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- L -


The French lieutenant Labrouste conceived during WWI a simple device to assess the position of a (foe) aircraft not yet visible. The observer would simultaneously turn his head in the direction of the sound coming from the aircraft and look at the reflection of his own face in a thin second mirror placed on the front side of the case taking care to see his both ears. For full wording click on the image at r. (Revue du Génie Militaire, Jan. 1922). The elevation angle would be measured with a Peigné compass.


Former French company: Constructeur des Instruments de l’Ecole Spéciale Militaire, 69, rue Gambetta Malakoff - Paris, late 19th C. It was eventually bought by Doignon. (COMPASSIPEDIA doesn't possess any information about this company - your help is needed).

Below: the modernized round version (dated 1887) of the famous model designed by the French général Paul PEIGNÉ. The weekly magazine Revue du Cercle Militaire (RCM, iss. 8 Jan. 1888 - 3 p., copies available) states that gén. Peigné had this compass version made by LADOIS. The article contains a detailed description and a user instruction (incl. 4 fig.). This compass was selected by the Artillery school in Saint-Maixent.
Drawing at r.:  Excerpt of the article de la RCM (click on image for enlarged views)

Below: General PEIGNÉ's famous system and a tacheometer.
LADOIS also built the square wooden version and was a retailer of small pocket compasses.

This model is unfortunately in relative bad condition: The mirror in the lid is missing just like one of the folding rulers on the lid. It had not the typical additional plunger-type needle brake of the Peigné system but only a locking lever at the side.

(Use of copies of the pictures by courtesy of the eBay seller cl1663)

Technical Data
- Diameter: c. 85 mm
- Depth: c. 25 mm
- Divisions: 360 deg.
- Clinometer: not visible
- Weight: c. 350 g

Technical Data

Signature: "Ladois-Froment à Paris"

(Pictures by courtesy of Moshe Fogel)
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Spanish manufacturer (located in Saragossa), created in 1880 by Amado Laguna der Rins. Produced precision instrumente. Incorporated in 1920. The shares are hold by the family.
LAGUNA built in the 1930s a modernized version of the BÜCHI compass model II (see this manufacturer's survey compasses).
See also this wooden case item.
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Anthony Lamb has history in London and was an apprentice to an instrument maker there and then he got wrapped up in some not so good things and became an accomplice to a very renowned burglar. He ended up getting caught and was sentenced to transportation to the Colonies. He did his time and became one of the first instrument makers in the Colonies. This compass pre-dates the revolutionary war.
Lamb’s son was very instrumental in the U.S. and actually served under General Washington during the war.

Pictures courtesy Brian/
(Click on images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
Dimensions: 15” long, 5 ¼” Compass diameter, compass needle 4 ½”, Sighting vanes are 6” tall.
Weight: ca. 4 lbs.

Manufacturer's date: c. 1740
The Manufacturer's signature:
ALamb N York 

L.A.T. - Les Accessoires Topographiques

Former French company located 44, rue Etienne DOLET - 94230 CACHAN created by the son of Secrétan's director. It was bought later by MORIN and was then called first MORIN-SECRETAN and later SRPI MORIN.
We don't know more about this company - your help is needed.

L.A.T. produced materiel for survey works. Picture of an advertisement for survey materiel HERE.

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Charles Lavauzelle & Cie is a French company (printed matters, stationary items). It was created in 1835 and was many years France's War Department's sole supplier for maps, official documents, specialized literature etc.

1 - Special ruler for distance assessment used by WW1 officers with slope table in degrees (compare with Général Peigné's system and the ruler used together with the Bézard compass. The tip was cut away by its user propably so that it fits into a uniform's pocket closed with a flap. The ruler can still be used since the top of the curve still matches the (missing) zero mark.

User instr. ("Précis de Topographie", by Col. Mathieu, 1939)
1 - (see descr. above)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 150 x 30mm
- Map reading device: Gaumet-type wheel
- British and Russian measuring units.
- The ruler featured a magnifying glass at one end.

2 - Special protractor graduated in MILS. It was to be used together with a compass called Boussole Directrice (ex.: see MORIN, S-L).
Illustration: French War Dept. document on Compasses (Note technique du Ministère de la Guerre)
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British retailer. The Lawes Brothers started their business in 1919. The Dacres Rabjohns started their business in 1922. In 1936 they registered a joint marketing company called Associated Drawing Materials and Equipment Ltd (Admel). In 1947 the Lawes Brothers and Dacres Rabjohns merged to form Lawes Rabjohns Ltd and in 1964 Lawes Rabjohns Ltd was re-named Admel International Ltd (Source: Gilai Collectibles).
SCHMALCALDER type surveyor's compass, i.e. with prism and alidade (see also F. Barker catalogue)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 86 mm
- Depth (closed, with lid): 30 mm
- Height (alidade upright): 100 mm
- Weight: 265 gr

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The French company LEMAIRE (see the sections Wrist, Pocket and Marching compasses) built also among other instruments an artillery level called sitomètre (see next entry).


LEREBOURS Noël-Jean (1761-1840) was Opticien de l'Observatoire Royal et de la Marine et du Bureau des Longitudes (Optician with the French Royal Observatory and the Navy and member of the Bureau of Longitudes). Hir shop was located Place du pont neuf, Paris. His son Noël Marie Paymal (1794-1855) was his successor. This instrument is called in French catalogues boussole d'arpenteur (ex. Morin, until c.1930) and also sometimes boussole de forestier. This special one existed signe (at r.) and unsigned. The very special rose of the winds on the item below doesn't feature the usual heraldic lilly (see at right) also symbol for the French kings, see an example of a similar compass with a fleur de lys; pic. courtesy Hotel_des_ventes) for the NORTH cardinal point but an amor shooting an arrow at a large letter N resembling strongly the one representing the French emperor Napoléon Bonaparte. The radii to the other three cardinals represent each a caduceus, a typical symbol used during this historical period (1800-1815). The same design is to be  found on a trough compass (further below).

(Click on images for enlarged views)

Double sight
Technical Data
- Dim.: 205 x 192 mm
- Divisions: 360°, precision ½ a degree
- Slide-in protection lid
- Wooden case, double rotatable sight 

Make: c. 1810
Small compass with clinometer and bubble level. It is unsigned but the decorated letter N (north) resembles the particular north mark of the large compass above so that we momentarily assume that Lerebours was its maker. The slope angle measuring device is unique: after having placed the base on the slope rotate the case until the level is horizontal. The tiny needle located below the level will then point to the angle value on the 100 degree double scale.
This instrument though is not listed in the only known catalog Lerebours (1853).

The three holes on each side are the witnesses of the missing sighting aids

Make: late XIXe s.
Dimensions: dia. 50mm
Gradation: 360°
Marking: DÉPOSÉ = French for Reg. Trademark.


This manufacturer is described in the section Marching Compasses.


Manufacturer unknown - Compass with clinometer. 
Procedure for measuring an elevation angle: Holding the case tilted sideways, sight at a feature through the pin-hole located under the prism and past the hair in the vane. A bubble level located on a graduated disc is visible via the mirror of a lift-up window. Rotate via the serrated wheel the scale of degrees visible in the opening on the opposite side until the bubble is levelled and read the angle between horizontal and the feature aimed at.  
The side to side lines on the base plate, are the same as those on military use protractor/rules (link to pic.), and can be aligned with map grids.
Technical Data: Dimensions (base-plate):  5.5" x 2.75"; Markings: Yds. 12 Ins = 1 Mile; NOTE: the use of the inner scale in the window is not known.

