(AYPPKA in cyrillic letters)


FPM (Freiberger

hap (s. KOHL)


K&R (Kasper & Richter)
KNM (KHM in cyrillic letters)

P - Q
PEIGNÉ (Général)

S (cont'd)
STEIN (von)
"S" (C. STOCKERT & Sohn)

T.G. Ltd London
VERNER's pattern
X - Y

ZUP (ЗУП in cyril. letters)


- A -


Wm (William) AINSWORTH & SONS is a North-American company which produced the BRUNTON type compass.
See in the LINKS the address of a website with a comprehensive description of this manufacturer (in English).


German company (Askaniawerke AG) established on June 30, 1921 through the acquisition of the former Centralwerkstatt Dessau (a subsidiary of DCGG) and Carl Bamberg, Werkstätten für Präzisionsmechanik und Optik, in Berlin-Friedenau.
The name was modified on February 4, 1938 and became Askania-Werke AG. To avoid further destructions through allied bombing, a part of the production was transferred to southern Germany (Lake Constance).
Picture at right: a contemporary watch (click for enlarged view).

- BERLIN (East Germany, GDR)
On January 1, 1948 the company's plants were declared "propriety of the people" and renamed VEB Askania Teltow. Until 1961 this plant produced material for the East-German Navy, among other things, compasses. After the West-German company's part (Askania AG) took legal action to the  Internationalen Court, the East-German company was renamed in 1954 VEB Geräte- und Reglerwerke Teltow.
- LAKE CONSTANCE (West Germany, southern border)
After WWII, a new company was established in the city of Überlingen in 1947: Askania Werke AG Bodensee Überlingen.
In 1954, the Perkin-Elmer Corporation (Norwalk, Connecticut, USA) acquired the majority of the parts and the former AskAniA logo (with three upper case A's) was replaced by three triangles intermingled, the new logo of Perkin Elmer GmbH, Überlingen.
After 1955, it was replaced by a new name, BODAN, which can be read on similar compasses.


French clock and watch maker. The Maison J. AURICOSTE (old address: 10, rue la Boëtie, Paris) produces mainly clocks for the navy but also luxury and pilots watches). It has been existing since 1854.

- B -


Carl Bamberg was a German compass manufacturer in Friedenau near Berlin at the beginning of the 19th century.
His compasses were built in ships and aircraft (s. logo at r.) during World War I.
Johann Carl Wilhelm Anton Bamberg (12 July 1847 - 4 June 1892), whose father had been a clock maker, was an apprentice with Zeiss Jena, taught by Abbe.
- 1869-70, employee with Pistor & Martins.
- 1873, curator of scientific instruments for the Imperial Navy (Kaisermarine).
He established his own company called Werkstätten für Präzisions-Mechanik und Optik in 1871.
C. Bamberg died 1892 but his wife managed the company until 1904 when his son Paul Bamberg joined, running Bamberg with Th. Ludewig.
Bamberg acquired the following companies :
- Otto Töpfer und Sohn in 1919;
- Hermann Wanschaff in 1922 and
- Hans Heele in 1923,

In 1921, he joined the Centralwerkstatt Dessau forming the Askania Werke AG.
(quoted from



BARIGO BAROMETERFABRIK - German company founded 1926 with facilities in Schwenningen. Produces mainly barometers.

BARKER (Francis BARKER & Son)

British Company founded in London by Francis Barker (1820 - Dec. 15, 1875) in 1846. Two years later, in 1848, he set up a second company, Groves and Barker - Mariners' Compass and Sundial Makers with his friend and former co-apprentice Richard Groves and they traded from 16 Market Street, Clerkenwell, London. Richard died in 1864 and about one year after his death Groves & Barker was absorbed into the thriving F. Barker & Son. F. Barker & Son also took over and incorporated the company J & G Simms (where he and Richard Groves had learned their trade) in 1855 once both the brothers had died.
The most common early trademark used by F. Barker & Son was the triangular TRADE MARK LONDON mark enclosing the marks B, & and S all superimposed. After his death, the S was printed or punched turned to the left (see picture at right).
In 1955, the firm's accountants Mr Leach and Mr. Pearson took it over Pyser-SGI Limited of Edenbridge, Kent, England is the current flag-bearer of the Francis Barker trademark.

Read the full story on the website


Former French company. The shop was located 89, rue d'Hauteville - 75010 Paris. The company was created in 1958 and closed on June 4, 1998. Picture at right: Entry in the "annuaire (c.1980) du Syndicat Général de l'Optique et des Instruments de Précision (S.G.O.I.P).
BURNAT was created in 1947 when Mr Burnat acquired the company (name ?) created in 1905 by Mr Chatelain. Products (among others): dry and fluid dampened pocket, underwater compasses and (wrist?) compasses for underwater usage.
Baudet catalogue of map readers for the year 1925 showing numerous models in all European and British/US measuring units, one with a tiny compass in the pendant.


French ships' compass manufacturer. The company was founded in Marseille in 1826. In the 1950's, the name and address were Etablissements Bianchetti Charles et Cie,  57, rue F. et R. Guidicelli, Endoume/Marseille 7e.
The name was changed to Bianchetti Electronique Nautique in 1962. BEN was acquired by in 1992. The name was changed to AMESYS in 2007.


Bendix Aviation Corporation, Baltimore, MD USA

The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this Company. Your help is welcome. This company is kindly invited to contact the museum's curator.

BÉZARD, Johann Ritter von

Johann Ritter (Knight) von Bézard (b. 5.5.1871 in Przyborów, district of Brzesko in Poland - d. after 1939) was an officer serving with the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army (comprehensive résumé incl. military career available).
He designed the famous compass named after him (see THE BÉZARD COMPASS).


F. W. Breithaupt & Sohn (Kassel) is an old German company with a long tradition which delivered many compass types to the industry (mines) and the armies. It was created in 1767 by Johann Christian Breithaupt (born 23 June 1736, died in 1800). He was later designated Hofmechanikus (chief engineer) of Landgraf Friedrich IInd of Hesse-Cassel in 1768.


J. BROWN, 76 St. Vincent Street - GLASGOW (no other info available). Bought compasses most probably made by F. BARKER and sold them under his name.


Büchi Optik AG is a Swiss maufacturer located Kramgasse 25, Berne. It was created in 1871 by  Adam Friedrich Büchi*. The products scope was very large and covered fine mechanical and optical instruments like microscopes, mono and binoculars etc. (see advert. at r.). The Swiss Army was a major client (see Levels / sitometres). The company always remained a family business and only the name changed in course of successions.
Chronology of the names and address changes:
1871–1900: Fr. Büchi Optiker, Spitalgasse 34
1900–1929: F. Büchi & Sohn (Fritz / Frederic) Optisch-mechanische Werkstätte, Spitalgasse 34
1929–1933: E. F. Büchi Söhne (Fritz Max + Hans Eduard) Optische Werkstätte, Spitalgasse 18
1933–1972: Hans Büchi (1904-1985), Spitalgasse 18
1972–today: Büchi Optik AG, Head: M. Alfred Elmer, Kramgasse 25 (2008: shop for precision mechanical parts closed down)
Source: the company's booklet printed on the occasion of the 100th anniversary (1971) and own research work.
* Picture at left (click on the image for enlarged view and photos of his successors)


Former German company located in Rathenow (north-west of Berlin). The BUSCH compasses were manufactured only during a limited period in a large company that mainly produced optical instruments. This company had been founded around 1800 by a preacher called Johann Heinrich August DUNCKER to make spectacles glasses. He transmitted the company in 1824 to his son Eduard DUNCKER. The latter having no children, he gave to his nephew Emil BUSCH in 1845 the company that was called in the meantime "Optische Industrie-Anstalt, Rathenow". E. BUSCH had joined the company five years before after having studied optics and commerce. He sold the company on October 22, 1872 to a limited company. It was then renamed "Rathenower Optische Industrieanstalt (former Emil Busch) AG" and he became one of the directors. The name changed again on August 14, 1908 and was then "Emil Busch AG Optische Industrie".
During WW II, the company's code name was cxn.
After WW II, Busch built no compasses more. The factory situated in the soviet occupation zone was renamed from 1946 on "Rathenower Optische Werke GmbH" and from 1948 on "VEB Rathenower Optische Werke (ROW)" (VEB: see abbreviations list in MISCELLANEOUS / terminology). It became later part of the company "VEB Carl Zeiss Jena" in the former East-Germany (GDR).
At the same time, the owner founded a parallel company in Göttingen (West-Germany) in 1949 and the name changed again in 1953 to become "Emil Busch GmbH, Göttingen".
Busch ceased to exist in ... ?

