- Brunton Pocket Transit Compass
- TG Co Ltd London MKIII
- T. COOKE London
- KELVIN-HUGES (sic !)
- Pistor & Martins
- "Nazi" Compasses
- Nicolas BION's and BUTTERFIELD's sundials imitations (also one named Nicholas DION!)
- Chinese Sundials
- Classical Pocket Compass

BRUNTON Pocket Transit Compass

Maybe the most common fake compasses are imitations of the Brunton Pocket Transit compass. These items feature fancy engravings like famous makers' names together with unrealistic dates (the patent was filed in 1894!) and also sometimes a tiny arrow head symbol of the British Army but not the genuine one (also called 'crow-foot'). They are all made of brass (and not aluminium like the genuine ones) manufactured in India or Pakistan and cannot be used for precise work as a comparison of the magnetic needles of the military version M2 and a Stanley London model will easily prove. Some bear on the lid a table of the NATURAL SINES.
The genuine versions were produced by Ainsworth, Dietzgen or Keuffel & Esser. The modern ones produced by a Chinese manufacturer though (see Harbin DQL-8) are true surveying instruments.

One well-known model produced in large quantities was sold by a retailer specialized on false replicas called STANLEY LONDON who has no connection to the former famous maker of this name. The signature was engraved inside the capsule (pic. at r.).

We assume that the forgers risk legal issues since the compasses bear famous manufacturers' names like CASELLA or RYLAND & Son Ltd., a famous British maker of telescopes and sextants.
On some items like the one at left a company name and a logo have been erased (link to pic.) to conceal the modernity of the object.
Picture at left: good copy but the green gem in the needle cap betrays the recent manufacture period and the Asian origin.

Two versions of a BRINTON 
Click on the images for enlarged views


Ryland & Son Ltd (pic. by courtesy of R. Ivett)

TG Co Ltd London MKIII and others

Very poor reproduction currently made in India of the famous prismatic marching compass Mark III (MKIII) produced among many others by this manufacturer (compare with T.G. Co. Ltd. London's original instrument). The year number punched on the rear face (1941) has no significance at all.

Some details:
- The bracket designed to protect the glass window was made to look older by artificial means and is covered with a glossy varnish.
- The side screw (marching course or bearing setting) is not made of a single element but consists of a threaded rod and a nut.
- There are absolutely no luminous devices or markings on the card or the case. The compass card is not made of mother of pearl and doesn't reflect light.
- The British Army's crowfoot-shaped arrow has not the official form, even if one considers, that the maker has wanted to represent two arrows punched opposite to each other as it was the rule when materiel was decommissioned. But then, the arrows would face each other and would build a 6-branched star.
- The abbreviated manufacturer's name is written without dots on some items.
- The capsule contains no liquid and is not designed for this purpose.
- The bezel has no securing ring and falls off when turned upside down.
- The sighting window in the lid is also unsecured (glued) and falls easily off (see pict. below).

Two examples of the objects. We added a stripe of paper under the bezel to show the divisions

Click on images for enlarged views

View of the glossy varnish

Both versions feature the same fancy data. Absolute nonsense is a version dated 1836 !
(click on link for picture)
Technical Data
This instrument exists in two different sizes:
- same as original (dia. 2-1/4'' / 58mm)
- oversized (dia. 3'' / 75mm)
- small: 8 oz. / 250 grs
- large: 12 oz./375 grs.

A version with nazi symbols (Führer Fabrik Krupp) exists also and is displayed below.

Click on images for enlarged views

This instrument looks like a rather well imitated item but it could be genuine. In this case it's a rare prototype or unfinished or exagerately cleaned case.
There is no luminous paint on the chapter ring, the north mark triangle (instead of a lozenge) on the disk is the same as on the Israel-made El-Op compass and there is no rubber ring on the back. The S/N beginning with the letter S could be for STANLEY...

T. COOKE London

The object at right is a coarse modern imitation of the survey compasses made by Thomas COOKE & Sons in the early 20th c. (read the relevant entry). The genuine instruments featured a sturdy bar-shaped needle and not a flat needle.
Picture courtresy M. Jakob

Several fake items are known. The worst may be this MIX OF BRUNTON POCKET TRANSIT, LENSATIC AND PRISMATIC MODELS:
1st: The case has the typical shape of the Brunton Pocket Transit Compass. These were not made of heavy brass but only aluminium.
2nd: The needle is a modern one, only the treacherous red paint has been scratched off.
3rd: The sights belong to two different compass models. The small one on the lid (front sight) is typical of Brunton but the large one (rear) appears only on the WWII U.S. Army compasses made much later whereas there should be a lens in the large hole to read the tiny divisions - which this item doesn't have (Compare to Marching Compasses / Cammenga or Stockert and Yale etc.
4th: The window in the lid / mirror featuring a hairline is typical of the British prismatic instruments made already for WWI and which eventually evolved in the (Barker) Mark III and higher models.
5th:  The clinometer is typical of surveyors' compasses.

