer's name and address:

The manufacturer's monogramme reads: a-B-c (?) where the uppercase 'B' most probably stands for BILAND who has signed a compass showing the same monogramme.
Technical Data
- Diameter: 42 mm
- Depth: 6 mm
- Weight: 33 g
Two patent numbers are indicated:
76117 for France and 83025 for Switzerland (these numbers have probably been re-used because they now refer to vapour machine systems).


G. NEGELEIN was a German maker located in Nuremberg, Bavaria.

Box compass, early 19th c.,
brass case: dia. 47mm.

Pictures courtesy Howard Sandys

Box compass, early 19th c., wooden case, two sizes are known: dia. 62 and 23mm
Sundial signed

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Former British Company (for more information click HERE)
N & Z built large instruments for ships but also small instruments, any of them were in reality manufactured by F. BARKER and Son.
See a small N&Z compass integrated in a photographer's instrument made by A. Watkins.

Technical Data
The compass is housed in a small, 1.75 inch (45mm) diameter brass hunter case which was originally ebonised; much of this has worn away with age and use but the inside remains original. There is a hanging loop and a working push-button catch. Inside the case there is a nickel plated ring or frame, with milled edge, which slides upwards allowing the compass to swing in its gimbals and releasing the card to search for North. The actual compass is tiny, 1 inch (25mm) in diameter, with a black & silvered card marked Negretti & Zambra London. It consistently sets North. The compass weighs 100 grams, depth closed: 17 mm.
This particular design is called SINGER after its inventor: i.e. the card's northern half is blackened to render readings in the dark easier.
For comprehensive explanations, see also THE COMPASS COLLECTOR's website (LINKS).

By pulling a cylindrical support out of the case, the compass card moves freely in the gimbals.

The original compass as shown in a
F. Barker catalogue

The compass card is made of mother of pearl with black paint

Liquid miniature spring hunter cased compass,branded N&Z London inside the lid (not their own production)

Technical Data
- Dim.: case diameter 37.8mm,  thickness closed 12.9mm; dial diameter 19.2mm.
- Fluid dampened mother of pearl card in a capsule with 6 screws (compare with BARKER's Unicus versions)

Dial: F. Barker's RGS design

Negretti und Zambra's maker punch: N&Z. Three hallmarks on the Sterling case. Passant, Lion face and "P" date stamp for 1910.

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
Technical Data (approx.)
- Diameter: 25 mm
- Depth: 18 mm
- Weight: 25 g
The compass card is the one of the SCOUTING compass model made by F. Barker (see above).

(Pictures courtesy L. Kneller)
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Former British Company (for more information click HERE). See also Marching compasses.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Pictures TML
Technical data
- Diameter: 54 mm

(Click on the picture to view the gimbal)

(Click on the picture for a detailed view)

Pictures TML
Technical data
- Diameter (compass bowl): 54 mm
- Case diameter: 85mm
- Case height: 55mm
- Dial diameter: 48mm, mother of pearl, SINGER's patent design
 - Weight: 380g
- Case material: wood covered in Morocco leather and lined in green velvet
- Compass bowl moves on gimbals
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- O -


OPTIMEX is the trade name of a device adapted to pocket compasses probably made by the German compass maker C. Stockert & Sohn. It comprises a 85mm ruler hinged onto a 180° protractor. With it one can measure on a map the distance between two points (= length of a trip) and simultaneously the angle between a magnetic North-South axis (with the compass) or any line drawn on the map. The opposite operation is also possible: when one has spotted some object / target in the open and assessed or calculated its relative distance and bearing from the observer, it is possible to set the instrument in such a way that the user can immediately pinpoint its position on the map. The abbrev.. DRGM (registered trademark in the German Empire) means that this item was made between the 2 world wars.
Picture by courtesy of Craig        .

OSSIETZKY / Осецкiй (en russe ancien)

V. Ossietzky was colonel (полковник) in the Russian Army. This compass bears on the under side his signature written in the pre-revolution alphabet. The abbreviations Oxp. Cвид. (in full words: Оxpанное Свидетельство) stand for "Registered Trademark". Compare to general-major Khlynovsky's compass and the Russian compasses further below (see also the ADBER compass).

Plain version. Compare to the catalogue version featuring a graduation
(Cliquer sur les images pour les agrandir)

Photos igmas123
Technical data
- Dia.: 2 " / 50 mm, Balmain luminous paper under the cardinals and the rose of the winds (C = Cebep = sever = north). Two numbers are engraved on the back of this model but another one bears only the first no. and another one on which the rose of the winds is imprinted (links to pics).
At left : Description as given in the  yearly catalogue of army materiels (1907):
At right: drawing in a catalogue        

P - Q


Former German Company (more information HERE). See also the sections Marching and Wrist Compasses.

Model 632 S

This item also existed with a transparent bottom. It is also dislayed in a WILKIE catalog for the year 1975

(Click on the image for an enlarged view)

Technical data
- Diameter: 45mm
- Depth: 12mm
- Weight: 46gr
- The arrow is painted under the crystal fixed in the bezel (compare with the marching compass Model 206 S).