- C -


US-Manufacturer (see its own website)


An Italian immigrant called Cesare Tagliabue set up in business in 1790 in London (Holborn). He was very successful, delivering all sorts of measuring instruments (mainly thermometers) in many countries, and moved in the late 1820's to Hatton Garden. Some time later, his son-in-law Louis Pascal Casella joined the business which was then renamed Tagliabue & Casella. After the founder's death in 1897 only Casella's name remained. The business was taken over by his two sons Louis Marino and Charles Frederick. The very successful firm moved again to Holborn Bars in the late 1880's but had to go back to a smaller shop in 1905 as competition aroused.
Two world wars later, Casella was owned by a holding company. Casella's catalogue was very comprehensive and civered all types of compasses (nautical, survey etc.)
The company's department Casella Measurement (UK) was purchased in 2006 by Ideal Industries of Illinois (IL).
Read the rest on the company's website

NOTE: This profile is based on different sources : the existing company's history on its website, the book "Precision Makers a History of the Instruments Industry in Britain and France 1870 1939 (Lancaster Pamphlets)" by Mari E. W. Williams.


Pierre CHAIX: inventor an manufacturer of survey compasses. Former designation of TOPOCHAIX.

CHINA (temporary)

Chinese company (Union Instrument Factory).
(The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this company. Your help is welcome.
This company is kindly invited to contact the Museum.)


The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any information about this company. Your help is welcome. This company is kindly invited to contact the museum's curator.


Captain Frank Osborne Creagh-Osborne (1867/1943) was Superintendent of Compasses with the British Admiralty and inventor. His various developments were built by H. Hughes & Son Ltd, Dent & Co & Johnson Ltd, Sperry etc.


- D -


Paul Guillaume DELCROIX (click on picture at left for enlarged view) was a French officer. He was born 6.6.1854 in Arras (France) and died probably 1925. He attended the French Military Academy (Ecole Spéciale Militaire) from 1874 on and enlisted. He served as a sous-lieutenant in the Légion Etrangère (1876) and as a lieutenant in a Zouave Regiment (1880). He was then Captain in an Infantry Regiment (1886), accomplishing topographical missions in several African countries. Appointed Professeur adjoint de topographie in 1888, he taught survey techniques at the Ecole Spéciale Militaire and served in Africa within the geographical Corps of the French Army. He was wounded in 1890. He patented a first compass in 1892 (no. 224.290, see Survey compasses) and designed a marching compass two years later (see in Marching compasses and entry Boussole Directrice). In 1896 he served in Madagascar (mapping missions) and was appointed Commander (Chef de bataillon) in 1897, retiring in 1910. He was bearer of numerous French and Foreign distinctions.
NOTE: The Compass Museum was granted access to his comprehensive career records - for copies pls. contact the Curator.


Former French company created in 1858 by Isidore Demaria. The original name was D.M.R. and the address 2, rue du Canal St-Martin (Paris). The name was changed in Demaria et Fils (when the elder son Jules joined the company) in 1893 and in Demaria Frères (brothers Jules and Paul) in 1897.
The name Demaria-Lapierre was the result of the merger with Lapierre* in 1908:
Société anonyme des établissements D-L. Fabrique d'appareils et accessoires pour la photographie et la projection
Address: 133, boulevard Davout, Paris 20e.
*Edouard Virgile LAPIERRE (created in 1848 by Auguste Lapierre).
Merger with (Etienne) MOLLIER in 1930 (which had been existing since the early 20th c.).
Jules Demaria died Mai 10, 1950, aged 84.
D.-L. produced the famous compass type called Modèle 1922.


Aaron Lufkin Dennison (1812-1895 - see WIKIPEDIA) of Birmingham UK manufactured watch cases from late 1874 at 24 Villa Road, Handsworth UK. As part of the war effort he diversified into compass cases. He was originally the Managing Director of the American Waltham Watch Company in the USA, where he made the very first watch with interchangeable parts and produced watches of Railway quality. He was known as the ‘Founding Father of the American Watch Making Industry’.


"Eugene Dietzgen was born in Uckerrath, Germany on May 6, 1862. He died in Chicago on December 1, 1929. He came to America in 1880. The company was founded on November 13, 1885 under the name of Luhring & Dietzgen. This partnership was succeeded by Eugene Dietzgen & Co. in 1891. Successor corporation under the name of Eugene Dietzgen Co. of Illinois occured on February 3, 1893 and the present corporate company, Eugene Dietzgen Co. of Delaware was incorporated in Delaware on October 29, 1917."
Source:  Smart, Charles E.   The Makers Of Surveying Instruments In America Since 1700  Troy, New York:  Regal Art Press.  1962 


Former French manufacturer, mainly of nautical compasses (no other information momentarily available).



Former British instruments manufacturer located in London. Peter Dollond created his company in 1750 (located Hatton Garden, LONDON). Dollond merged with Aitchison in 1927 (D & A). Both were later integrated into ESSILOR.

- E -


German company, founded on November 14, 1913 by Josef Eschenbach. Long before World War II, Eschenbach was already an important company selling optical and drafting materiel. Eschenbach acquired WILKIE on January 1st, 1976. In 2005, the compass production was sold to K&R (see under these company names).

- F -


(Disclaimer: The following information and photographs were personally communicated by Mr. Fee's AND Mr. Stemwedel's grandsons. For legal reasons we cannot endorse any responsibility concerning the commercial judgements expressed below.)

Former US company located 2210 Wabansia Ave. Chicago, Illinois.
Richard Fee founded Fee & Stemwedel in 1930 with Al Stemwedel and Howard Taylor (not related to the famous TAYLOR company). Beginning with barometers, they made weather instruments for home and office. With the advent of WWII they contracted with the US Navy to produce various ship instruments and spyglasses. By the time of the Korean War (1953) the company landed a defense contract to provide hand-held lensatic and wrist compasses to the U.S. Military. Production and sales of a variety of barometers and thermometers for the consumer market continued. Because of the quality of the consumer products they were able to sell exclusively through Marshall Fields (see note below) in Chicago. There was a dispute between Mr. Stemwedel and Mr. Fee over quality vs. mass marketing which led to Mr. Fee selling his interest to Mr. Stemwedel and retiring in 1952 (year indicated by Mr. Fee's grandson). Mr. Stemwedel lowered quality to expand production and lost the Marshall Fields account.
In 1956 (year indicated by Mr. Stemwedel's grandson), Dick Fee sold his interest in Fee & Stemwedel to Al Stemwedel, who subsequently changed the firm's name to Airguide Instrument Co. "Airguide" had been the company's primary trade name almost from the beginning.

Throughout most of its history, Airguide was a highly successful company, but in the 1970s increasing foreign competition began to take its toll. In 1976, beleaguered by excessive inventory, Al Stemwedel began seeking a buyer for Airguide. In 1980, after filing for Chapter 11 protection, Airguide was sold to Johnson Worldwide Associates (JWA) of Racine, WI, a branch of the Johnson Wax family of companies. After the sale, Al Stemwedel stayed on as a consultant for a few years.

