• A. Lietz

    A. Lietz

    The A. Lietz Company was established in 1882 in San Francisco by Adolphus Lietz. They manufactured their own instruments up to 1947 after which they became distributor for Sokkia / Sokkisha.

  • Ahrend / Ahrin

    Ahrend / Ahrin

    Trading company established by Jacobus Ahrend in 1896. Though they mainly traded instruments (for example from Wild Heerbrugg) they also traded some under their own name such as tape measures and simple levels.

  • Air instruments Inc

    Air instruments Inc

    Company located in Boston, Massachusets

  • Ajax Engineering Co.

    Ajax Engineering Co.

    The Ajax Engineering Co. was based in Chicago Illinois. During WWII they produced stadimeters for the US Maritime Commission. 

  • American Paulin

    American Paulin

    American subsidiary that manufactured the Paulin System barometer as developed in Sweden by Joshua Gabriel Paulin. First patent was received in 1919 and first instrument catalogue found 1929. The company moved in 1977 and had an internet page which is now '404'. It seems to have existed at least into the 1990's.

  • Apelco


    Marine electronics company from New Hampshire, US. They were taken over by Raytheon in 1958. The brand is no longer on the market but is now part of Raymarine.

  • Astromedia Verlag

    Astromedia Verlag

    Company that produces paper kits of astronomic and measuring tools.

  • Black + Decker

    Black + Decker

    American tool manufacturer established in 1910 by Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker. The company merged with Stanley Works in 2010 to become Stanley Black and Decker

  • Bosun


    Unknown brand of instruments. Probably linked to Tamaya based on characteristics of their sextants.

  • Brand Fréres

    Brand Fréres

    The company 'Brand Freres' seems to have been started by the brothers Antoine and Julien Brand in 1842 as makers of Daguerotypes. In 1843 they started with photography. Locally they were known as the 'Opticiens to the king' - Opticiens du Roi. In 1861 the studio was closed and in 1906 the company went out of business. 

  • Butenschon


    Georg Butenschon was a German geodetic instrument maker operating around 1900. He was located in Barenfeld near Hamburg.

  • C. Lewert

    C. Lewert

    German company, based in Berlin, who produced amongst others telegraph / field telephone equipment as well as gun clinometers. No exact information is available but based on research the company was founded in 1800. In 1894 the company was taken over by Robert Held and merged with C.Lorentz.

  • C. Plath

    C. Plath

    C.Plath was founded by David Filby in Hamburg in 1837. In 1862 the firm was sold to Carl Christian Plath. In 1997 the company was merged with Decca Marine and Sperry Marine into Sperry Marine. The name changed in 2000 to Sperry Marine. The brand name still exists for the manufacture of magnetic compasses.

  • Carac


    Carac Industry Co of Japan. 

  • Cary


    William Cary started trading instruments in 1789. The firm was led by various members of the Cary familiy untill taken over in 1852 by Charles Gould who at that time was already working at the firm. That family then led the firm untill 1865 when Henry Porter, who probably also worked at the firm earlier, took over the firm untill his death in 1902. His sons then took over the business till it stopped somewhere in the 1920s as it was reported to no longer exist in 1931.

  • Central Scientific Company

    Central Scientific Company

    Started in 1900 in Chicago, Illinois it created scientific and educational equipment untill 2000.

  • Charvoz


    Charvoz, not to be confused with Charvoz-Roos, the short-lived slide rule manufacturer in New Jersey, made sets of drawing instruments in West Germany in the second half of the 20th century.

  • Chesterman &Co

    Chesterman &Co

    Firm was established by James Chesterman in 1821 as Bow Works in Sheffield. In 1892 Chesterman was established as a private company. In 1945 the company went public to merge with John Rabone and Sons in 1961. The business was taken over by Stanley in 1990. The Sheffield factory was closed in 2008.

  • Consolidated Instrument corp

    Consolidated Instrument corp

    American company based in Michigan. Listing can be found on the internet but is no longer active.