Picture at left: Description in three languages

Picture below:
Catalogue for the year 1949. The export price list also contains a type-written French translation of the commercial terms and conditions.

Click on the image for a view of the full compass product range.
Model 1032  -  Technical data
- Diameter: 45mm
- Depth: 12mm
- Weight: 31g

These two compasses are described in the catalogue below (1971).

(Click on image for view opened with price list)

Pictures courtesy H. Camacho

Read full descr. in the catalog for 1970

Model featuriag a transparent capsule that existed also in a marching compass version.


We know of several compasses bearing this name. See also ENBEECO, A. & N. Aux., scoutism, trail-blazer, Consolidated Instr., a Japanese wrist compass and the German marching compass called Pfadfinder.

Technical Data
- Diam.: 1.25" / 32 mm
- Height: 1/2" / 12 mm
- Case material: Bakelite (at left)
Unknown U.S. (?) makers

Pictures courtesy ethelflorence
Click on the images for enlarged views

Small travel set containing a pocket compass, a map measurer and a magnifying glass.

Technical Data
Dim.: 800x600x120mm
Compass dia: 20mm
Map measurer type Gaumet

Pictures courtesy A. Zoldi

Instructions for use


Instrument patented by JOANNOT (link to more details in the Watches section) in 1892. The compass face features a map of the United Kingdom. The other side is the pedometer counter. Several versions are known to have been produced.

Click in the image for a view of the mechanism

Face with three hands and drawing of mechanism published in Le Journal de Genève, 1896.
Technical Data
- Dia. : 46 mm
- Map of UK 

Ad (J. de Genève, 1894)
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PETAIN (Souvenir du général ~ )

This compass is almost identical to the famous boussole directrice but smaller (Ø 46 mm). It was produced by HOULLIOT shortly after WW1. The engraving on the rear face is a recollection to the hero the Verdun battle. Pétain was made marshal in 1918 and he became the head of France when the country was occupied by nazi Germany during WW2. This model was exported to the USA (see in the shop the item featuring English cardinals) and to Germany (s. above LUFFT no. 2745).


PLATIN was possibly the name of a private manufacturer that became the "people's company" VEB Plastverarbeitung in communist East-Germany. Probably early 1950's.

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Matchbox-type container
Technical Data
- Dia.: 40mm
- Height: 15mm
- The declination value of 20° W ist unrealistic: it was about 5° W at the time the compass was manufactured.
Text on box: Der zuverlässige Kompaß = the reliable compass
Stamp: EVP (empfohlener Verkaufspreis) = recommended price: 2,05 DM.


Polish-made item Model K7- No other information available.

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Dia.: 45.6mm
- Side length: 50mm; Height: 13.3mm
- Cardinals: see Menue / Miscell. / Cardinals / Poland
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- R -

Radium and Radioactivity

You will find HERE a comprehensive description of what you need to know about the radioactive paint used in compasses.


This compass was first produced by Muller & Vaucher (further up on this page). Eric Vaucher created later the company RECTA.
Link to the main entry about RECTA.


The abbrev. R-S is that of a German retailer (link to a picture of the catalogue). The instruments were supplied by Wilkie or C. Stockert.

Technical Data
- Diameter: mm


Thomas RUBERGALL was a British manufacturer (London, 1800 - 1854)

Technical Data
- Diameter: mm
- Depth: mm
- Weight: g.

(Picture courtesy Trademarklondon.com - Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
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In the lists of materiels* officially accepted for use in the former Russian Imperial Army (for the years 1907 - 1911) various compass models for officers and lower rank soldiers are described. The document shown at right (click on the image for a view of the complete list) comprises nine models (for full description follow the links):
• Seven for officers: 
- a)  Captain Adrianoff's compass, model 1911
- б / b) and в / v)  Compass called "directrice" (in French in the original Russian wording), dia. 62 mm, graduated every 2° (model b) or 6000 mils (artillery model v)
- г / g)  Colonel Ossietzky's compass, new model
- д / d)  General-major Khlynovsky's compass, new model, diam. 45 mm, graduated every 5° (s pics at right)
- e)  A model called Invincible, at right in the table below. Manufacturer: Houlliot
- ж / j)  Gen. Khlynovsky's compass, old model, graduated every 15°

• Two for lower rank soldiers (simple versions of the items listed above):
- a)  Col. Ossietzky's compass, same item as for officers
- б / b)  Gen. Khlynovsky's compass
* All documents courtesy D. Kouryshev

See also the wrist compasses Adrianoff, ZUP, AURKKA. 

(Click on the pictures
for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Diameter: 49mm; depth: 12mm; Weight:55 g
The crystal features a white (former luminous) lubber's line and is attached to a bezel that can be rotated to set the marching course.
The letter C is the initial of the russian word CEBEP (pronounce SEVER) meaning North.
Manufacturer not identified.


(Click on th images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Dia: ?. mm
- Divisions: 360° clockwise, every 5°, numbered every 30°
- Cardinal points in Russian
This compass resembles one made for the U.S. Boy Scouts by U.S. Gauge (transit lock through loop base). Only the letter for North C is in luminous paint.
(Read MISCELL. th ecard. pts in various languages)

Model xxx
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