The associates in Chicago (ca. in 1940):
Fee (r.) and Stemwedel (l.)

(click for enlarged view)

Richard L. Fee

The company's premises
(click for enlarged view)

NOTE: Marshall Field's is an historic Chicago, Illinois department store Founded 1852

FPM Holding - Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik

German company situated in Freiberg (Saxony). Sept. 2, 1771 - Gottlieb Friedrich Schubert is appointed Bergmechanikus (engineer for mine techniques) by the Prince of Saxony and creates a manufacture of instruments for the mine industry.
In 1859, a mechanics called Schramm takes a share in the company and provides his shops in the street called Hainichener-Strasse.
Until End of WWII, the company provides also compasses to different retailers (among others Wichmann).
May 8, 1945 – The Red Army takes over production
Oct. 28, 1950 – The state owned company VEB Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik is created
1990 – End of communism: transformation in a limited company (GmbH)
1993 – Privatisation
Sept. 13, 1994 – The limited company expires.
Oct. 1st, 1994 – FPM Holding GmbH is created.

Poster of the production scope of recreational compasses in the 1980s  

Its name changed several times during its history. This company delivered numerous types of compasses to the industry (mines) and to the police and armies of the former GDR.
The different names of the company since its creation:
- Schubert
- Studer
- Lingke
- Hildebrand
- Hildebrand - Wichmann
- Pässler
- VEB Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik
- Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik GmbH
- FPM Holding GmbH


Rudolf FUESS (1838-1917) founded in 1865 a company for scientific and technical precision measuring instruments (Fabrik für wissenschaftliche und technische Präzisions- Messinstrumente) located in Berlin/Steglitz. He was followed in 1913 by his son Paul Fuess (1867-1944) The company disappeared in 1945.

- G -


Former Polish manufacturer founded in 1816 in Warsaw, then capital of Congress Poland, part of the Russian Empire. Products : measuring and drawing instruments.
Gustav Adolf Gerlach (1827-1915) was a German engineer who had already worked in Berlin, Munich and Leipzig when he settled in Warsaw and lead a workshop producting optical and mathematical instruments which belonged to Ludwika Groth, the widow of the late founder. He bought the workshop in 1852 and renamed it Fabryka Instrumentów Geodezyjnych i Rysunkowych G. Gerlach. He produced surgery and survey materiels. Several addresses are known. It was first located in the Krasiński Palace, moved then to Tarnowski Palace (today Bristol hotel). One address was 4, Ossolińskich street. He built a team of specialist by financing the studies of his employees' children. In 1887, he gave over to his sons Emil and Gustaw. After WWI the company was taken over by Jeznazki.
Sources: websites of Fundacja Kosciuszki, history of German families in Warsaw, Eugeniusz Szulc, Cmentarz Ewangelicko-Augsburski w Warszawie. Zmarli i ich rodziny, Warszawa 1989; Marek Zybura, Niemcy w Polsce, Wrocław 2001.


J.M. Glauser & Sons Ltd. was a British manufacturer.  They were contractors to the War Office, Air Ministry, Government of India, amongst others.
The company was established in 1929 by Jean Maurice Glauser, a Naturalized British subject of Swiss origin.
In 1938/39, due to the expansion in business, the company bought the old St. James's Laundry in Bensham Manor Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey, and set up a new works (Bridge Buildings).  A couple of years later, the company also took over the lease of shops at 349-351 Whitehorse Road, Croydon, where they set up their Head Office.
J.M. Glauser & Sons' scope of production also included equipment such as Braillewriters for the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
The company was wound up in 1956 when the founder retired.


(Definition after WIKIPEDIA)

William Gurley (1821–1887) studied civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, worked for Oscar Hanks, a surveying instrument maker in Troy, New York, and then went into partnership with Jonas H. Phelps, another local instrument maker. Lewis Ephraim Gurley (1826–1897) worked for Phelps & Gurley, earned a B.A. from Union College, and then rejoined the firm. The Gurley brothers took over the firm in 1852, began trading as W. & L. E. Gurley, and were soon the largest manufacturer of engineering and surveying instruments in the United States. Several factors contributed to their success. They established a factory rather than a craft workshop, practiced a strict division of labor, hired workers who were relatively unskilled, advertised widely, and offered instruments at competitive prices. Their Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying, published from 1855 to 1921, was a catalog of their instruments and an intelligent explanation of how they were to be used. The design of Gurley instruments remained remarkably stable for many years, making it difficult to determine the date of a particular instrument. But there are some important clues. Since the signatures on the early Gurley instruments were cut by hand, the letters have V-shaped trenches, and their lines are of varying width. By contrast, the signatures on Gurley instruments made after 1876 were done with an engraving machine, and thus have lines with vertical walls and uniform width. The Gurleys introduced serial numbers in 1908, with the first digits indicating the year of manufacture, and the latter digits indicating production rate. Thus, transit #9296 was the 296th Gurley instrument made in 1909. W. & L. E. Gurley was incorporated in 1900, with all the stock held by the family. Teledyne purchased the firm in 1968, began trading as Teledyne-Gurley, and phased out the production of surveying instruments soon thereafter.

- H -


PROFILE - This manufacturer is not associated with Hamilton Standard, a U.S. Company created in the 1920's by Thomas Foster Hamilton (July 28, 1894 – August 12, 1969) who was a pioneering aviator and the founder of this company.


John E. (Enos) HAND & Sons was a U.S. compass manufacturer. The company was founded in 1873 in Philadelphia and eventually sold to California-based Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation in 1997.



The famous Swiss Army Watch (SAW Co S.A.) was founded in 1993. The successor companies created in 2001 were HOROSWISS S.A. and SWISS TREK WATCH Sarl, all located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, home of the most famous watch makers. HOROSWISS' CEO Michaël Vrolixs belongs to the fourth generation of a watchmaker family. In 2001 HOROSWISS acquired the exclusive and international rights to produce and market the compass watch system successfully developed by Mr Hubert Zwahlen, a well-known Swiss engineer. These successful compass watches feature an absolutely original design adopted by several famous brands (see the HERMES and IWC Porsche designs in our COMPASS WATCHES department), an ingeniously integrated antimagnetic case and a top-quality fluid compass, a genuine precision instrument tested by the Swiss Federal Office of Metrology. The larger and lighter dry compass model also is a valuable match for hikers. The compass watch was also tested by military pilots in Switzerland and is recommended by COMPASSIPEDIA.


Former French company located in the Marais district in Paris (rue Neuve Saint-Martin, now rue N.-D. de Nazareth). The original workshop was created in 1826 by Louis Toussaint TOURLY (1802-1869), jeweller, manufacturing compasses and survey equipment from about 1870 on after it was taken over in 1866 by Henri Isidore HOULLIOT (portrait at left), his son-in-law (gendre in French, see pic. of a modified letter head). The latter's son Albert Henri Houlliot (link to pict.) had a sister whose son Charles Louis Collignon (link to pict., b. in Paris 19/06/1902, d. in Orléans 03/11/1990) joined the company in 1922. He designed the modified version of the Modèle 1922 with mirror, transparent capsule and slide-in conversion table (registered in 1934). Albert Houlliot died in 1940 w/o direct heirs and his wife Marie née Maynard died in 1941.
Houlliot was the unnamed manufacturer of most compasses sold by major French companies like Société des Lunetiers (S-L), Vion, Secrétan, Topochaix, Huet, LAT (Les Accessoires Topographiques), Morin etc. but he also exported his products in the whole world (USA, Russia, Goerz and LUFFT in Germany).
Pict. at r.: Part of the workshop in 1918

Charles Collignon was a soldier at this time (WWII) and he bought the parts of Marie's heirs (nephews) in the company only after the war. The name was then changed to société COLLIGNON-HOULLIOT (see logo, picture at left) in May 1946.  His son Michel Collignon (link to pict., born in 1935) joined him in the late 1950s and became head of the company in the late 1960s.  Compass production ended in the 1970s. 
Collignon-Houlliot was the official supplier of the French explorer of the polar regions Paul Emile VICTOR. A French archeologist also used in Egypt when the Asswan dam was built, a compass made by this company to search the ground for concealed caves / graves via magnetic anomalies.
(Data and pics. communicated by Mr Michel Collignon).