Pics. crtsy. P. Sillitoe

Original items


This item (made in India?) bears the name of the famous manufacturer KELVIN-HUGHES but written with a "typo" (HUGES) and a fancy date (1918).

Picture courtesy of Vidal Regals / Elisabeth Wolf Allemann

Intentional Typo? BRONTON instead of BRUNTON
Items (also made in India?) bearing the famous manufacturer's name KELVIN & HUGHES and a fancy date (1917). They are only poor imitations of the famous BRUNTON pocket transit compass

See also page top :  BRINTON


Picture by courtesy of Louis Geerts
This item (probably made in India) bears the name of the famous German scientist and manufacturer Karl Philipp Heinrich PISTOR (1778-1847) and of his associate and son-in-law MARTINS (read the full story in Wikipedia's German version). They mostly made telescopes and survey materiel but in those years no compass like this one existed. The type of letters used in the name and city (Berlin) is identical to the ones in the modern STANLEY LONDON replicas of compasses (see BRUNTON). Moreover, the letters for the cardinal points are engraved inverted but not the figures (excepted the clinometer) and the compass features no prism. The circular mirror in the lid would be an explanation but the scale doesn't rotate - what makes no sense at all ! The cardinals are written in a roman language (O and E for West and East in French for instance). Their arrangement is identical to the italian marching compass made by CEV.


DISCLAIMERSome objects or documents in this museum are witnesses and parts of Germany's History. We have decided in favour of an uncensored exhibition.

We frequently receive questions concerning compasses with symbols of nationa-socialist (nazi) Germany, typically an eagle and the cross called svaztika.   
On some items, the eagle has fancy feathers and doesn't resemble the official Third Reich's heraldic eagle. On this Bézard-type compass (image at left), the eagle has no feet contrary to all official designs (see also example at right). However, the head turned to the left is ok. Animals on coat of arms always look to their right except when placed on the right-hand side of vehicles (to avoid depicting them looking backwards!) or on the right-hand breast pocket of uniforms.
(Picture at left by courtesy of liveauctioner)

Very common are also some other ones from several makers on which several German names were engraved like U-Boot (submarine), LEICA (camera manufacturer), KRUPP (Steel works) and FÜHRER (i.e. 'the guide', Hitler's unofficial but widely used title). Generally, the letters D.R.P. (see Miscellaneous/Terminology/Abbr.) are also printed for more genuineness...

A genuine Busch marching compass also bears the state's emblem (eagle and nazi cross) but in addition the special upper case M of the Kriegsmarine and a pattern number like on ships compasses that makes no sense on such an instrument. However, this item is maybe not a fake: look at the perfect eagle's claws (missing on the Bézard compass above). It can have been made as a gift for a captain but we have no records of such habits.
(Picture at left by courtesy of G. Creis)

The website Forum Axis History gives a detailed explanation why a compass (see pics below) is a gross fake. Even the famous slogan Alles für Deutschland (link to pic of a SA knife) meaning 'everything for Germany' contains a typo: the letter 'L' is missing in the word DEUTSCHLAND. NOTE: These words were the official slogan of the nationalsocialist (Nazi) organisation Sturmabteilung (SA). Using them is forbiden in Germany (Para 86a StGB, Süddeutsche Zeitung about the conviction of the German rightist politician member of the AfD party Björn Höcke in June 2023).
All these items are worthless. The nazi symbols were only utilized on stamps and official documents, on uniforms and flags and for aircraft identification but rarely on tools and instruments. These words are albeit to be seen on a bell hanging in Herxheim's church (© Uwe Anspach/DPA).
For the rest, only ship compasses of the Kriegsmarine bore the state's symbols.

Model A (see Breithaupt) with additional SS and Skull & Bones symbols.

The black paint was crudely scratched away and the symbols applied with thick paint.
It cannot be entirely ruled out that this addition was already done during the "IIIrd Reich" by a member of the SS but we tend to think of it as a recent work.

(Picture at left by courtesy of Ebay seller "hering")

Our advice: save your money or make a donation to COMPASSIPEDIA. Thank you!