Pictures courtesy N. Godridge

The instruments in the next table are called sitomètre (or sitogoniomètre) in French and Sitometer in Swiss German. The name comes from the French expression for elevation angle which is called angle de site while the azimuth angle is called angle de gisement.

French level system called sito(gonio)mètre

Early system produced by the French companies HUET, LEMAIRE, MORIN and SECRETAN from 1911 on until the 30's.

For techn. details see SECRETAN
French level system called clisimètre

Early system produced by the French company MORIN in the 1930's

Swiss level system called Sitometer

For details see BÜCHI and  KERN
German system

For details see GOERZ.

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This system is called Abney level. It was designed by Sir William de Wiveleslie Abney (born 24 July 1843 - died 3 Dec. 1920) and is very popular in England and the U.S.A. Sir Abney was an English astronomer and chemist best known for his pioneering of color photography and color vision. Sir Abney invented this instrument under the employment of the School of Military Engineering in Chatham, England in the 1870's. It is described by W. & L. E. Gurley (*) as an English modification of the Locke hand level, noting that it gives angles of elevation and is also divided for slopes, as 1 to 2, 2 to 1, etc. Since the main tube of this instrument is square, it can be applied to any plane surface. The clinometer scale is graduated to degrees, and read by vernier to 10 minutes.

The original Abney level did not have a compass. It was simply a type of sextant for measuring vertical angles on land, not using the sun – no filters. Until its invention clinometers were either very bulky (sextants were used) or were not very accurate. Abney invented his pocketable level purely to fill a much needed gap in the market. Surveyors welcomed his invention, but it was primarily used by the military for artillery and engineering (creation of roads, bridges etc). However, the addition of a compass was a much later invention and it is possible, though not definite, that F. Barker was the one to make the combination.
* W. & L. E. Gurley, A Manual of the Principal Instruments Used in American Engineering and Surveying, Troy, N. Y., 1893, p. 228.

Abney level made by F. BARKER & Son
(see catalogue at right)

Multiplying the TAN no. (tangent) of the angle (given in a table) by the distance in metres to the base of the object gives its height.

(Click on images for enlarged views)
All pictures by

Prismatic compass with SINGER's patent type green paper dial with fixed prism and folding sighting vane. 
The compass transit lock engages when the sighting vane is folded down, and has a "brake" button to help settle the card for a reading.
The 5" version has no adjustable telescope (no draw tube).

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 5 x 2 ½ in.  (12.5  x 6 cm)
- Compass diameter: 1 ½ in. (38 mm)
- Compass calibrated in 360 degrees.

BARKER catalogue 1909



This simple device was invented by General A. de Lisle, (1825-99). The half mirror in the diamond frame reflects the observer's eye when the instrument is suspended from the thumb and held at arm's length. A sighting on a distant object through the clear glass will be on the same level as the observer’s eye and its mirror image. In this model the mirror can be tilted by using the weighted arm running over the scale on the arc as a “handle”. This will give a measure of the inclination of the distant object. A heavy arc is constructed upon the lower part of the instrument. This is jointed upon a vertical axis so that it may be revolved to bring the mass of the arc either forward or backward, to take inclines upwards or downwards, or to rest at an intermediate position to make the instrument flat and portable. The arc has a stiff centre axis with a radial bar, the edge of which forms the index. A sliding weight is placed on the radial bar, which is sufficiently heavy when at its greatest extension to exactly counterbalance the weight of the arc in a horizontal position and to make the mirror quite vertical. In this position it forms a simple Burel level.
A set of graduations are made upon the arc, which are numbered 1 to 50. The radial bar index set to one of these numbers gives the amount of inclination that will result from the coincidence of the reflection of the centre of the pupil of the eye cutting the object to be observed. It is calibrated for gradients from 1 in 50 to 1 in 5. Overall length 160mm / 6 inches ; weight : c. 300 gr. /  10 oz.

An instrument used to determine the angle of elevation or depression. A De Lisle's Pendant Clinometer was used by surveyors and Royal Engineers to set out slopes and gradients in the construction of paths, tracks and roads.
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Miner compass made by LEWERT & Sohn, Berlin (Germany). From 1873 on the maker Carl Friedrich Erdman LEWERT (the son?) is listed in the official journal Deutscher Reichsanzeiger (Mechanische und Telegraphenwerkstatt, Brüderstr. 14). In the following years the address changes : Luisen-Ufer 11 (1897), Elisabethufer 5/6 (1909), Tempelhof, Lorenzweg (1921 until 1931, last entry). Several electromechanical devices (parts for telegraph and telephone) are known, made together with Siemens-Halske.

Picture courtesy Liekele Kuipers
Click on image for enlarged view
Technical Data
- Dim.: 150 x 110 mm
- Div.: 360°
- Make: approx. mid 19th c.

The base was probably equiped with sighting vanes,

Schmalcalder Type
(w/o prism and vane)

Instrument design copied by many makers in the U.S. (example: see Rittenhouse).


(Marie) Gustave LEZY, precision mechanics, born in Brienne le Château on 27.03.1867 at no. 7, rue Zacharie, Paris, 5rd arrondissement, d. at home, 20 boulevard Jourdan, Paris 14° on 11.2.1927) was a French manufacturer of electrical devices (radiotherapy). His workshop was created in 1892 and located first at no.  4 (in 1899) then no. 17 (in 1910) in the former rue Maurice Meyer in the 13th arrondissement near the actual rue de la Glacière. The production most probably ceased after WWI since he is designated a retiree in official documents (his daughter's wedding and his death certificate).

The only catalogues know today show mainly radiotherapy instruments.
He designed at the turn of the century an improved version of General PEIGNÉ's famous system. In the Note Technique sur les Boussoles, 1931 (see pic. at r.), this type is designated as the Modèle LEZY and compared to Peigné's version. It features different or additional devices like the round bubble level and its separate clinometer integrated in the lid. The clinometer's sighting system in a groove in the case side opposite to the 15 cm ruler. The slope angle measuring pendulum is locked and can be released by depressing a bar on the lid's outer side. There is no military user instruction glued on the case. The two holes of the fitting used as a sighting device (on the lid) are also part of the locking mechanism (together two sliding pins on either side of the attachment ring).

The museum's collection comprises a second instrument made by LÉZY: a cylindrical cross staff head (see tyble below, 2nd row) graduated in 6400 MILS featuring an electrical lighting system. Its poor precision was probably the reason it is extremely rare...

Markings in the centre:
G. LEZY / PARIS - Modèle déposé
(Click on images for enlarged views)

Pic. above: the scale
At right: the unlocking device and the groove
Technical Data
- Dimensions (closed): 93 x 85 x 30 mm
- Divisions: 360° clockwise
- Clinometer scale ("PENTES"): +/- 80 deg
- Period: late 19th/early 20th C. / WW1

The manufacturer's name engraved on the swivel lid: Gve LÉZY À PARIS

The adjusting screws: the left one can slide through a slot so as to give way to the inner compartment and replace the light bulb, the right one commands the sliding resistor contact (see pic. at right).

The rheostat resistor (in position switched off) located in the lower compartment. In the center, the bulb's threaded hole:

(Click on images for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Dimensions (dia . x h): 2 ¾ x 3 ½ in. (70 x 90mm)
- Weight: 665 g
- Graduation: 6400 Mils, clockwise
- Compass rose: translucent
- Rerefence hand: hand-operated from above
- Transit lock: none
- Sighting slots: two of, 90° apart
- Lighting: bulb (missing on the picture), batteries located in the tripod adapter tube (see similar instrument below), dimmable via a resistor.