Hugh W. Hunter was a N.Y. based optician and mathematical instruments maker. He patented a black and white dry card compass dial on May 6, 1862 (no. 35156, see drawing at r. - click on the image for a view of the patent's full page) similar to SINGER's one year before patented design. You will find more information in the book Compass Chronicles (see LINKS). 

- I -

I.O.R. - Intreprinderea Optica Romana

Romanian manufacturer of optical instruments
IOR was established in 1936 and it has been the sole Romanian company with a famous tradition in designing and performing opto-mechanical apparatus. In 1941 IOR was militarized and, therefore, it preeminently produced products for the army (binoculars, telescopes, telemeters, etc.). After 1949, the first eyeglasses lenses were produced, then, in 1951 the first didactic microscopes and, in 1954 the first photo apparatus. After 1959, more attention was given to the medical area and so, appeared the first products for ophtalmology. Also, in that period started the production of cinematographic projection apparatus. In 1960, IOR produced the first binocular laboratory microscopes, in 1961 the first dental units, in 1962 the first research microscopes and in 1967 we began to produce photo objectives. Our company have started the cooperation with firms, such as FOG or PENTACON and, afterwards, with LEITZ, C. ZEISS, SCHNEIDER, etc. After 1980s there have appeared new ranges, as opto-electronics, lasers, metrology, thermovision with various applications.

- J -


(Partly cited after the Fundacja Kosciuszki's website - see LINKS)
Former Polish company (Warsaw) that built in the 1930's as a successor of G. GERLACH (see above) the marching compass model called K.M. 32 after its inventor's initials, Colonel Mikołaj Kulwieć, born March 24, 1890 which is also known in Poland as the „Kulwieć compass“.
(see KULVIEC).

- K -

KATER, Henry

Henry Kater was a British scientist (Bristol Apr. 16, 1777, London Apr. 26, 1835 - see WIKIPEDIA). He is considered as the real inventor of the prismatic compass. Prototypes and a small series were built in the following years by Thomas Jones. His idea was patented in the following year by Schmalcalder who designed an enhanced system with a prism. Read his biography on the Sydney University Museums' website.


KEARFOTT is a North American company (1150 McBride Avenue, Little Falls, New Jersey 07424-2500 USA).
Kearfott was founded in 1917 as The Kearfott Company Inc., becoming the Kearfott Division of the General Precision Equipment Corporation in 1955 and then, in 1968, the Kearfott Division of Singer Business Corporation.
In 1987 Singer split Kearfott; the Kearfott Guidance & Navigation division was sold to the Astronautics Corporation of America in 1988, and the Electronic Systems Division was purchased by GEC-Marconi in 1990 and renamed GEC-Marconi Electronic Systems (Source: WIKIPEDIA).

KELVIN (William Thomson, Lord Kelvin)

Famous physicist - See WIKIPEDIA and also the following link: KELVIN's Good Words...


KERN - Former Swiss company located in Aarau and created in 1819 by Jakob KERN (Aug. 17, 1790 - Febr. 4, 1867).
Read the full story in English on the following website:
- History
- Chronology of the logos


Former US company (Cited after the New Jersey Historical Society)

Wilhelm Johann Diedrich Keuffel and Herman Esser were partners in the firm of Keuffel & Esser which was founded in July 1867 at 79 Nassau St. Manhattan. They were two German immigrants, who were importers and jobbers of drawing materials and mathematical and surveying instruments.
Keuffel (1838-1908), born in Walbeck (Rhineland, Germany) and was employed in the hardware business in Germany and Birmingham, England, prior to his immigration to Hoboken, NJ, in 1866. The next year he joined with Herman Esser (1845-1908) who was originally from Wuppertal-Elbertfeld. In 1875, the firm was incorporated as Keuffel & Esser Company (also known as K & E) and moved from Manhattan to Third and Grand Street in Hoboken, New Jersey. Wilhelm J. D. Keuffel died in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1908. Herman Esser retired from Keuffel & Esser Co. in 1902. He was back in Bad Godesberg (near Bonn, Rhine River, Germany) in April of 1902 and died there in April 1908.
In the coming decades, Keuffel & Esser began to expand, opening showrooms, offices and new factories in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Detroit, and Montreal. They first manufactured surveying instruments in 1885 and introduced an innovative new line of surveying equipment in the 1890s. The company's first product was hard rubber curves and triangles. Later products included drafting paper, surveying instruments, and drafting aids such as slide rules. Keuffel & Esser held patents for a wide range of slide rule features, including improved cursor indicators, functions and scales, and the adjustable body mechanism. The company was so successful that in 1965 it went public on NASDAQ. However, in the coming years, rapid changes in technology including the development of calculators, CAD systems and laser surveying systems, had a detrimental effect on Keuffel & Esser, which shrank drastically after 1972. In 1982 Keuffel & Esser filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and eventually was bought out by several companies including Cubic Precision (acquired in 1997 by BRUNSON) or Azon Corporation. Currently, Azon Corporation owns the Keuffel & Esser name and trademarks.

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".

K&R (Kasper & Richter)

German company located in Uttenreuth, near Erlangen, in Franconia (Northern Bavaria). It was established 1920 and specialised in precision measuring instruments. K&R concentrates the know-how of other famous German compass makers who had precedently merged i.e. KÜHRT, PASTO and WILKIE. K&R acquired from ESCHENBACH in 2005 the compass production of the famous WILKIE company, which the latter had taken over in 1976.



KRÖPLIN is a German company. It was established a first time in 1883 by Heinrich Carl KRÖPLIN (02.05.1859 - 16.09.1945) in Bützow, (Northern Germany, near Rostock) in the former Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. H. C. Kröplin had learnt clock manufacturing in Switzerland and France and manufactured measuring instruments, (spherometres for the optics industry, barometres etc.) in his own small factory. His heirs (son and son-in-law) were dispossessed of their property after the war in 1948 under the communist East-German government and the company was deleted from the commercial register. The family could flee to the West and re-founded KRÖPLIN in 1950 with new partners in Schlüchtern (Hesse, West-Germany). CEO: Claus Werckmeister.


The brothers Hugo Kührt (b. 12.03.1884 in Ichtershausen / d. 07.02.1962 in Nuremberg) and Arno (b. 21.03.1891 in Ichtershausen / d. 04.08.1965 in Kipfenberg) were compassmaker in Nürnberg (Germany) at the time of WW II. The compasses were produced in Hugo' s twin's Otto shop. Ugo and Arno were granted a patent in 1939 for the use of a transparent plate with a grid in the compass. For more details please read the exhaustive study published (in German) by Frank Liebau on his website Die Kompassmacher aus Nürnberg (The Compass Makers of Nuremberg).


Polish officer (Colonel) who developed the compass called type M.K.32 (or K.M.32) after its initials Mikołaj Kulwieć. He was born March 24, 1890. The instrument is also known in Poland as the Kulwiec compass.
He had participated as a Captain in 1921 in a Polish officers' mission in France (this being possibly a reason for the great resemblance with the French Modèle 1922).
He had also worked from 1928 to 1930 for the Research Institute for Military Materiel (Instytut Badań Materiałów Uzbrojenia) and participated in many assessment and acceptance commissions of such materiel. In 1934, he was head of the Military Materiel Department within the Polish War Ministry.

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Former French company (69, rue Gambetta, Malakoff / Paris).