Pic. courtesy Daunicht & Blohm
(Detail view: click on image)

On this Bézard compass, besides the Word RICHTUNG (DIRECTION) numbers (88/34) and two symbols are engraved: the famous lightning-shaped SS at left and the abbreviation RZM (for Reichszeugmeisterei or Quartermaster Office) at right. The standard Marching compasses issued to the soldiers during the IIIrd Reich and WWII were not Bézard-type compasses but the models displayed in the entries Breithaupt and Busch. The RZM was responsible for all official items like uniform designs, knives etc.) but all pieces of equipment had to be labelled with a visible RZM copyright protection symbol and a product-assigned RZM number that contained encoded data about the industrial branch, material group, manufacturer code and year of production.
Since this information is missing on this item, we must consider that it is a modern fake addition on an old compass. The no. 88 is not innocent: the 8th letter in the alphabet is H so that 88 means HH, a code commonly used nowadays in right-wing groups for "Heil Hitler"). The no. 34 is probably the contraction of 124 i.e. Ab-D = Ausländerbefreites Deutschland = Germany freed from Foreigners (see more Neonazi popular codes HERE). Genuine manufacturers codes always began with a letter (see List of RZM codes). Moreover, materiels used by the Armed forces (Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe or Kriegsmarine) had no RZM-reference since these were not organisations ruled by Hitler's political party NSDAP

Pure invention made in India or China with a modern compass inside

Picture sent by a visitor

Dial signed STANLEY LONDON in gothic letters.

This item is supposed to be a German NAZI-time compass but the cardinals are in English. Such a compass never existed during the IIIrd Reich: it's pure modern invention.

Pictures by courtesy of Fedorov Vasiliy
Modern replica of a BRUNTON pocket transit type compass (made in India, s. top of page) with additional plates reading:
Top: Logo of the famous company LEICA 
(Saxon front soldiers and war victims-memorial day)
Bottom: DRESDEN (German name of the city Dresde), below left (not legible) and right: 1937

Picture courtesy Bisser Dobrev
This item also is a square-shaped BRUNTON pocket transit compass imitation (note) folding sights and the rotatable bubble level inside the capsule (link to picture)

The screwed-on plate on the lid depicts a nazi eagle and a fighter aircraft.

      Pictures by courtesy of Sosser Vice

Pictures by courtesy of T. Fairbairn
Strange idea: a typical British model (Barker Mk III) bearing German engravings :
AG Weser
(a famous shipyard)
Deutsches Reich
(German Empire) 

On the prism protecting tab: a medal (?) depicting an helmet and two swords.
Cardinals are in English language !  No marking on back
Probably made with decommissioned and discarded parts from the local army (India or Pakistan ?)
BERLIN Olympic Games 1936
At left: Equinoctial sundial (compare with the item dated 1938 below)
A similar version bears the name of the famous watchmaker Junghans together with the RZM-marking.

Note the strange label with the name of the camera manufacturer LEICA on the compass's base plate.
Picture courtesy Mark Toensing and A-M Sterk

Fake MkIII British marching compass (see above and T.G. Co. Ltd London ) with nazi symbols additions on the prism and sticker on the reverse.

Note the misspelled name of Germany: DEUTSCHAND (w/o L").

Picture courtesy K-K-Hoflieferant
Hunter cased pocket compass with sundial

A typical feature of contemporary compasses made in India is the green jewel in the needle cap: genuine ancient items always had a red jewel. Lat not least, the cardinals are in English: E for East where it should read O for Ost in German.
The wording is identical to the example above, typo included...

Pictures courtesy Forum - Axis History 
Deutsches Reich - 1938 - Deutschland über alles
Equinoctial sundial - Compare with the item dated 1936 above (Olympic Games)
The wording has no typos but the compass is also the same as the modern one with English cardinals above.

Pictures by courtesy of Ioannis Kalogeropoulos 
Carl Zeiss Jena Berlin 1943
Same gnomon design with other markings

Fancy box engraving - Click on the images for detail views.
Pictures by courtesy of J. Hunter
Carl Zeiss Jena 1944
This sundial ressembles the instruments above also ridiculously covered with symbols of nazi Germany like svastikas left and right of the pretended manufacturer, on the levelling screws and on the rear face ! 