  • Cooke Hull

    Cooke Hull

    B.Cooke and Son was established by Barnard Cooke in 1863 in Hull. In 1918 it was briefly part of Henry Hughes and Son untill it was bought by the then manager, Stacey Dickinson in 1922. The company is still owned by the Dickinson family and still sells nautical instruments.

  • Cooke Troughton Simms

    Cooke Troughton Simms

    English instrument making company formed in 1922 by the merger of Cooke and Sons with Troughton and Simms. It became part of Vickers in 1924 and stopped trading in 1988.

  • Cruver Mfg Co

    Cruver Mfg Co

    The Cruver Manufacturing Company was located in Chicago, Illinois.

  • David White Co

    David White Co

    David White and Co was established in 1895 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They make survey equipment and during WWII they also made nautical euipment such as sextants and station pointers. The brand still exists but is now part of Sitepro.

  • Davis Instruments

    Davis Instruments

    Davis Instruments is a maker from the USA who specializes in relatively simple, mainly plastic, instruments for, amongst others, the marine environment. 

  • de Koningh

    de Koningh

    Dutch instrument maker from Arnhem. The firm was established in 1902 but stopped producing optical instruments at some point in time. At least in the 1950s they had a branch in Amsterdam and some instruments are labeled with both Arnhem and Amsterdam. The firm still exists as supplier of medical systems and advanced tecnological systems.

  • Decca Navigator Co

    Decca Navigator Co

    The Decca Navigator Co of London was established in 1945 as a subsidiary of the Decca Record company. Decca became one of the foremost navigation systems and may spin offs were developed. In the 1980s the company was taken over by Racal. At the same time the patents expired allowing other companies to enter the market. Racal Decca could not generate enough income anymore from Decca.

  • Dillon Beck Mfg Co

    Dillon Beck Mfg Co

    The Dillon Beck Manufacturing Corporation was started by Dillon somewhere in the late 1930s or early 40s in Irvington New Jersey. The company manufactured various products from plastic, amongst others fishing lure.

  • E.R. Watts and Son

    E.R. Watts and Son

    Established in 1856 in London by Edwin Watts. Produced survey instruments untill 1948 when the company merged with Adam Hilger to become Hilger and Watts.

  • Ebbco


    The East Berks Boat Company or Ebbco in short was established in 1966 in Henley on Thames.

  • Ed Sprenger

    Ed Sprenger

    Ed Sprenger was started in 1867 in Berlin and is a metal construction company. However, at some point in time they also made (surveying) instruments. They are still operational and a relatively small firm with less than 20 employees.

  • Einson Freeman Co

    Einson Freeman Co

    Game publisher between c1930 and c1950. Company was based on Long Island City, New Jersey. During WWII they made 'educational' navigation games and instruments.

  • Electronic Laboratories

    Electronic Laboratories

    Manufacturer of radio equipment from Poole, UK. Also produced under the seafarer brand.

  • Elliot Brothers

    Elliot Brothers

    Firm established by Williman Elliot in 1804. They produced optical instruments and after WWII were important in the development of the computer in Great Britain. In 1967 they were taken over and eventually became part of GEC.

  • Ertel & Sohn

    Ertel & Sohn

    German makers of mathematical instruments. The company was established in 1821 by Traugott Leberecht von Ertel in Munchen. The company was liquidated in 1984.

  • ESP Ltd.

    ESP Ltd.

    Electronic Surveying Products Ltd.

  • F. Barker and Son

    F. Barker and Son

    British instrument maker located in Edenbridge, Kent. Started in 1848. It became a Limited company in 1932 and is still actively registered. It is mentioned that it stopped trading in 1986.

  • Faber Castell

    Faber Castell

    Faber-Castell was founded in 1761 at Stein near Nuremberg by cabinet maker Kaspar Faber (1730–84) as the A.W. Faber Company, and is still in the family. The company is well-known for making drawing materials such as pencils.

  • Fairchild Aviation

    Fairchild Aviation

    Company started in 1920 as the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation. In 1927 they became part of Fairchild Aviation Corporation, a large manufacturer of aircraft and associated items. In 1944 they became the Fairchild Camera and Instrumentation Company. The company was independent as Fairchild Semiconductor untill 1979. After that the company was broken up into different parts, some absorbed by Lockheed, others by BAE.