Entreprise créée en 1880 dans l'atelier de construction mécanique d'Amado Laguna spécialisé dans la fabrication d'équipements de topographie et de géodésie assemblés à partir d'éléments d'origine espagnole mais aussi importés. En 1920 la raison sociale fut modifié en S.A. Amado Laguna de Rins et l'entreprise comptait déjà 150 employés et la production fut largement diversifiée. Les commandes provenaient en quasi totalité du ministère de la Guerre. A partir de 1962, Amado Laguna de Rins, S.A., transformée en société anonyme, travaillait aussi pour l'industrie automobile. Amado Laguna de Rins S.A. est une entreprise essentiellement familliale dominée par deux grandes familles : Laguna de Rins and Almarza Laguna de Rins.


Former French company

LEREBOURS (and Secrétan)

Lerebours and Secretan (see below) were renowned instrument makers in 19th century France. They were especially known for their work in the field of astronomical, optical and surveying instruments. The founder of the firm, Noël Jean Lerebours (1761-1840), was born in Mortain, Normandy, and started an apprenticeship with a spectacle maker. Later he moved to the workshop of a certain Louvel. In 1789 he opened his own Paris workshop at 69, quai de l'Horloge. After his death in 1840, his son Nicolas Marie Paymal Lerebours, who had been working with him since 1830, took over the business. In 1845 Lerebours became associated with Marc François Louis Secrétan, a Swiss mathematician born in Lausanne. Together they formed the Maison Lerebours & Secrétan.
Lerebours is not known to have used a logo or trademark other than his name.


Leupold is a U.S. company created in 1907 in Portland Oregan under the name (Leupold & Voelpel) by the German Markus Friederich Leupold born in 1875 in with the financial support of his brother-in-law Adam Völpel. This one-man company specialized on repairing measuring instruments. A partner joined the company (John Cyprian Stevens) and the name was changed in 1914 to Leupold, Volpel & Co. because Voepel had changed his German name at the beginning of the 1st WW. After Adam Volpel's death in 1942 the name was changed to Leupold & Stevens Instruments Company.


(Quoted & adapted after the website SURVEY HISTORY)

LIETZ (A. Lietz Co.) was a US compass manufacturer.
Its founder, Adolph Lietz, was born in Leubeck, Germany in 1860. He immigrated to San Francisco in 1879 and worked in several scientific instrument shops before opening his own business. Lietz purchased the business of Carl Rahsskopff in 1880 and began his own business in 1882. Lietz originally joint ventured with another maker, Gottlieb A. Mauerhan, to form "Lietz and Mauerhan", a relationship that lasted for about a year. Following Mauerhan's departure, Lietz paired up with Conrad J. Weinmann who had previously worked for Carl Rahsskopff. The company was renamed "A. Lietz & Co." and at that time produced surveying instruments and related tools. The firm incorporated in 1892 under the name "The A. Lietz Company" and Weinmann possibly left at about that time. In 1910 a complete line of drafting materials and engineering equipment was added. In 1947, after 65 years of production, the firm discontinued the manufacturing of surveying instruments. The reason given was that it would be necessary and very costly to retool in order to manufacture the types of modern instruments then being marketed. Their business changed to being an importer and distributor. In 1960 the company started handling the Umeco brand of surveying instruments  and then added instruments from Japan made by Sokkisha. The Frank Paxton Company purchased the business in 1965 and moved its headquarters to Kansas City, Missouri. The company name was also changed to "The Lietz Company." Additional restructuring took place during the early 1990's and the firm name was again changed, this time to "Sokkia."


W. LUDOLPH GmbH & Co. KG (Bremerhaven) is a German company manufacturing nautical and aeronautical compasses. The original company was created in 1846 by W. Ihlder. In 1867, its name changed in W. Ludolph Nautisches Institut. It was later transformed into a GmbH (Ltd. in German law) in 1908 and in an AG (? German law) in 1920. LUDOLPH was the first european company that could break the british monopoly on the field of nautical compasses. At the very beginning of the 20th c., it added aeronautical compasses to its portfolio and was in 1906 the first German company to build compasses for the Zeppelin.


German company located near Stuttgart.
It was famous for having produced the Bézard marching compass (see this category). It produced mainly (and nowadays only) barometers.
This company marketed also in the 1930s a wide range of pocket compasses, which were probably manufactured by BUSCH.

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Former Swiss company founded in 1937. Taken over in 1958 by SPECTROS A.G. INTERNATIONAL, located Lohweg 25, CH-4107 Ettingen. A plant was located in Péry near St.-Imier (other logo: go to MERIDIAN).


The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any precise information about this company. Your help is welcome. Please contact the curator.
(draft) Henri MORIN was the most important French company specialised in compasses and all instruments for topographical use. It was created in ... by ... (and was bought by / merged with ... ?).

Morin equipped the French armies and the industrie since the 19th c. until it ceased its activities in ...?

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Former Swiss clock maker (mostly marine chonometers). The company was founded first in Le Locle by Ulisse NARDIN (1823-1876) in 1846. He preferred for the company's name the spelling Ulysse NARDIN. He had been trained by his father Léonard Frédéric Nardin and by Frédéric William Dubois (1811-1869). His son Paul David Nardin entered the firm in 1875 and took over the direction although only 21 at his father's sudden death one year later. He opened a second shop and a sales office in Geneva in 1877. The company's name was changed to Paul D. Nardin in 1886 but the products trade mark remained Ulysse Nardin. Of Paul Nardin's four sons three joined him in the firm: Ernest, Alfred (1904) and Gaston (1913), the fourth joined DOXA. Paul died in 1920. NARDIN was integrated as a stock corporation (société anonyme, S.A.) in 1923. During WWII, they made watches for the US Corps of Engineers. By the 1950's, Ernest's son and Gaston's son had joined the firm. NARDIN was eventually taken over in 1979 by OGIVAL.


Former British manufacturer
The firm Negretti and Zambra (active 1850 c. 1935) was a photographic studio and producer of optical and scientific instruments like compasses.
It was based in London, England.
Henry Negretti and Joseph Zambra formed a partnership in 1850, thereby founding the firm which would eventually be appointed optical instrument makers to Prince Albert, the Royal Observatory and the British Admiralty.
In 1855, various improvements show that as the demand for scientific instruments increased Negretti and Zambra endeavoured to produce suitable instruments to give satisfactory results under exacting conditions. In the circumstances it was not surprising that the firm received the Highest Awards at all the international Exhibitions at which they showed their instruments.
During the 1914/1918 war the firm was almost entirely engaged on work for the Ministry of Munitions on the production of various instruments. When the war ended it was decided to give up the manufacture of all optical instruments and to concentrate on the production and development of Industrial and Aeronautical Instruments. In 1920 at the request of the Air Ministry they produced and patented a Mercury in Steel Distance Thermometer for taking Oil and Air Temperatures in Aircraft.
N & Z is rumored to be the finest producer of scientific instruments in History.
(description courtesy resalevintageshop)


Former British manufacturer. NEWTON & SON William worked 1841–1883, 66 Chancery Lane, London and 1851-1857, 3 Fleet Street, Temple Bar, London. Related to NEWTON John, took over from NEWTON & BERRY located 3 Fleet Street in London (1851-1857).


Swedish company. Produced in the 1930's (before SILVA?) a compass with fluid dampened needle.

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Former Italian watch manufacturer
Giovanni Panerai (1825-1897) opened in 1850 a small clock maker shop in Florence, the first one at that time and moved in 1860 to the famous address Ponte alle Grazie. Thanks to good contacts with the best clockmakers in Switzerland he assembled high quality clocks and repaired measuring instruments in his family shop.
His son Leon Francesco was his successor. Guido Panerai (1873-1934), a nephew of Giovanni, gave new impulses to the company which became for a long time official provider of the Royal Italian Navy.
In 1910, Panerai developed and patented a system intended to extend the service life of radioluminescent compounds (he called it Radiomir) by placing it in tiny glass tubes (example: see BARKER and DOLLOND compasses).
From 1934 on, Guido's son Giuseppe developed various instruments for the Italian Navy and in particular wrist compasses.