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PROFILE - A. LIETZ was a former U.S. manufacturer (for more information click HERE).
Product range - among others, they built the famous Forestry Compass which was available in two versions : 360 degrees and four quadrants (compare with Keuffel & Esser).
On this compass, the cardinals West and East appear reversed (their position left and right of North is swapped left to right). This is a typical feature on some U.S. geologist's compass: The needle indicates here the direction that you are facing when your turn on the spot with the compass in your hand (look for "quadrant" in MISCELLANEOUS / Terminology). You will also find more details in this Tutorial.
Other instruments: see CHARVOZ and LUTZ (below).

(Click to enlarge)

Technical Data

- Dimensions: 83 x 75 x 18 mm
- Weight: 190 gr
- Divisions: quadrants
- Material (case and lid): aluminum, black paint
- Bubble level in the lid (possibly missing but not represented in the LIETZ 1959 catalog)

The needle's horizontal position is balanced by means of a small weight wound around the needle's southern end.
The declination adaption range covers plus/minus 32.5 degrees, so that the compass can be used from the farthest point of the East coast to the extreme western end of Alaska.
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PROFILE - LUFFT (link to the main entry) is a famous German barometer manufacturer. They built few compasses. The most famous is the marching type called BÉZARD and some pocket compasses. In the lot, some were imported from France (made by Houillot). The compass at right (picture courtesy Th. Steffen) was maybe made in reality by BUSCH and retailed by LUFFT.
NOTE: the cardinals W and E are permuted and the divisions indicated counter clockwise. This was a standard design in the mines in ancient times in Germany and Austria (see Schablass) and still is on U.S. survey compasses (see BRUNTON).


PROFILE - The name C. LÜTTIG (Berlin) appears on a theodolite made probably at the turn of the 20th C.
No other information momentarily available.

(Click for enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Dimensions : x x mm
- Weight : gr
- Divisions : 360°
- Clinometer: one part ist attached to the sighting tube, the other under the compass capsule
- Serial no.: 1684
- Inscription engraved on the tube:
F. V. St. 139
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PROFILE - This Japan-made compass is identical to the one displayed under the name CHARVOZ which was also identical to a LIETZ -made compass. The name LUTZ was probably chosen for the resemblance with LIETZ.
No other information momentarily available.

Pictures courtesy alantoda
(Click on images for enlarged views)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 4 1/2" (118mm) side length
- Dia.: 95 mm
- Divisions: quadrants (4 x 90°) on inner and outer dials
- Clinometer: +/- 90°
- Side rulers:
. simple, inches (4 1/2) 
. double (two-way), inches with decimal divisions from 0 to 4.50 and from 4.50 to 9.0.
- Adaption of magnetic declination by side screw.
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- M -

M1 / M2

According to the U.S. Army Field Manual 21-26 App. G, the M1 compass was a predecessor of the M2 (pictures: see Brunton).
The description given in this document reads as follows:
"One of the most important features of the M2 compass is that it is graduated in mils and does not require a conversion from degrees to mils as does the M1 compass."

We suppose that the M1 was identical to the standard Brunton pocket transit compass because we couldn't until now find a picture of any compass matching this definition. On many websites, the standard lensatic marching compass (example: see Cammenga) is designated M1 but this is not consistent with the definition above since all models known feature both graduations (degrees and mils). FM 21-26, Ch. 9 describes the lensatic marching compass but this instrument is never designated M1.

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PROFILE - British design, maybe late 19th c. It appears in F. BARKER's catalogue as early as in 1909 (see in LINKS , the website together with the 4 in. (10 cm) prismatic compass described in P. Dériaz' manual THE PRISMATIC COMPASS (1917).

The graphic (below, centre) shows the French Model 1918 that could be utilized together with different gun types, among others the French 155mm howitzer type M1918. This drawing is to be found in a Maintenance Manual (TM 9-1595) issued during WWI and reprinted during WWII by the U.S. Secretary of War in 1943.

BARKER catalogue (1909)

Maintenance Manual
(copy available)

Technical Data
- Diameter: 100 mm (4")
- Height: .. mm
- Weight: ... gr
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Machine Gun (special compass for French MG units)

PROFILE - This compass was used during WW1 and is described in a French Army booklet (Note Technique sur les Boussoles, 1931, Photocopies available in our SHOP) as being an already older special compass for MG units (boussole spéciale pour compagnies de mitrailleuses). Detailed information (in French) and photographs of units and material are posted on the website Pages d'histoire 14-18. The compasses used in the German Maschinengewehr- Scharfschützen- Abteilungen are displayed in this museum in the articles VOIGTLÄNDER and PESSLER.


(Click on images for enlarged views)
Photograph of the description given in the
Note technique sur les boussoles (1931)

Technical Data
- Dimensions (clsd.): 80 x 80 x 25  mm
- Weight:150  g
- Divisions : 6400 mill. clockwise,
- Manufacturer unknown
- Cardinals: French, Radium paint markings black lined
- Needle lock: spring-loaded, releasing by depressing the button (F)


An instrument designed for measurement of the absolute value of a magnetic field intensity or of one component of this, be it from the earth ot from some instrument. We describe special magnetometers used for electrical circuits (galvanometers) in the section "Other Compasses". Some magnetometers were used in the ship and aircraft industry to determine the best place for a compass onboard. See examples and read more here: Askania, Bamberg, Busch, Compass Laboratory, Geophysical Instr., Plath...
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PROFILE - W. Mansfied & Co. Birkenhead / England.

Technical Data
- Dimensions :  x  x   mm
- Weight:  g
- Divisions : only on both sides of North: + / - 40 deg.

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Map (military, Germany, WWII)

NOTE: For WWII British escape aid maps go to Escape Compasses.

The WWII German soldiers were given maps of the fighting area called Tornisterschrift (backpack document) especially printed for the Third Reich's Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OkW). They belonged to a large collection of (originally) teaching and tourist maps made by the Bibliografisches Institut in Leipzig called Schlag nach which means 'look up' (like in a dictionary). These words were followed by the name of the region, in the example below, Mittelmeer, i.e. Mediterranean. This one (no. 11) shows the complete area and especially North Africa where many German troops fought with Marschall Rommel and were taken prisoners by the British Army.

The political Mediterranean Area in 1940

On this map, countries or parts thereof are indicated together with the relevant authority (printed in red): Greece and Bulgaria were a single country. Italy, Lybia and Albania formed one unit (mention in red: In Personalunion). Algeria, Morocco, Tunesia and Syria were French colonies, protectorates or départements (and thus friendly states) whereas Egypt, Palestine, Malta, Trans Jordan, Cyprus were on the British side (foe). 
Cover of folded map: "Restricted - Use only within the German Army" 

Technical Data
- Dim.: 18 x 44"  (46 x 111 cm)
- Scale: 1 to 4,500,000
- Issue: 1939/40 - 1st year - Booklet no. 11

The only military information are red triangles indicating friendly (simple shape) or ennemy (double triangle) facilities like Malta's harbour of La Valetta held by Great-Britain located near the coast of fascist Sicily:

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Map Pockets

Examples of ancient map pockets for military use or hiking. Some had transparent walls, others pockets for drawing tools (colour pencils, eraser, ruler etc.). Some can be carried with a shoulder strap, others with two short straps for example on a bike's steering handles. Some also had a small integrated compass.