  • G Mattheys

    G Mattheys


  • G. Coradi

    G. Coradi

    G. Coradi was established in Zurich in 1880. They were best known for their planimeters

  • Garmin


    Company making GPS and GPS related instruments.Originally started in 1989 in Lenaxa by Gary Burrel and Min Kao as ProNav, the company later changed its name to the first three letters of the names of their starters and became thus GarMin or Garmin. Since 2010 the company is headquartered in switzerland

  • H. Haecke

    H. Haecke

    Herman Haecke traded at Berlin (1816-1885) and Neukölln, Berlin (1905-1914) in Germany. The name is both of the founder as well as the company (which kept the name).

  • Haff


    Gebruder Haff is a company that started in 1835and manufacturs drawing instruments. They still exist.

  • Heath & Wing

    Heath & Wing

    Heath and Wing were instrument and book sellers in the mid 18th century in London. They were succeeded by Thomas Newman.

  • Heath and Co

    Heath and Co

    Instrument makers of New Eltham, London. Started by Heath in 1845. Became part of W.F. Stanley in 1937. Traded their instruments under the Hezzanith brand.

  • Hemisferium


    Hemisferium, Antique Scientific Instruments, re-creates models of antique instruments.

  • Henry Browne and Son

    Henry Browne and Son

    Henry Browne and Son were instrument makers who specialized in compasses. Their brand name was Sestrel which was sold before WWII. In the 80's they were taken over by John Lilley and Gillie. During these years they were merged with Observator as Sestrel Observator. In 1993 Sestrel Observator was sold to Kelvin Hughes.

  • Henry Hughes and Son

    Henry Hughes and Son

    The firm of Henry Hughes & Sons was founded in 1828 in London and was incorporated in 1903. They traded many instruments under the brand name 'Husun'. In 1935 S. Smith & Sons Ltd took a controlling interest in the company and instruments traded under both the name of Hughes and Sons as well as Smith Instruments. During WWII a joint venture, Marine Instruments, was founded together with Kelvin, Bottomlye & Baird Ltd. In 1947 the company merged with Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland to become Kelvin Hughes.

  • Hewlett Packard

    Hewlett Packard

    The firm now famous for computers and printers once also sold surveying equipment (and high grade calculators).

  • Hilger and Watts

    Hilger and Watts

    Hilger and Watts emerged from te merger of Adam Hilger, James Swift and Son and E.R. Watts and Sons in 1948. In 1968 they were acquired by Taylor, Taylor and Hobson (part of Rank Precision Industries). They also traded under the 'Cowley' brand.

  • Hopkins Manufacturing

    Hopkins Manufacturing

    Located in Emporia, Kansas


  • Ilon Industries

    Ilon Industries

    Small company located in New Hempstead that developed novelty navigation equipment.

  • Irion & Vosseler

    Irion & Vosseler

    German company established in 1910, manufacturer of counters and other automation. Merged with IVO to Baumer IVO.

  • J. Coombes

    J. Coombes

    Optician, instrument maker and Admiralty agent from Devonport UK

  • JH Steward

    JH Steward

    James Henry Steward was a London optician with a shop at the Strand. The business was founded in 1852 and produced instruments for military and surveying. The company went out of business in 1975.

  • John Bruce and Sons

    John Bruce and Sons

    Opticians and nautical instrument manufacturers based in Liverpool

  • Kelvin Hughes

    Kelvin Hughes

    Kelvin Hughes was formed in 1947 by the merger Henry Hughes & Son Ltd, and Kelvin Bottomley & Baird Ltd as part of Smith's Industries (later Smiths Group). The acquired Lokata (1990), Brown and Perring (1994), Observator (1994) and QUBIT (1994). In 2007 they became independent again under first the ownership of ECI partners and from 2017 onwards by ECI Partners.

  • Kent


    Kent Industrial Measurements Ltd was started as George Kent Group in 1891 by Robert W. Paul. In 1974 they combined with Brown Bovery and Company (BBC) which in 1979 they became Kent Industrial Measurments Ltd. In 1988 BBC (and thus Kent) merged with Asea into Asea Brown Bovery or ABB.