In 1972, after Giuseppe Panerai's death, Col. Dino Zei left the Navy to take up the management of Guido Panerai e Figlio. In the same year he established and became Sole Director of Officine Panerai S.r.l., which took over all the activities and industrial capabilities of Guido Panerai. He became Chairman of Officine Panerai S.p.A., until the watch division and trademark were sold to Cartier and covered this position for the Panerai Sistemi SpA until 1999, when the business was transferred to the Bologna-based company Calzoni.


Former German company established in 1946, successor of K. S. STOCKERT (see C. STOCKERT, manufacturer of the "S"-marked compasses).
In the last catalogue (1971) Pasto wrote: "More than 100 years of experience..."
PASTO bought Kührt and built its only model but a little downsized and with many small design changes. PASTO was bought by WILKIE on December 31, 1972.


Général Paul Peigné was a French officer (Paris 1841 – 1919). He studied at the famous military school Polytechnique, fought in the French-German war 1870-71 and taught topography at the military school in Saint-Cyr (1873-76). He was the initiator of several new military techniques like the train-mounted artillery. He designed this compass system but we couldn't find any patent number. The earliest items bear the inscription 'System by Lieutenant-Colonel PEIGNÉ' (for more details, see the French version).


French manufacturer of nautical compasses

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Former swiss clock manufacturer. The full name was Record Watch Co. S.A., Tramelan-Dessus, Genève, La Chaux de Fonds, Les Pommerats, London
1903: Founded by a group with the purpose to aquire and realise the patent of the Sector Watch, a triangular pocket watch with retrograde display.
1916: Merger with several companies under the name Record Dreadnought Watch Co. S.A.
1949: The original name Record Watch Co. S.A. was registered again.
1961: Longines bought the majority interest in Record. The brand Record continued to exist on some watches as Longines-Record.
1991: Record was closed.


Former Swiss company. It was created 1897 by Muller & Vaucher and originally built watches. Production of compasses in pocket watch cases started in 1914 in Bienne (Biel in German). It became famous world wide for manufacturing the matchbox style compass model called DP. The letter P ist definitively known to designate a sighting compass (Peilkompass in German). The letter D may have been chosen to designate an alidade (Diopter in German) although this cannot be ascertained today. Because of the unique design of this compass, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York selected it to add to its collections. The former technical director and owner of Recta, an engineer called Eric VAUCHER, invented this technical solution after he participated in maneuvers with the Swiss army. This engineer also patented a locking system for pocket watches crown stem (see Muller & Vaucher, M & V). He was disappointed by the compasses utilized in those days which were complicated, fragile and got quickly dirty. He proposed his now famous matchbox system in 1940 to the Swiss Army managers and patented it in 1941. It was then immediately issued to the units.
RECTA developed two other series; DO (O for orienteering) and DS (S for Spiegel, i.e. mirror in German). RECTA was acquired by SUUNTO in 1996. As per January 01, 2009, all activities were transferred to Vantaa, Finnland.


François RICHER (1743-1820) was a French specialist for drawing the divisions on measuring instruments. He created a company in ...?  (Survey materiel)


Louis-Camille Rossignol (see pict. at left in 1915 - click to enlarge, born August 22, 1851 in Tournes, Ardennes, and died May 5, 1943 in Châlons-sur-Marne) was a French officer (Captain) and inventor, serving as chief weaponsmith with the 106th 'régiment de Ligne' in Châlons-sur-Marne (France). His father Jean-Baptiste Rossignol (1809-1895) was himself officer and fire arms controller.
(Sources: Information partly delivered by the inventor's grand-grand-son and collected during our own research work in the French Army's archives).
He designed an improved military compass system (militaire perfectionnée). He filed a patent in 1894 (no. 238.313). This instrument was still being offered by Société des Lunetiers (S-L) in their 1932 catalogue (réf. 36180). He invented several fire arms systems like automatic rifles (6 mm and 6.5 mm), a machine-gun and a device to free blocked ammunitions. For these reasons and because of his successful missions in North Africa, he received several distinctions like the 'médaille militaire' and the 'médaille coloniale' for Tunisia). He was furthermore Knight of the Légion d'Honneur.

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Charles Augustus Schmalcalder was a German born optician and mathematical instrument maker who had emigrated to England. He improved a system invented in 1811 by another British instrument maker of German descent, Henry Kater (1777-1835) and which was called the 'mirror azimuth' or 'Kater compass'. This was a standard magnetic compass with an inclined mirror and lenses attached to it. The improved device was described in his patent (no. 3545 of March 5, 1812) entitled Certain Improvements in Mathematical Instruments. He replaced the mirror with a much more sturdy and durable right-angled prism attached to the rear sight; this prism could be positioned over the compass card's rim. Accurate to a third of a degree, it quickly became popular with surveyors and when Schmalcalder's patent expired it was widely copied by the London optical instruments firms of William Cary, Throughton & Simms etc.
(Sources - Title: The Schmalcalders of London and the Priddis Dial, Authors: Smith, J. A., Journal: R.A.S. CANADA. JOURNAL V. 87, NO. 1/FEB, P. 4, 1993 - Bibliographic Code: 1993JRASC..87....4S)

Picture at right: Patent, figure (click to enlarge). See example in this Museum: HERE

He was born on March 29, 1781, in Stuttgart (Germany) and christened on Mar 31. His original name was Karl August Schmalkalder which he changed when he came to England (around 1800?). He filed a patent (no. 3000 of 22 December 1806) for a Delineator and Tracing Device. He had a shop in Little Newport Street until 1808 when he moved several times to The Strand, Tottenham, Borough Of Middlesex, (Pancras) where he stayed until his retirement 1839. His son John Thomas (born 1811) continued the business.

He married Charlotte Ann Cochran on May 24, 1804, in St Andrews, Holburn, London, England, Nine Children. He died on December 25, 1843, in Saint Martin In The Fields, Westminster, London, England at age 62 and is buried The Strand, Westminster Borough Of Middlesex, (Pancras).


Mr Peter WUISCHPARD (son of Jean M. Wuischpard) was kind enough to send us the following information: "To the best of my knowledge S&W was created some time in the 1920/1930's. It was terminated about 1963. It was located in Manhattan (NY) in the block accross the street from the UN on the seventeenth floor and was later moved to Woodside, NY. Compasses and inclinometers were fabricated during the Second World War for the war effort. During normal times watchcases were manufactured for Hamilton, Elgin, Longines, Girard Perregaux, some Rolex, Patek Phillip and various importers. The principal owner was Alphonse Wuischpard, Louis Wuischpard and later Milton Wuischpard. Max and Robert Schwab were former partners and were bought out. Jean M. Wuischpard* was VP, Director of Manufacturing for Schwab and Wuischpard of N.Y. from 1936 to 1963. He designed for Hamilton Watch Co., from 1963 to 1968, and he was a senior stylist designer for Pulsar Time Computer. He served in the Swiss military. Alphonse and Louis were the brothers of my grandfather. The Wuischpard family orginated in Geneva, Switzerland."

* Jean M. Wuischpard was born in Geneva. He died 91 years old on April 30, 2006.