Above the face the IIIrd Reich's heraldic eagle; under the hours chapter the letters SS (though not in the usual typography in nordic runes) and other. Click on the images for detail views.
Pictures by courtesy of S. Tilsner
Cheap modern compass glued inside a case on which a cutaway Svastika was soldered (see rings underneath)  The case is very similar to the one above with the eagle on top (see closing tabs)

Pictures by courtesy of Nick Tsagarakis
Several major museums have confirmed that reproductions are known. These are in the best case only worthless gift shop items and not original antique artefacts.
They can easily be recognized by the machine-tool engraving of the figures and the modern compass. Send us pictures if you are unsure.
Moreover, items bearing the name Nicholas DION are being offered. This is not a double typo: this maker never existed.
One item below engraved Johan Schrettegger in Augsburg was not made by  Johann Nepomuk Schrettegger (1764–1843). This maker did exist but he only made the Augsburg type equinoctial sundial in the late 18th century. His instruments were all engraved by hand and not machine-tooled.

Picture courtesy Jaypee

(Click on the images for enlarged views)

Example of an original sundial for comparison

Main characteristics: bird-shaped pointer for the latitude scale on the hinged and erectible gnomon, list of cities, very slim magnetic needle with a circle on one side, hours chapters featuring Roman and Arabic figures for 4 latitudes...

Picture courtesy Chr. Bell
Item marked "MADE IN ENGLAND" probably produced in the early 20th c. The Latin words TEMPUS FUGIT (time flees) is usually painted on large sundials.
The bottom face shows no list of cities
The gnomon features a sort of cloud with no latitude scale i.e. it is made for one geographical zone only (45°).
The hours indiated in Roman figures are those for the SUMMER TIME.

Fake replica of a Johann Schrettegger (1764-1843) signed sundial.
This famous German maker never produced such compasses but only the equinoctial Augsburg type (compare to image at left).


(Pictures courtesy I. Kasse)

Click on the picture above for an enlarged view of all faces.
- Left: Sundial and compass
- Centre: List of towns and latitude
- Right: calendar and hole giving view to the compass
- The base only features the lacquered wooden case.
This item is a replica of a 18th C. Spanish sun watch. It is signed by VILLA ALCOR which was a Spanish manufacturer VILLALCOR SL (address Calle Madrid s/n, 28607 El Alamo, Spain) and existed probably 1985-2005. Villalcor was bought out and sold to Hemisferium (created 2005).

The city names are in Spanish (example: Venecia for Venice which would be Venezia in Italian) but the cardinal points are indicated in English (W for West instead of O for Oeste in Spanish - see Miscellaneous / Cardinal Points) which makes no sense at all!

The two barrel lid hinges on back side instead of the earlier snipe hinges and the front snap lock are signs of modern production.

(Click on the picture above for an enlarged view of the dial)

The lid's upper side features a beautiful modern map of North America, a part of South America and two three-masted sail ships.
Sundial divisions inside the lid: double sundial with three latitudes (502 = 50° 2').

Pictures by courtesy of Milagritos25
(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Dimensions (closed): 3 1/2¨ x 2 1/2¨ x 3/4¨ approx.
- Material: probably bone
- Manufacturer unknown

NOTE: Replica of a semi antique sundial. The magnetic needle looks like the old original ones. Only, the compass' cylindrical bowl is a little too large for the casing (there is not enough room for the roman figure VIII on the left rim, resp. the IIII on the right side) and the rose, divisions and figures printed on the dial look far too modern. Moreover, the islands located North of Canada were discovered & surveyed during the 19th/20th C.


Replica of a Chinese sundial probably made in India by an artist (forger?) who didn't master Chinese calligraphy. The wooden boards are also in too good condition to be antique.

Picture Carolyn Patricia -
Photoshop post-editing Jaypee

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)

Character comparison (list item no. 5: 7-9 o'clock a.m.):
- small picture, top right: poor handwriting (compass at left),
- small picture, bottom right: the same character in the classical handwriting on an antique item.
(See also category Sundials, China).

User's Instructions: This instrument must be laid flat in fully opened position. The compass's North mark (sign bei) is located below the compass capsule in the picture at left. The user thus stands looking South. The rising sun being in the upper left corner at 7-9 a.m., the stylus's shadow will fall on the character described above.

All characteristics of a bad imitation of a typical pocket compass are united here:
- the green stone in the needle's cap (instead of a red one)
- the brass face (instead of a silver-coated or a white, rarely a black paint or enamel one)
- the strange arrow (not the British Army's "crowfoot") and last not least
- a fancy date (1920) which doesn't correspond to the information MAKERS OF THE QUEEN since in those years a KING reigned, George V,  from 1910-1936 and there is no maker's name !

Pictures courtesy Ante Budimlic (Click on the image for an enlarged view)