  • Keuffel and Esser

    Keuffel and Esser

    The Keuffel and Esser Co., (or K & E), was  founded in 1867 William J. D. Keuffel and Herman Esser. In 1982 they went bankrupt with the trademarks purchased by AZON.

  • Kollsman Insrument

    Kollsman Insrument

    Company founded by Paul Kollsman (1900 - 1982) which specialized in avionics. The company was established in 1928 and became Elbit Systems.

  • KVH


    Started in 1982 by the brothers Kits van Heyningen in Middletown. Specialized in marine equipment such as digital compasses and satellite communications.

  • Lafayette Instruments

    Lafayette Instruments

    Lafayette instruments was based in New York. Yoder instruments of East Palestine (Ohio) was affiliated to it. They made educational instruments.

  • Laserline Mfg

    Laserline Mfg

    American manufacturer of laser equipment, based in Oregon.

  • Lefevbre Poulin

    Lefevbre Poulin

    Poulin made sextants in the second half of the 20th century in Montrouge in the south-west suburbs of Paris.

  • Linex


    Originally Danish brand established in 1935 to produce drawing materials. Became part of Bantex in 1993

  • Link Aviation Devices

    Link Aviation Devices

    Company that became famous with the Link Trainer between 1930 and 1950. The company was started by Ed Link. In the 1980s the company became part of a series of other companies and is now part of L3 Communications.

  • Lomvum


    Chinese manufacturer of measuring instruments

  • Lufkin


    Lufkin is a brand of the Apex group, manufacturers of measuring devices. The products are today marketed under the 'Crescent tools - Lufkin' brand. Their production facilities were located in Ontario, Canada.

  • Mechanism Ltd

    Mechanism Ltd

    Also known as Makers Mechanism, the firm was started probably in the 1930s and made scientific instruments in Croydon. They seem to have been active until 1963 after which they were taken over by Negretti and Zambra.

  • Mercer


    Famous chronometer maker, the company was established by Thomas Mercer in 1858 untill the company ceased business in 1984. Later they started making gauges as well as chronometers.

    In 2012 the brand was revived as a manufacturer of exclusive chronometers.

  • Mergenthaler Linotype

    Mergenthaler Linotype

    The Mergenthaler Linotype company was founded in 1886 and became famous with the production of typesetting equipment for printers. From the mid 1990's onwards the company was split up and merged with other companies.

  • Nooitgedagt


    Dutch maker of, mainly, wooden tools, toys and skates. Established in 1865, closed around 2000.

  • Observator


    Dutch company who started manufacturing thermometers and manometers in Rotterdam in 1924. In the 1950s they expanded into nautical instruments whilst in the 1980s hydrological and meteorological instruments were added. Since the mid 2000s the last range has become the main focus of the company which still exists.

  • Optikotechna


    Optical firm was founded in Czechoslovakia in 1933. During WWII they produced for the German Whermacht and after the war was renamed Meopta. First under USSR rule and after the fall of the USSR as a worldwide company they still produce optical equipment.

  • Ott


    Company started by Albert Ott (A.Ott) in Kempten (GE) as the Mathematical-Mechanical Institut A.Ott. The company specialized in instrumentation to measure water levels and flow and is well known in the hydrographic world for their propellor current meters. They still make instruments to measure various properties of water, know known as Ott Hydromet.

  • Paul MacAlister

    Paul MacAlister

    Fully Paul McAlister and Associates, Paul MacAlister is / was a graphics designer from Lake Bluff in Illinois.

  • R. Reiss

    R. Reiss

    Company founded by Herman Robert Reiss in Bad Liebenwerda, Germany in 1886, first as retailer but in 1889 he started fabricating his own instruments. After WWII the company was part of the DDR and stopped making geodetic instruments in 1949. The company started to specialize in office furniture, something they still do now.

  • Riefler


    German firm founded in 1841 which specialized in drawing instruments.

  • Robert I Gordon

    Robert I Gordon

    Located in Mount Vernon, New York.