Former French company established by Marc François Louis Secrétan (born in 1804 in Lausanne, Switzerland). He was mathematics teacher to the Académie de Lausanne but moved to Paris in 1844. In 1845, the company merged with Lerebours. The company name LEREBOURS ET SECRÉTAN was used until approximately 1880 and later. M. F. L. Secrétan became head of Lerebours et Secrétan after Nicolas Marie Paymal Lerebours (1807 - 1873), his associate's son and successor abandonned business in 1855. Secrétan published catalogues under his sole name after 1860. He died in 1867.
His son Auguste (1833 - 1874) resumed the business. After him came his own cousin Georges Emmanuel Secrétan (1837 - 1906), then Paul Victor Secrétan in the early 20th. c. At that time the company was only a retailer (for Morin). George Prin, (successor of Gautier) was bought by Secrétan in 1934.
Secrétan's business existed until late 1940's/early 1950's. Although the name always existed, Secrétan had been controlled by C. Eprey et Jacquelin since the 1920's. (Cited after:


Examples: pocket and wrist compass - Selsi Company, Inc. is a U.S. importer of instruments. The original Sussfeld Lorsch Company was created in 1854 by two partners Sussfeld and Lorsch to import optical instruments from Europe. Before the turn of the 20th century, the business was renamed Sussfeld, Lorsch and Schimmel when a relative joined the company. The business scope covered binoculars and telescopes as well as watches and clocks.
In 1929, the business was incorporated and the name was modified into Selsi Company, Inc. by adding two vowels to the three founding partners’ initials (S-L-S). 



Thomas Watling Short and William James Mason founded ‘Short & Mason Ltd’ in 1875. Their business address was at 40 Hatton Gardens, London. The company created apparently the MAGNAPOLE compass but was also a retailer of precision instruments made by famous manufacturers like F. BARKER & SON. The NY based Taylor Companies and Short & Mason formed some sort of partnership called TYCOS which is an acronym consisting of TY for Taylor, COS for companies - or ...S for Short & Mason ?) just before 1915, located at the Aneroids works, Walthamstow, London E.7. For a very short time period the Taylor compass line was produced in England by Short & Mason. Around 1915-1918 the production of the Taylor line was moved over to the US (Rochester N.Y.).


Siemens Halske was the name of a German company established in 1847 by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske called Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske and located in Berlin. (...)

The Online Compass Museum doesn't possess any further information about this company. Your help is welcome. This company (or its successor) is kindly invited to contact the museum's curator.    


Swedish company founded in 1933 by the brothers Alvar and Björn (1911-1984) Kjellström together with Gunnar Tillander (born May 13, 1904 - died 2000). Read the complete history in Wikipedia
(See also the obituary in the New York Times and this company's website:


Samuel Berry SINGER was a Master Mariner. He invented the compass rose design which was named after him (patent filed in 1861 - see also HUNTER's patent).
His idea was to make it easier to distinguish the compass' rose position in the dark by painting the northern half in black while leaving the southern half blank. The compass card's material (mother of pearl) would then reflect even faint light.
Examples : items made by F. Barker & Son, Dennison, Negretti & Zambra, Newton & Co., a marvelous pocket compass in a gold case signed W.T. and an unsigned wrist compass. Read SINGER's complete story HERE
Below: Examples of compass cards as shown in the patent (copies of British and French versions available):

(Click on the images for an enlarged view)

(Click on the image for an enlarged view)

S-L - Société des Lunetiers

Former French company. Owners in 1930: Pethe, Eparvier, Destribois et Cie. Products: glasses and optical instruments. Address: 6 rue Pastourelle Paris 6e
The old logo featured the letters S and L on either side of a candelabra. The modernized version is simplified (see pictures at right and on p. 1 of the 1907 catalogue).
This company had been created in 1849 through the cooperation of three single shops (l'Association fraternelle des ouvriers lunetiers) which existed until the late 1860's. It was renamed 'Essel' (pronounciation of the abbreviation S-L) in (?) and was then a group of small parisian shops.
In 1930, there were several plants in different French provinces.
One of the most important was called La Compasserie (the compass maker) and was located in Ligny-en-Barrois (Lorraine). Here stood also two other ones: Les battants and Le Moulin. Further plants : Mihiel and Cousances (Meuse) Montreuil sous Bois, Morez (Jura), Longueville (Seine et Marne), Foncine le Bas (Jura). There was also a shop in London, 56 Hatton Garden EC. This company mergeed in 1972 with Silor, created in 1930, giving birth to the Essilor group.


Former French manufacturer of optical material called Société de Recherches et de Perfectionnements Industriels. Later: imprimerie des Pays de Vilaine à Redon (Ille-et-Vilaine)
Address : 7, rue Saint-Conwoïon
History : The company SRPI was created in 1919 and moved to the city of Redon en 1939 because of the coming War. Production: optical materiel for the French Army and Navy. SRPI produces later compasses together with MORIN.


W. F. STANLEY & Co. Ltd - Former British company founded in 1853 by William Ford Robinson Stanley (1829-1909). The first address was Great Turnstile Holborn London. It became part of the Sime Darby Group in 1977 and was liquidated in 1999.
The production of the G-150 compass was bought in 1999 by SIRS NAVIGATION Ltd.
Address of head office and works: Avery Hill Road, New Eltham, London SE9
Business scope: manufacturers of mathematical, drafting, scientific and survey equipment.
(Partly quoted after
NOTE: The modern compass reproductions made of copper (e.g. BRUNTON Transit compass) and signed STANLEY LONDON are made by another company. We don't know of any relationship between this ancient company and the existing retailer of reproductions (see BRUNTON). This company is kindly invited to contact us.

STEIN, von

Former German manufacturer located in Munich (Müncen-Solln).


J.H. Steward Ltd was established in London, England in 1856. J.H. Steward was the head optician of the company and had businesses at 406 and 66 Strand and 54 Cornhill in London. In the mid 1800s he became the optician to Her Majesty's Government and the National Rifle, and National Artillery Associations. The production scope was very broad (optical measuring and observation instruments like telescope, sextants etc. - see also Sundials). The company existed until the middle of the 20th century. (References: Thomas Nicholas, Annals and antiquities of the counties and county families of Wales, Oxford University Press, 1872). See W. Verner's Pattern compasses.

STOCKERT (C. Stockert & Sohn, "S")

German company located in Führt near Nuremberg (Bavaria) created in 1850 by Karl Sebastian Stockert.
Already ca. 100 years before, Ernst Christoph and Johann Paul(us) STOCKERT signed sundials with compasses (diptychs). In the late 19th c. there existed two separated companies owned by different members (brothers?) of the Stockert family:
K. S. Stockert and C. Stockert & Sohn (whose logo was the letter "S" in an elongated hexagone).
After WWII, K. Stockert was refounded under the name PASTO OHG.


Suss Nandor (1848-1921) founded company "Suss Nandor fele Praecizios Mechanikai Intezet" in 1900, headquarter on Alkotas utca, Budapest. The company produced optical and geodetic devices. Later, in 1905 company moved to Csorsz utca 39 to bigger buildings. Caused by finance problem the company was transformed in 1918 to "Suss Nandor Praecizios Mechanikai Rt." After his death by traffic accident in 1921 the origin Hungarian development was inhibited. Company was renamed to "Suss Nandor Praecizios Mechanikai es Optikai Intezet Rt." The company got under ifluence of Carl Zeiss Jena and C.P. Goerz. Between 1926 and 1932 company produced radio models too. In 1934 company was renamed to "Magyar Optikai Muvek Rt." In 1937 company produced some optical devices for GB Army, during WW2 for German Army, for example some tank`s optics. Between 1945-1952 under Soviet management, company was in very poor situation. Since 1955 the production was growing up, since 1960 began production of laboratory equipment too. Since 1971 the company joined to the computer technology too, they produced peripheries for perforated tape and according to French licence magnetic disk units too. The company was splitted up in 1990 to many little companies. (source:

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The Taylor Instrument Companies was a US manufacturer located in Rochester, N.Y. Taylor and the British company Short & Mason built a joint venture called TYCOS (acronym of their names' initials). Taylor's success story began in 1851 when George Taylor and his partner Kendall built thermometers in Rochester, selling them from their truck. The company's name was changed in 1872 into Taylor Bros., later incorporated in 1890. Taylor opened a sales office in New York city a year later and acquired Short & Mason (London) in 1900 and consolidated into its new building in 1906. Taylor Instruments Companies (abbreviated TYCOS) was formed in 1907 consolidating different branches.