(click on pic. to enlarge)

System called "Swedish" in German (see catalogue below)

Technical Data
Leather map holder with transparent walls, compass and shoulder strap (France, 1920's)
- Content: map (1/20.000) of area East of Paris, around Drancy, type 1889, dated 1928.
- Dimensions : 230 x 140 mm
- External pocket for a booklet (training data of artillery soldiers in 1929)

Official Wehrmacht pocket (Meldetasche

Technical Data
Leather map holder with pockets for colour pencils, eraser, ruler etc. and straps for horse saddle, bike etc.
- Two compartments inside
- Straps for bike steering handles
- Germany, 1930's and WWII
- Dimensions: 270 x 190 mm

Pic. at r.: Eisenschmitt, Karte und Gelände, Ausg. 1939 with list of pockets and compasses
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Map Reader

Description : This instrument is used to measure distances on maps (see also the early models made by ZIKO). It is made of a tiny wheel that can follow the curves of a road. This wheel is connected to a pointer that shows the measured track on a dial. Some compasses are equiped with map readers with several scales - see in particular Breithaupt (model Cokil) and Peigné (metallic version made by Ladois). The French maker Baudet (later : Burnat) offered in his catalogue for the year 1925 numerous models in all European and British/U.S. measuring units, one with a tiny compass in the pendant (follow links to pictures).

The instrument shown at right (built in the 1950's-60's) displays divisions that allow direct reading of distances on maps with the scales 1:20,000, 1:40,000, 1:80,000 and 1:100,000 on one side while the opposite side has divisions for the scales 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:75,000 and 1:200,000.

(Photo at right: click for enlarged view )

(Click on images for enlarged views)

(Pictures courtesy tyntyla26)
Old English double-sided instrument marked

Technical Data
- Diameter: 1 inch
Map measurer:
- Outer scale: 12" (= 1 foot)
- Inner scale: 25 feet
- Casing: silver, Birmingham 1896
Antique gold watch fob charm double-sided compass and map measurer (curvimeter or opsiometer)

(Click on images for enlarged views)


(Pictures courtesy
Technical Data
- Diameter: 22.43mm
- Thickness: 12.92mm
- Weight: 12g
Outer scale: 12" (= 1 foot)
- Inner scale: 25 feet
- Casing: 18ct gold
- Manufacturer: F. BARKER & Son
- Hallmarked : F. B. & Sn LONDON 1901
It features in all the period BARKER catalogues (see pics HERE) and was available in brass, siver and 3 different grades of gold. 

(Click on images for enlarged views)

(Pictures courtesy Sergey Habarolog)
Russian instrument

Technical Data
- Diameter: approx. 1" 6/32
- Scale 1 (pic at left): centimeter and kilometers
- Scale 2 (pic at right): inches and versts (1 verst = 3500 m or approx. 2 miles)
- Casing: bakelite (1940?)

(Click on each picture above for enlarged views)
Instrument comprising a map reader on one side, a compass on the other, and a pencil at one end.

The pouch can be hung onto a pocket.
Technical Data
- Dials' diameter: 35 mm
- Length: 11.5 mm
- Map reader dial range:
100 mm / 10 km, resp. 3.9 in. (inches to miles)

Some items are signed ATCO Germany.
Special pair of dividers with two scales

Pic. Schardt catalogue 1914/15
Instrument with a compass (supplied by Houlliot)

Picture courtesy ebay seller Lac!
Technical Data
- Scales: 1:25,000 and 1:100,000
- The Swiss patent no. 20093 presents both versions: with and without compass (links to pics).

Rear side: intellectual property protection markings for Germany, Switzerland and Austria

MashPriborIntorg ('Машприборинторг' in cyrillic letters)

Name of a company in the former Soviet Union located in Moscow (see GK-2).


Former German manufacturer, company created in Berlin in 1820.
A catalogue for survey materiel dated 1910: "Illustrirter Katalog und Preis-Verzeichniss über geodätische Instrumente, Messgeräthe, Reisszeuge etc: Erzeugnisse der mechanischen Werkstätte für wissenschaftliche Präcisions-Instrumente von A. Meissner (Inhaber: H. Müller & F. Reinecke) Mechaniker und Optiker Berlin W."

 Pictures courtesy E. Horsfield
(Click on images for enalrged views)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: ? mm
- Divisions: 360° counter clockwise
- Magnetic needle: two parallel bars driving a divided circle.

Case with foldable vanes and a leather pouch with a round window like the SPRENGER instrument but the capsule is fluid dampened and its bottom is shaped with concentric waves like a barometer's aneroid capsule.
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Former Czechoslovakian manufacturer located in Prague (Praha in Czech language). Its confidential three-letter code during the communist era was xbk (link to a military model). See also the section Marching Compasses.

 Pictures courtesy Houcke
 (Click on images for enlarged views)

Logo and clinometer window

Side ruler and sights

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 130 x 10 x 65 mm
- Bubble level
- Divisions : 360° clockwise and 24 hrs counter clockwise. Cardinal points : N.W.S.E printed reversed for reading in mirror
- Clinometer: +/-110° unlocked by depressing the knob on the right
- Extendable rifle-type sights for measuring vertical angles on the right side
- Back face: round window for illumination of scales from below
- Side ruler: 10 cm  / scale 1/1000
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Former Swiss manufacturer (for more information click HERE).
Not to be mistaken for the MERIDIAN called compass model made by the former German company WILKIE and the actual K&R (see also MARCHING compasses).

Model MK-2001

(Click on picture for enlarged view)

Technical Data
- Dimensions (folded):
65 x 50 x 18mm
- Weight: 80 gr
- Divisions: 400 grades
- Leather case

The compass attached on a tripod (catalogue)
Model MG-3002

Click on the picture for an enlarged view together with foldable ruler
Inside the lid, the two lenses of the double optical clinometer and distance measuring device. This system is based on a BÜCHI patent project for a sitometer called level that was not filed.

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Meridian catalogue picture

An additional item was designed to measure the slope of rock layers (compare with FPM).

Technical Data
- Dimensions (folded):75 x 55 x 35 mm
- Weight: 340/175 gr
- Compass Divisions: 360° or 400 grades
- Pendulum clinometer:
. upper scale (coarse): +/- 90°
. lower scale (precise): +/-15°
- Double optical slope and distance measuring device (pic: see conv. table):
. left sight: 0 (level) to 90° upwards
. right sight: (same downwards)

(Click on links to see items)
- Conversion table (paper)
- Foldable ruler (three parts)
- Pouch

User instructions available (French and German only)
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METPRIBOR (метприбор)

Former soviet manufacturer of metrological instruments located in Leningrad / St Petersburg. Other items known are map readers. The abbreviation TOMP / ТОМП reads: Треста оптико-механических производств and means Trust of Optical and Mechanical Production.

Mikhalovski - Touroff (Михаловский - Tуров)

MIKHALOVSKI and TOUROFF (Михаловский - туров) designed in the early 20th c. aiming circles. 

Pics by courtesy of Archives Russ. Fed.

Technical Data
Click on the image for an enlarged three-sides view

The words север синий 
mean 'North blue', i.e. the needle's blued half points north. Click on the link for a view of the complete aiming circle. Manufacturer UOMZ.
Technical data
Click on the image below for a view of the complete system and follow the link for an exhaustive description of the compass.

