Instrument Makers: Frederick J. Emmerich

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Article taken from "Backsights" Magazine published by Surveyors Historical Society


by Dale Beeks

January 1994


A surveyors vernier compass carrying a name previously unlisted in Charles Smarts' The Makers of Surveying Instruments in America Since 1700, has recently surfaced in Pennsylvania. The instrument is signed "Fr. J. Emmerich N.Y.". The brass mainplate measures 15" in length with two 6 1/4" sight vanes, a 5" jeweled-pivot flat needle, two level vials, a top-mounted directly-threaded slow motion tangent screw and a 25-degree variation index which measures by vernier directly to 30 minutes. The compass ring is engine-divided and graduated in quadrants. The silvered compass face is marked in the appropriate layout with East to the left of North.

Frederich J. Emmerich, who immigrated from Germany in 1848, appears in the New York Directories in 1851/52 as an importer. In 1856/57 he is listed in the business directory with Gr. Vila as importers and manufacturers of optical, mathematical and surveyors instruments. Emmerich continued in business until 1881/1882. This is the only existing instrument recorded which carries the name of Fr. J. Emmerich, New York.




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