  • Scansys


    Scandinavian Micro Systems or Scansys was started in the 1980s and develops marine electronic systems.

  • Schick


    Started during the depression as the Schick Dry Shaver Company by Colonel Jacob Schick in Stamford, Connecticut. Employed 1000 persons in 1940 and adied the war effort during WWII by producing stadimeters of both the Fiske and sextant type.

  • Sercel (Spectra Precision)

    Sercel (Spectra Precision)

    One of the most complicated company (name) histories ever in the navigation industry. What is today part of Spectra Precision has a long history of companies and mergers. This company considers the direct line from Sercel to Spectra Precision (a Trimble company) and includes all the brands inbetween.

    The current Spectra Precision has multiple lines from respectable GNSS developers, The Sercel line starts in 1970 with radio navigation systems for navigation and surveying. They developed one of the first (succesfull) receivers for hydrographic surveying and pioneered Kinematic GNSS. In 1996 Sercel sells their radio navigation to Dassault and the brand becomes Dassault Sercel Navigation Positioning or DSNP.

    In 1999 DSNP becomes part of Thomson and in 2001 is renamed Thales Navigation. In 1999 Thales also acquires another great name in GNSS, Magellan wich by then has been merged with yet another great name from the early days, Ashtech. In 2006 the newly formed company is sold once again and becomes Magellan with the survey receivers named Magellan Professional. In 2009 the consumer Magellan products are sold (keeping the brand name) and in 2010 Magellan Professional becomes Ashtech (again). In 2011 Ashtech is sold to Spectra Precsion (part of Trimble). 

    As a result the three main competitors in GNSS from the early days (Sercel, Trimble and Ashtech) are now united under a single brand. The instruments however still show their origins.

  • Short & Mason

    Short & Mason

    Short & Mason (S&M) was founded in London in 1864 by Thomas Watling Short and William James Mason. Taylor Brothers acquired Short & Mason in 1900. In 1969 Short & Mason was merged into Taylor Instruments, a subsidiary of Sybron Corporation.

  • Siemens Brothers and Co

    Siemens Brothers and Co

    Electrical company that originated from the german Siemens family but became independent in 1864. They were originally mainly involved in electrical and telegraph equipment but started production of other instruments around WWI. In 1955 they became part of the greater Siemens conglomerate again

  • Silva


    Silva is a Swedish compass maker established in 1928. They are famous for their yachting and hiking compasses.

  • Skandia


    Introduced in 1975 by Ankor as a quality brand.

  • Smiths Aircraft Instruments

    Smiths Aircraft Instruments

    One of four divisions of S. Smiths Group, a British multinational which owned Henry Hughes and Son as well as Kelvin and Hughes up to 2007.

  • Stabila


    German manufacturer of measuring equipment. Started in 1889 in Annweiler Pfalz in Germany.

  • Stanley London

    Stanley London

    British firm started by W.F. Stanley in London who produced drawing and surveying instruments. They acquired Heath in 1937 and became part of the Sime Darby group around 1977 finally stopping business in 1999.

    It is probably the most replicated (or better, faked) brand with many (yellow brass) instruments being sold as 'Stanley London' 1920. These replica's are not working and are just nice paperweights in my opinion. My instruments are, as far as I can tell, genuine.

  • Stanley Tools

    Stanley Tools

    American tool company founded in 1843 by Frederick Stanley New Britain, Connecticut. Nowadays part of Black & Decker.

  • T. Cooke and sons

    T. Cooke and sons

    Founded in 1837 by Thomas Cook in York. Became part of Vickers in 1915 but kept operating under its own name untill the merger with Troughton and Simms in 1922 as Cooke Troughton and Simms.

  • Tamaya Technics

    Tamaya Technics

    Japanese maker of nautical instruments including sextants. The company started importing survey equipment in 1868 and then later started developing their own instruments. They started producing sextants in WWII; first assembling them using optical parts (telescopes) from C.Plath. Their sextants still have the same telescope fitting and mirror sizes as the Plath sextants. They still produce sextants today.

  • Tavernier Gravet

    Tavernier Gravet

    French company established in 1867 that produced primarily slide rules.