Miners' compass

Definition: special compass system for survey tasks in mine galleries. The first description known occurs in DE RE METALLICA, by G. Agricola, 1551, p. 117 & 118 (pic. at r.). See also the items built by FPM, MORIN, ROSPINI, SECRÉTAN).  Older compasses in France and in the German-speaking countries were divided into 24 hours and often 2 x 12, example: see Schablass).
(Click on pictures for enlarged views)

Left: description of a miner's compass in an old French encyclopedia for measuring instruments and metallurgical tools (1813).
(Translation - see original text in the French part : poche de mineur)

A miner's compass assembly generally comprises:
1. a compass to measure the galleries' orientation
2. a graduated half-circle with plumbline to measure their slope
3. a chain to measure the distance between the stations
4. several brass screws, to attach the chain
5. a protractor to transfer the measurements on the drawing
6. (optional) an optical sight.

Pictures courtesy

Click on the images for enlarged views
Miners' Compass complete with semi-circle hanging protractor, plumb bob, adjustment keys etc.
Technical Data
- Maker: Noesselt & Staritz, Breslau (Silesia, now Poland), late 19th c.
- Compass card: silver-coated, with 360-degree scale.
- Dimensions: wooden case (c. 30 x 23 cm).
On the back of the case is still the original leather bag.

Detail view of a compass: see SECRÉTAN
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PROFILE - Former French company (for more information, click HERE). Morin had been a supplier (partly as retailer*) for the French armies and the industry since the late 19th c. The catalogue for the year 1930 (picture at right) gives a perfect overview of its product range. The various items are shown together with the catalogue illustration.
Picture: MORIN catalogue (1930's)
The oldest instrument (link to picture sent by D. M. Farrioli) that we know of is described in a book about the drawing of the isoclinical map of Spain (Magnetismo Terrestre, Madrid 1919).
* One of the main manufacturer was Collignon-Houlliot.
See also the categories Marching compasses, Nautical compasses and Pocket compasses.

Technical Data
- Diameter: 80 mm
- Depth (closed): 27 mm
- Height (alidade upright): 60 mm
- Weight: 300 gr
Technical Data
- Diameter: 80 mm
- Depth: 12 mm
- Weight: 110 gr
Example: go to Collignon-Houlliot Technical Data

Compass equipped with a clinometer: The zero reference is situated on a tangent defined by a retractable lever. The needle can be locked by means of a piston sliding through the loop fitting (free when extended).
The same model exists also bearing the name of the italian manufacturer of optical instruments SALMOIRAGHI.

Technical Data
- Diameter (compass): 90mm
- Depth (case, closed): 30mm
- Height: (alidade upright): 75mm
- Weight: 200gr
Export Version (cardinal points in English)
Plane Table Compass
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 70 x 70 x 15mm
- Weight: 50gr
Trough or Plane Table Compass

Technical Data
Dimensions: (?)
NOTE: the museum doesn't possess this item. This picture was sent by a visitor. The museum has four other exhibits (see RICHER, SECRETAN and two no-name, items, one being part of a military theodolite, see the trough compass below). 
Square protractor
(See "protractor, square /  Romer scale" below)

Miners' compass
Special compass for survey works in mines' galleries (see also description and exhibits made by SECRÉTAN and FPM).

Technical Data
- ...
Prismatic compass designed by Berget
MORIN catalogue no. 9925

The compass unfortunately w/o its prism. Compare with the item made by Houlliot
(Click for enlarged view)

Technical Data
- Dimensions (overall): 110 x 85 mm
- Compass diameter: 40 mm
- Divisions: 400 grades
- Weight: 85 gr
MORIN produced together with SRPI a modern version of Général Peigné's system (see further down) made of aluminum.

(Pictures Jaypee - private collection)

Click on the image above for displaying the entire page
Cross staffs and similar instruments

Morin made them only in cylindrical cases while Secrétan made them octogon-shaped.

MORIN retailed in the 1960s/70s a dip needle compass made by Collignon-Houlliot. This item featured a foot so that it could be used as a altazimut compass but is identical to the one described in the 1930 catalog (w/o pic) which featured a large ring.
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-N -

Netherlands - State Manufacture for Artillery Material

PROFILE - Artillery compass for guns battery made by Staatsbedrijf der Artillerie-Inrichtingen.

Sighting through the slot and over the wire. The angle values are read in the small square mirror located above the wire.

(Click on the images for enlarged views)
Pictures courtesy M. Langner

It was used together with binoculars and a tripod. The meaning of the letters (DFHLN) is not known. All compasses featured different letters.

The divisions ring also comprises a scale for correction coefficients (see pic. below. For a drawing of the complete range please click HERE. Thank you for any hint about its use):

Technical Data
- Length. (extended): 8" / 201mm;
- Length (folded): 5" / 128mm
- Dia. (case): 3 1/4" / 83mm
- Dia. (compass disc): 2" / 52mm
- Divisions: 6400 MILS
- Weight: ca. 1 lb. / 480 g

Descr. in Dutch language
(pic. court. T. Brink):

Transl. of Teeken: sign (plus or minus)
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- O -


PROFILE - Richard Hebden O'GRADY HALY* was a British officer (born 22 February 1841, died 8 July 1911 Major General) who invented when he was Lieutenant Colonel a compass system with clinometer that bears his name and was built by ELLIOTT Bros.
* For comprehensive résumé and portrait click HERE.


PROFILE - G. Ostoya was an Austrian (Imperial officer?) and inventor. He had this system built by E. Kraft in Vienna. Full description in German in the article "Eine neue Handbussole von G. Ostoya" (a new marching compass designed by G. Ostoya) published in the review Polytechnisches Journal (issue 1877), online on the website of the Alexander von Humbodt University in Berlin HERE.

Images digitized by A. v. Humboldt University
(Click on the image for an enlarged view)
Technical Data
- Dimensions: no information available

- Technique: this instrument is a precision trough or plane table compass. The needle can only swing between the two boxes (F). Rotation of the cylinders while sighting is effected via the mechanism (T). The angle value (precision 20 minutes or arc) can be read on the external nonius.

(For more details read the full description on the A. v. Humboldt University's website - If needed, we can help with a translation).

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- P -

Państwowe Zakłady Pomocy Szkolnych

PROFILE - Państwowe Zakłady Pomocy Szkolnych was a government supplier of educational material for mining and surveying in technical colleges. It was created in Warsaw in 1949 and existed until 1973.

Pictures courtesy of hipermetalo
Technical Data
- Case side length: approx. 150 mm
- Kompass-Ø: ca. 100 mm
The underside is hollow without markings (link to pic.).


PROFILE - James Parkes was a British manufacturer of telescopes. He founded his company in 1839.  He was succeeded by his son and the company was renamed James Parkes & Son (1843 – 1862). Both companies traded from 5, St. Mary’s Row, Birmingham.
We presume that there is a connection with a certain Robert Parkes who lived in the late 16th century and was cited by Simon Forman in his book Longitude. Parkes was apparently a manufacturer of telescopes.
Description of the production scope in a catalogue for the year 1848:
"Measuring tapes, land chains, mathematical instruments, miners' & mariners' compasses, watchkeys, seals etc."
Parkes's trademark was a human left eye shown open together with an eyebrow. The "eye" trademark also appeared on both sides of Britain's coat-of-arms in an 1867 catalogue (see image at right - click to enlarge).

Compass open with the vanes erected (compare with the compass made by the  German  FENNEL or the French MORIN, above).
Technical Data
- Diameter (sighting vanes folded): 60 mm
- Diameter (sighting vanes deployed): 70 mm
- Depth (closed with lid on): 21 mm
- Weight: 120 g

(Pictures courtesy of TRADEMARKLONDON)

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Général PEIGNÉ's system

This compass type was designed by the French officer Paul Peigné (for his résumé, click HERE).
It could well be that in reality, the then captain only modified the system designed by a lady compass maker called Mademoiselle DUPUY by integrating the clinometer into the compass capsule and adding user's instructions glued on the case's upper and lower sides. See also LEZY.