Former Yugoslavian company (Belgrad).
Teleoptik was the first Yugoslavian factory of telephony, optics and fine mechanics, established in 1922 in Francuska Street 61 in Belgrade. In 1928 it started with the production of aircraft instruments. Before the start of the war, in 1940 the factory was relocated to Zemun in Cara Duana Street 139-141. In 1985 a special-purpose part of the factory separated under the name "TELEOPTIK ZIROSKOPI", which became in 1989 an independent enterprise. for production and overhaul of aircraft equipment and instruments. Serbia sold on april 24, 2007, the insolvent Optical Plant Teleoptik to Cyprus-based Fenderview Ltd. (It seems Fenderview disappeared shortly after the deal).


Former French manufacturer located 29/31, rue de la Plaine (Paris) created in 1938 by Pierre Louis Maurice CHAIX. See CHAIX compasses. Ceased all activities in 2017.

(Pictures at right: the old and the new logo).


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Eric Vaucher was a Swiss engineer who invented the famous matchbox-shaped RECTA compass.
Patent for Switzerland: no. 220.782 issued 16.10.1942
Patent for Germany: no. 878.562 issued 25.4.1942
Patent for the USA: no. 2.680.297, 1954
Further patents filed by inventors called VAUCHER (sons and grand-son of Eric?):
- Denis Maurice VAUCHER, wrist compass, 1975, no. 557.020 for Switzerland, no. 3.919.782 for the USA and no. 324.726 for Austria (see section Wrist Compasses)
- Frank VAUCHER: compass / sundial watch, European Patent no. 452.757 (1991) (see the instrument made by LONGINES displayed in the section Compass Watches).
See also the Muller & Vaucher pocket compasses.


William Willoughby Cole Verner was born in 1852 and died Jan. 25, 1922. He served on the staff in the Egyptian campaign of 1884-85 and during the Boer War. Military History:
Lt.: 18th Foot: Nov 1873
Rifle Brigade: May ‘74
Capt.: April ‘81
Maj.: Dec ‘91
Lt. Col.: Sept ‘96
Retired Half pay: May 1904
(Quotation courtesy Nick Godrige and The COMPASS COLLECTOR)
A certain type of British compass is called Verner's pattern after its designer's name, Colonel William Verner. However, this pocket prismatic compass was apparently designed after he published his famous book 'Some Notes on Military Topography', 127 p., publ. W.H. ALLEN &, Co. 1891 (Picture at right, click on img. for a view of some figs) in which he condems the then generally used large prismatic Schmalcalder compass and advocates instead the use of a small plane table and a pocket compass for drawing military landscape sketches.
Earlier Verner-signed compasses were simple pocket compasses (see Steward). The true Verner's pattern is primarily a downsized survey compass in a hunter case. It is based on Charles Augustus Schmalcalder's patent where the front sighting vane was replaced by a thin line etched in a glass window inserted in the hinged lid. It went through several stages since the first model was produced at the time the patent was filed. The first evolution of Schmalcalder's design towards Verner's Pattern was signed by F. Barker and featured a Singer's patent card.
The most common items (Mk VII and Mk VIII utilized during the first World War) are prismatic compasses although the oldest one known (Mark III, 1887) still was a non prismatic system. The design of several British Army WW1 compasses (many of them were built in Switzerland) is based on this system.
The early developments are thoroughly described in the website mentioned above.

A fac simile of the original User Instructions can be ordered (click HERE to see a photograph of page one). The ultimate version was a Mk IX but it was no longer engraved VERNER'S PATTERN and was immediately replaced by the technologically further developed prismatic liquid-dampened Mk III built by F. Barker.
See the compasses made by the following manufacturers:


Former French company established 1832 by Th. VION. He had two sons. A company called VION Frères (Bros.) was present at the World Exhibitions in 1878, 1889, 1893 and 1900. This company built optics instruments. It was called in 1922 Etablissement E. Vion. In the 1930's, its address was 38, rue de Turenne, Paris.
(quoted after
Eugène VION held patents for aircraft compasses in the 1930's and 1940's and manufactured these instruments mainly for the French armies.
VION was taken over by BBT (Barbier Bénard Turenne, former KRAUSS) and deleted fom the Registre du Commerce on 23 08 1985. The address then was 82 rue Curial in Paris 19t.
The existing VION company (nautical compasses) bought this production part of the old VION company. The aircraft and tanks compass division was bought by SATORI (in 77 Clayes Souilly near Paris).
No other data available.


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(Quoted from WIKIPEDIA)
•1854 Aaron Dennison establishes in Waltham (Massachusetts) the Waltham Improvement Company founded in 1850 together with Edvard Howard and David Davis in Roxbury (later to become Waltham Watch Company). In 100 years of existence produced 40 million jeweled watches, plus clocks, speedometers, compasses, time fuses for bombs and other precision instruments.
In U.S.A., the manufacturing of Waltham watches and watch parts ended in 1957. Production was transferred to Switzerland, to Waltham International SA, a company established for this purpose in 1954 by the US parent company. However, specialized clocks and chronographs for use in aircraft control panels continued to be made in the Waltham factory under the name of Waltham Precision Instruments Company until the company was sold in 1994. The company is now based in Alabama as the Waltham Aircraft Clock Corporation.

WICHMANN (Gebr. Wichmann m.b.H. Berlin)

German manufacturer of measuring instruments and stationary. He was a retailer of compasses built by several manufacturers.


Former name of a Swiss manufacturer located in Heerbrugg (now Vectronix AG). It was created in 1921 by Heinrich WILD. In 1986, the company merged with LEITZ (WILD Leitz Group) and in 1990 it beleoged to the Leica Group. The new name has been existing since 2002.
Specialty : topographical and optical measuring instruments.


WILKIE (Wilhelm Kienzler)

Former German company founded in 1954 in Fürth, near Nürnberg. It bought PASTO in 1972 and was acquired in 1976 by ESCHENBACH. The production of the WILKIE compasses was sold to K&R in 2005.
WILKIE was one of the most important German wholesale compass manufacturers.


Franz WINTERER was an Austrian officer (grade indicated in his pre-WWII books: lieutenant in 1930, captain in 1936).
He developed at least four different compass models. The models I and II were for Survey and Military use (see this category). Smaller ones are being described in the category Marching Compasses. Three are based on his patent no. 117354 (Austria, see Marching Compasses), accepted 1929.
The production shop was the Werkstätte für MASCHINEN und APPARATEBAU Karl STADLER in Vienna, XVth district, Rosinagasse no. 9.
He wrote several books about handling maps and compasses. The last one in 1953.


The company was established in New York in 1890 by Albert WITTNAUER (1856-1908), a Swiss clockmaker. The company produced watches, clocks and aircraft instruments and merged with BULOVA in 2001 .

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Former Irish manufaturers of scientific instruments.
The Yeates family business was established in the early 1790’s. The shop moved to 2 Grafton St, Dublin in 1827, directly across the street from Trinity College. Stephen Mitchell Yeates (born in 1832) took over in 1865 the business which his father George Mitchell Yeates had raised him in. It became then Yeates & Son "Instrument Makers and Opticians".
Stephen married and fathered 6 children but unfortunately he and his wife only outlived one child. Stephen Mitchell Yeates ran the family business from 1865 to 1901 when he died. Their business slogan was recorded as ‘Instrument makers to the University’ and they claimed to specialize in scientific and educational instruments. Some of the scientific instruments made by Yeates & Son still exist today in Trinity College.
The company is thought to have operated until approximately 1922.

- Gloria Clifton's Directory of British - Scientific Instrument Makers 1550 - 1851

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