  • Technowa


    Probably from India

  • Things of Science

    Things of Science

    Things of Science was a science program which send a science kit out to its subscribers every month. It was launched by Science Service in 1940 and lasted until 1989.

  • Throughton & Simms

    Throughton & Simms

    Company started in 1826 when Edward Throughton partnered with William Simms. The company sexisted untill 1922 when it was joined with T.Cooke and Sons to become Cooke Troughton and Simms.

  • TomTom


    Dutch company started in 1991 as Palmtop by Peter-Frans Pauwels and Pieter Geelen. At first they made software for the Psion and Palm handhelds. In 2001 Harold Goddijn joined the company which switched names to TomTom and started developing car navigation systems. In 2007 TomTom bought TeleAtlas; they still produce navigation systems and the associated maps.

  • Trimble


    Trimble (Navigation) was founded in 1978 by Charles Trimble in Sunnyvale, California. The company is one of the largest suppliers of professional GNSS equipment.

  • US Naval Gun Factory

    US Naval Gun Factory

    The US Naval Gun Factory (or Washington Navy Yard) was established in 1800. During WWI and WWII it producted optical equipment. Instruments mainly came from the Optical Annex in Rochester NY.

  • van Essen

    van Essen

    Dutch manufacturer of water related instrumentation. The company was started in 1938 by Cornelis van Essen in Delft and is still active.

  • VEB Freiberger

    VEB Freiberger

    Freiberger has been a hallmark of precision engineering and manufacturing since 1771, when Gottlieb Friedrich Schubert was appointed "Bergmechanikus" (mining master mechanic) and founded an independent business to produce mining and metallurgy instruments in Freiberg, Saxony. The business expanded in scope and size, and a century later began industrial-scale production of instruments in a factory with 80 employees. In 1945, the Soviet Red Army occupied and partially dismantled the factory, leaving only 15 workers to continue the work on surveying instruments. 

    VEB Freiberger Präzisionsmechanik was founded as nationally-owned enterprise in 1950, expanding in size, personnel, and product line. The company has undergone privatization and re-establishment after the German Reunification, and stands now as FPM Holding GmbH. 

  • Vyner


    Company started by David J. Vyner in 1978. The company was dissolved in 2000. They were renowned for the tide gauges they produced.

  • W.Boosman


    De Firma W. Boosman is opgericht in 1836 in Amsterdam en maakte kompassen, theodolieten, octanten en sextanten voor de Nederlandse Handels Scheepvaart en voor de Koninklijke Marine. Het is niet bekend tot wanneer deze firma instrumenten heeft gemaakt; er zijn tot ca 1920 in ieder geval instrumenten bekend met deze naam. W. Boosman zelf is rond 1880 overleden.

  • W.L.Weissen



  • Weems and Plath

    Weems and Plath

    Company started by Captain Weems in the first half of the 20th century. Captain Weems developed nautical instruments and joined with C.Plath in 1928 to develop and distribute nautical intruments in the US. The company still exists today.

  • Welch Scientific Company

    Welch Scientific Company

    Established in 1880 in Maquoketa, IOWA. In 1906 the company moved to Illionois. In 1968 Welch merged with Sargent to become Sargent-Welch, a company that still produces scientific / educational instruments.

  • Western Electric

    Western Electric

    American electrical engineering and manufacturing company started in 1869 in Chicago, Illinois. Best known for its telecommunications equipment, in the early days they manufactured a great diversity of goods. It became defunct in 1997 but was reestablished as a manufacturer of audio equipment.

  • Wild Heerbrugg

    Wild Heerbrugg

    Founded in 1921 as "Heinrich Wild, Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Optik", then "Verkaufs-Aktiengesellschaft Heinrich Wild's Geodätische Instrumente", later "Wild Heerbrugg AG", later "Wild-Leitz". The company was linked with Leica in 1989, then it became part of Leica Holding B.V. Its subsidiary Leica Geosystems AG became part of the Swedish Hexagon AB Group of companies in 2005.

  • Wm. Ainsworth and Sons

    Wm. Ainsworth and Sons

    Makers of surveying insruments. Became Brunton through a series of takeovers.