It was built by several companies like MORIN, LADOIS and S-L. A short version of the users' instructions was glued on both sides of the wooden casing (printed by Delagrave et Cie). Late 19th until early 20th century. This compass is equipped with an alidade that could be used both with the compass needle to take azimutal bearings and with the clinometer to measure elevation angles. The magnetic needle oscillations can be slowed by depressing a thin piston gliding through the transit locking screw. The clinometer scale is printed inverted so as to be read in the mirror. It was one of the major official compasses used in the French Army during WWI.
(Fig. at right: French Infantry petty officers manual 1914/15 in which the compass is still designated "du capitaine Peigné")

Compass system by Gen. PEIGNÉ in the MORIN catalogue for 1930
(Click on the picture for the full catalogue text in French)
360 deg. version signed Colonel Peigné 1897.
The oldest known version states his former grade as Lieutenant-Colonel (link to pic) from 1883 on.

The mention Général Peigné appears only after he was appointed General in 1898 (source: French mil. archives).
Military version (6400 mils) with signature
"Gal Peigné", 1916.

A bakelite version was made by S-L in the 1930's.
The user's instructions on the casing

At right: comprehensive manual (4 p., see SHOP)
Technical Data
- Dimensions: 92 x 90 x 35 mm
- Diameter of compass rose: 70 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils, clockwise
- Clinometer: 0-1000 (unit ?) upwards and downwards
- Weight: 200 gr
- Side ruler (casing deployed): 160 mm

The French CapitaineBrèche who teached military survey technique in the St-Maixent infantry school published in 1911 his entire lecture course in which he describes various compasses, among others the Peigné system.

Strangely, he described this system as having two horse hairs inside the mirror's slot:"le plan vertical de la visée est déterminé par le milieu de l'intervalle qui sépare DEUX CRINS tendus dans la fenêtre". Such a device could never be observed on any of the many compasses we saw.


Map reader for five scales
(1:50.000, 1:80.000, 1:100.000, 1:200.000 and 1:320.000) and modern stylized signature
Metallic cylindrical version called Saint-Maixent* model. It was manufactured by LADOIS.
* Famous military school

Technical Data
- Diameter: 83 mm
- Depth: 26 mm
- Divisions: 6400 mils, clockwise
- Clinometer: degrees, no separate scale
- Weight: 320 gr
- Ruler flap: 70 mm

Similar model but unsigned. The dial was probably made by HOULLIOT. The divisions (360° clockwise, clinometer +/- 30°) are engraved and not printed on paper. The locking hooks are sturdy. The sighting recess in the lid features rounded ends.

Technical Data
- Dim. : 930 x 930 x 31mm
- Side ruler: none

On the rear face, a placard with user instructions refers to a table designed by MARTEL of which we know nothing yet.

Pic. at left: Version made by Houlliot
Technical Data

- Dimensions : 87 x 87 x 33 mm
- Weight : 150 g
- Casing : mahogany

It was proposed to use this compass type to assess the elevation angle to aircraft (excerpt of Revue du Génie Militaire, Jan. 1922
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Compass with Map Measurer (Curvimeter)

This instrument is described in a document dated 1880 and attributed to Peigné (Aide-Mémoire à l'usage des officiers d'artillerie, s. enlarged image at r.). The manufacturer was probably LADOIS. The curvimeter is also unique: one can measure distances of up to one meter by means of the integrated mechanism. One notched wheel protruding from the casing's side indicates 100 mm. Each full rotation of it causes a small wheel to advance by one unit. It bears numbers from 0 to 9 (decimeters). These values can be read through the two heart-shaped windows on the rear face. Further characteristics:
- The needle can be locked for transit, but its oscillations can be manuallly slowed downs by means of an additional lever.
- Folding sights consisting of two plates: one with a pin-hole, the other with a square window with a vertical pin.

The rear face with the two windows

(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)
Technical Data
- Casing material: Nickel
- Dimensions: 80 x 41 x 17 mm
- Weight: 100 g
- Ruler: 50 mm
- Clinometer: 2 x 60 deg.
- Compass divisions: 360 deg. clockwise
- Serial (or model?) number (rear face, bottom): 1
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PROFILE - Former German manufacturer located in Freiberg / Saxony. Created probably at the very beginning of the 20th C. Astronomical and Survey instruments. The company was taken over by the communist government in 1951 and integrated into the group FPM.

Picture courtesy Jaypee priv. coll.

Picture courtesy feltfedora
Click on the images for enlarged views

Technical Data (black compass)
Dim.: 100 x 80 x 15 mm,
Compass Ø: 65 mm
Compare with the similar compass made by Voigtländer.


PROFILE - Surveyor compass. The maker is still unknom but the city engraved below his name (S. Weirant ?) was PEST, now a district of Budapest (source : Dorotheum, Vienna, Austria) after the three distinct cities Buda, Obuda and Pest merged in 1873.
The case's lid uper face (black leather) is enhanced by golden stamped arabesques and rosaces along the edges and a sort of caduceus in each corner.

Pictures courtesy Hönigsberger

Click on the images for enlarged views

The case decoration

Technical Data
Dim. compass: 100 x 100 x 22 mm,
Ø : 90 mm
Dim. case: 120 x 120 x 33 mm
Divided circle: 4 quadrants (90°) each one referenced via one of the letters A, B, C and D engraved and painted in the centre around the rose of winds.
Cardinal points: Latin (s. menue Miscell.)
Date of manufacture: around 1790-1820
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PROFILE - Former Finnish manufacturer located in Helsinki. It was probably short-lived. The only instruments known up-to-now are this compass apparently used by the national Forestry department (Metsähallitus) and a wrist compass displayed in the SUUNTO entry which were both built in the 1930's.
Picture at right: the maker's label on the compass below
The holes in the vane were a means to assess elevation angles (slopes).

Top view:
Index ring with vernier 

Vane with 5 sighting holes
Technical Data
- Dimensions: Height 2" / 50mm
- Compass diameter: 5 3/4" / 150mm
- Vane height: 2" / 50mm
- Distance between holes: 1/2"  / 12 mm
- Weight : 4 lbs / 2 kgs.
- Magn. needle: lozenge shaped, one long white line on the Northern branch, liquid dampened.

Pictures by courtesy of G. Plumb - Above: the carrying leather case
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PLANE TABLE (planchette)

The tool called plane table (plain table prior to 1830) is a device used in surveying and related disciplines to provide a solid and level surface on which to make field drawings, charts and maps. The early use of the name plain table reflected its simplicity and plainness rather than its flatness (source: WIKIPEDIA).
Its consists of a board usually attached to a tripod and articulated by means of a knee joint so that it can always be levelled.
The picture at left shows a simple product out of MORIN's catalogue c.1930. On it are placed a Peigné compass and an alidade.

The French word 'planchette' (small board) also designates a small portable plane table held in front of oneself, hung by a lace around the neck. A French Ponthus & Therrode catalogue (ca. 1910) displays a drawing of a soldier holding one, also with a large Peigné compass.
A 'planchette compass' designated hence also a pocket compass that could be attached to the board by means of a tab and two screws. However, in the description displayed at right (Stockert catalogue, click on image for full descr.), the word planchette is wrongly used to designate the tab screwed to the compass case. The current German designation for plane table is Messtisch. The correct English designation of such instruments is Trough compass. Houlliot manufactured different ones until WW1 (pict. of Russian models). We own one of them and one can also be seen with cardinals in ancient Russian writing in the 1910 Stockert catalogue.

We display below a plane table with integrated compass and double level. A sighting system could be attached by screws.
In the 2nd row of the table: square compass designed by DELCROIX with four holes in the aluminium base. It was stowed in a wooden box lined outside with leather and inside with silk and velvet. Divisions: 400 grades. Sighting device: rifle type and two additional sighting pins located at a 90 degree angle. The brass capsule rotates freely. The pivot is glued onto a glass disk. Identical to the 'Boussole Directrice' designed by Delcroix.

Technical Data
- Dim.: 300 x 300 mm
- Dia. compass: 80 mm
- Gradation: 2 x 90°
Period: post WWII

Instrument called Boussole directrice (marching compass) designed by Delcroix (1895) for use on a plane table

Model signed VION (see descr. there) featuring a standard French soldier's compass (WWI)
(360°, Radium Markings)

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Small Portable Devices

There existed also portable plane tables with all elements needed to carry out topographical works.
Our first example is the one designed by the French officer Capitaine Henri HUEL.

The wooden case was probably covered with leather or fabric so as to hold the pens in place. The lid is hollow and contains a protractor.
Technical Data
- Dimensions (open) : 260 x 250 mm
- Compass diameter: 60 mm
- Divisions : four 100 grades quadrants

Instructions for use: This device also allowed for working on horse back (see also DELCROIX' system).

(Click on the picture for full text view)
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Mark IV or Major Verner`s Patent "Cavalry Board"

This plane table features a small compass set in a wooden frame. It would be carried attached to forearm with a leather strap. It was in use from the late 19th c. until WW1 and is described in the handbook Military Sketching, Map Reading and Reconnaissance (1915, see below and in Miscell. / Hist. & Bibliogr.).
Some models are marked Mk.IV. (Mark IV) engraved on the reverse side preceded by the British Army's symbol, the broad arrow also called crow foot.

View of a complete item

Picture by courtesy of Nick Godridge

Compass of a destroyed Mk IV model
Click on images for detailed views
Technical Data

- Dimensions: 10" x 7 ½" (250 x 190mm)
Link to pic Protractor on rear face

Picture by courtesy of M. Jones
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CHAIX plane table
The same principle was used on the device patented in 1938 by the French Paris-based company TOPOCHAIX.

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
At left: Short description (excerpt of user instr.)
and figs. of the patent:
The device (A) comprises:
1° a sliding table (B) with a rotating protractor (C)
2° two rolls (D) on which a stripe of transparent paper (F)
is wrapped around and on which the drawings are made.

At right: pocket plane table

(Copies of all docs can be ordered)

(Click on the picture for an enlarged view)
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Tavoletta di Monticolo

Another system was developed in Italy probably in the late 19th c. by A. Monticolo, who was an engineer with the company 'Officine Galileo'. The device was called 'Tavoletta di Campagna' (di Monticolo) and produced from 1908 until the second half of the 20th c.

For a comprehensive description (in Italian language) refer to the following websites:
- Nottolini
- Arxiv-Papers (page 72)

Technical Data
- Dimensions : 130 x 180 mm
- Compass/clinometer diameter : 70 mm
- Compass and clinometer : two windows on the round dial
- Rangemeter (with prism)
- Reduction tables (attached on rear face)

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Plane Table Compass

(see Trough Compass)

Protractor, square / Romer Scale*

* see Wikipedia
DESCRIPTION - A square protractor is an instrument utilized to measure the geographical position of any point on a map with UTM grid reference and describe it for a user of the same map. It is graduated with one or several scales in a vertical and an horizontal direction.
Old models generally consisted of a square frame with several scales. The distance between the point and the grid lines is measured simultaneously with a horizontal and a vertical branch.
In the 30's and 40's, there was in Germany a famous cardboard flyer called Wehrsporttafel No. 12 especially printed for the paramilitary 'defence sport associations' (Wehrsportgruppen) which explained the use of the square protractor (which could be cut-away). It also desccribed other instruments like one of BUSCH's famous marching compass. Today, Germany's Army uses its own system (see picture at left).

Pic. at r.: How the French Army designated the position of a target on a map (excerpt of the examination booklet for future officers Recueil de résumés à l'usage des candidats au Brevet de la Préparation Militaire (1955): UP-LEFT

Modern marching compasses (like the ALPIN made by K&R or the special British Army model Expedition 54 made by SILVA) feature an engraved protractor. On British survey maps with the scale 1:36360 the grid corresponds to 1 inch for 1 mile (see pic of map and compass HERE).
- Pic. at right: Romer scale for use with national grid maps (GB) (Click HERE for protractor type OS.80876).
- Ancient ones: see MORIN above (WW1).
- Pöferlein (marching compasses)
- WW2: table below and also Bézard compass (Technical Documentation/Training)
- Modern items: see Google result
Apparently, the U.S. Army used a system based on a gross assessment: Read UP-RIGHT, "4/10 the distance between 11 and 12 is read 114" (see Lensatic / Training).
Winterer's system
(Austrian and Italian Army until WWII).

NOTE: The values read right of the meridian were called Rechtswert and the values read above the latitude line were called Hochwert. You had to rotate this item by 90 deg. to read either the scale 1/75,000 or the 3 scales 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 thousand (click HERE for the Italian version with tactical symbols).
BÉZARD Version (s. Bézard / Part 2 - Doc.)

Square protractor for 3 scales (Germany, WWII and Jensen catalogue 1938)

Technical Data
- Dimensions: 86 x 86 mm
- Material: Aluminium
- Weight: 2 gr

(Click for enlarged view)

Cardboard flyer Wehrsporttafel no. 12 (see "Wehrsport"): how to use the sq. prot. and the measuring device called Messwinkel.
(facsimile can be ordered).

Cardboard flyer 12: The sq. protractor (top right) drawn inside the Messwinkel to be cut out.

(Click for enlarged views)

The Gunner's manual (1940) :
How to use the sq. protractor (Planzeiger)

- Q -

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- R -

Radio-compass (for locating broadcasting stations)

Brass compass in a wood casing. The dial is divided in two ranges of 12 hours, each one being itself divided in two sectors, a white one from zero to 6 and a black one from 6 to 12. European city names are indicated in German language (Nürnberg = Nuremberg) all around the outer dial. A centre dial features a green rose of the winds and a world map centered around the north pole where the magnetic needle's pivot is located. The cardinals are oriented for an observer standing at the geographic north pole: north is towards Canada and the Americas, south towards Sibiria! This map can be rotated by turning a knurled knob located on the side. Markings: Pat. SNOW Radio-Kompass Trademark and a watermark-like logo featuring the letter A and the letters GIL. Dia.: ca. 5 ¾".
Click on image for a detail view of the dial


PROFILE - L'HERMITE & LEJARD, located 13, rue de la Cerisaie (near La Bastille), apprentices to and successors of RICHER, GUYARD & CANARY (formerly RICHER, GUYARD, CANARY & Cie).
Excerpt of a catalogue (c. 1905):
"The company was created in 1780 by RICHER and his son Emile Richer was his successor. In 1870, Emile Richer associated two apprentices of his his father, Guyard and Canary who became his successor. In 1890, they followed the example of their former head and associated two of their apprentices L'Hermite and Lejard who are currently the company's owner."
(Source: catalogue - sent by Antonin L'Hermite's grand-grand-daughter)

Trough compass for plane table

(See definition under MISCELLANEOUS / Glossary and Definitions)

Technical Data
Wooden casing, ivory scales
- Dimensions: 120 x 44 x 15 mm
- Weight: 40 gr


In Austria, the word Bussole was utilized instead of the normal German word Kompass. Examples: see. Bézard and Winterer. Artillery compasses used to orientate (verb is 'richten') a gun were called consequently 'Richtbussolen'. Examples: GANSER and GOERZ.
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RICHTER, O. (Рихтеръ in Russian)

PROFILE - Oskar Richter was a maker and/or retailer of scientific instruments located in Petrograd or Saint-Petersburg, Russia (Петроградъ / Санкт-Петербургъ) until 1878.  The only information about him is published on the website of the city of Dresden, Germany. It says that Oskar Richter was a wealthy merchant (optical and measuring instruments) who had sponsored a new church near Dresden where himself and his wife had moved in 1878.
Several models are known with cardinals either in German (N-O-S-W) or in Russian. The city name was engraved in Russian language in two versions: 'Petrograd' or 'Peterburg').

Picture courtesy (anonymous)

Picture courtesy sieur25

Picture courtesy M. V. Berdyev


PROFILE - David RITTENHOUSE was a U.S. manufacturer in the 18th c. He is famous for having been the supplier of survey materiel to George Washington. The picture shows a compass engraved 'Go. Washington / Mt Vernon' (his estate's location). The dial is signed Rittenhouse & Potts. The Smithsonian Institution's museum displays a similar instrument online
Picture at right: this compass was displayed on the occasion of the 1939 World Fair in New York (click on image for detail view).


PROFILE - K. Rode was a manufacturer locatd in Saint-Petersburg (in Russian К. Роде, Санкт-Петербургъ - picture at rightcourtesy M. W. Berdyev). Rode Works operated from 1815 till the Bolshevik's Revolution on November 1917. Rode was a maker of instruments for Military Topography Division, ministry of Transportation, Chief Engineers' Directorate and Russian Geographical Society.
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Rospini was the name of two brothers (Brüder or Gebrüder in German, abbrev. Br. or Gebr.), Andreas Carl (1811-1867) and Carl Joseph (1816-1887), sons of Andreas Rospini (formerly Rospino from Como, Italy). They were instruments makers in Graz, Austria written Gratz until the early 20th century.
Carl Joseph Rospini who died in 1861 ran a shop in Vienna (pic. at right) was the son of Joseph ROSPINI (1767-1832), a brother of Andreas.
In the German-speaking countries like the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Saxony, angles used to be measured in mines with compasses graduated in 24 hours each subdivided into 8 units (about 2 degrees precision) or 2 x 12 h and 16 units (see STUDER and BREITHAUPT), i.e. the precision was thus better than 1 degree.
The compass displayed in the first row is the oldest one known and thus probably made around 1830 (cardinals in Latin).
The other one features a clinometer (see also FENNEL and MORIN) and a double scale (360° + 24h) where each hour is divided into 15 units thus exactly matching the degrees (24 x 15 = 360).

Miner's compass : can be hung at wires in mine galleries (comp. to SECRÉTAN).


The case lid's rim is decorated with garlands and flowers (click on pic. above left for detail view).
The suspension can be folded and stowed into a special recess.
Technical Data
- Dim. (dia. x thickness): 3 58" x 38" (93 x 13mm)
- Weight (compass): 10 ozs. (300g)
- Divisions: 24 h, each comprising 8 units, counter clockwise (for detail view of the divided circle click HERE)
- Cardinals: Latin (s. MISCELLANEOUS / Cardinal pts.)
- Needle transit lock: tiny sliding lock in a recess under the case body (link to pic.)
- Case material: wood lined on the outside with decorated leather, inside with shammy.

Pictures courtesy D. Geras
Technical Data
- Clinometer with swivel-out lever
- Divisions: 360 deg. and 24 hours with 15 units each, counter-clockwise (see pic. below and menu point Miscellaneous / Divisions / Hours)
- Dim. (dia. x thickness): 2 58" x 316" (67 x 10mm)

Pictures courtesy Cl. Hollmann
Compass in a wooden casing with sliding lid (compare to the French Morin models)
Technical Data

- Clinometer
- Divisions: 360 deg and 24 hrs, each divided into 15 units
- Dia of compass and side length of wooden casing: 105 mm and 125 mm
Note the indication W(est) and O (Ost = east) together with the opposite cardinal engraved below like in most US surveyors' compasses. The uppercase letters W and O represent the real position of the cardinal point in space. The word written below indicates to which direction you are looking when you hold the compass in front of you using the 0 (north) to aim at a point and rotate away from north ! The needle is then moving into the western sector but indicates an easterly angle value.
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PROFILE - Camille Rossignol was a French officer and weaponsmith (for his resumee, click HERE).
He patented two compass systems. The first one is only known by the official announcement (no. 167,980, 4 Oct. 1885), Boussole militaire devant servir à diriger les troupes et au levé des plans - Military compass for leading troops and survey tasks). The second one, (no. 238,313, 5 May 1894) Boussole militaire perfectionnée - Improved mil. compass. Its unusual design features a boom with the rear part of the sight and two rulers. The sight's rear part is a notch in the fitting of the marching course setting screw. The right-hand side ruler is a distance measuring scale (1:80.000). The left side features a ruler in millimeter. The zero reference of both rulers is located in the compass' center, so that the divisions read 40 to 100 mm and respectively 3 to 8 km. The compass capsule can rotate. It has a transparent bottom made of horn and a cross, one arm of which being painted black. For taking a bearing, one has to observe in the mirror the magnetic needle and turn the capsule until the black cross arm lies under the North pointer. The compass was delivered with a leather pouch and a wooden box.
Pic. at r.:
Chef-Armurier (Chief weaponsmith)
Bté SGDG (Patented)

Top: leather pouch, ruler left side

Bottom: wooden case

On some items, the surface has been intentionally scratched so that the chromated protection doesn't betray the user's position through light reflexion.
The Magnetic needle and the black cross arm. On the capsule's base plate are divisions engraved which make it possible to take the magnetic declination into account.

Serial no. on the rear sight


The mirror automatically stops at an angle of 45° by means of a spring and a triangular cam.

The distance measuring ruler with scale 1:80.000 (French milit. maps)

Technical Data
- Dimensions:
140 x 55 x 18 mm
- Weight: 115 gr
- Compass case: brass, nickel-coated
- Ground plate: horn, transparent
- Divisions: 360° clockwise
- Serial No. : 168
- Copies of patent, user's instructions and manual (fac simile) can be ordered as well as of the following booklet:

The original version (w/o no.) features a clinometer and a side screw:

(Click on images for compared views)

Drwg. at r.: from the Art. Conduite des colonnes en marche, in Revue du Cercle Militaire, 1889

Technical Data
(differences to the current model)
- Overall length: 15,8 mm (approx 6 in), ruler graduated up to 12,5 mm (5 in) on left side, scale 1:80,000 on right side to read distances up to 10 km on military maps.
- Graduation (360°) in capsule, clinometer pointer arrow-shaped, red lines at 45° angle between the centre cross bars.
- Rear sight with slot and plane face to apply the clinometre on flat surface.
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ROST, R. & A.

PROFILE - R. & A. was an Austrian manufacturer located in Vienna (Wien)

Picture courtesy cashinthetaesch2009

Divisions: 360 degrees and 24 hours
(see Rospini above)
(Click on the pictures for enlarged views)

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