Tag Archives: Pyser-SGI

Compasses made in Britain

Maps and compasses are still essential for navigation, even with GPS systems.

Silva compasses are widely recognised as a great bit of kit but they are Swedish.  Suunto compasses are fine too, but they are Finnish.  I would like to find British made compasses, but so far I can’t find the equivalent of a Silva compass that is made in the UK.

This is what I have found so far:

SIRS Navigationhttp://www.sirs.co.uk – Are manufacturers of avionic instruments, marine magnetic compasses and ground compasses – all their products are designed and manufactured in the UK. For example, their G150 hand-held marching compass (which was previously made by W. F. STANLEY & Co. Ltd) – this is a precision instrument and the price reflects that – This compass is supplied from BCB International.

Another compass maker is Pyser-SGI – http://www.pyser-sgi.com – They make the Francis Barker M73 and M88 liquid prismatic compasses, the Francis Barker NATO Survival Compass, and the Francis Barker Surveyors / Artillery prismatic compass.  Again this is precision equipment and has prices that reflect that.

Francis Barker NATO Survival Compass.  Made in the UK.

Francis Barker NATO Survival Compass. Made in the UK.

Pyser-SGI is also a British manufacturer and supplier of other precision optical and electro-optical equipment and optical components.  They are the only British manufacturer of night vision goggles and monoculars for land forces and they also make miniature cameras, night vision cameras, binoculars, graticules (reticles), measuring equipment, magnifiers (loupes), microscopes, micrometers, Broadcast and CCTV equipment, etc.  All manufacture is in the UK, but check what you are buying is British made, because they also sell products made by other companies.

This article is about British made compasses used as navigational instruments, but compass can also mean divider caliper (used to measure a distance between two points on a map or for marking out) or a drawing compass, and I would be interesting in finding British made dividers and drawing compasses too. Are there any British made GPS systems?

British made magnifying glasses, magnifiers and inspection mirrors

Gowlland Optical Limited make magnifiers and inspection mirrors, all made in England, very keenly priced and of top quality.  They make various chrome-plated and plastic pocket magnifiers (various magnifications) and watchmakers eye glasses, as well as various lengths, sizes and types of inspection mirrors (for looking under vehicles and so on).  They are available on Amazon, at Claritas Online and elsewhere.


Gowlland Inpection Mirrors.  Made in England.

Gowlland Inpection Mirrors. Made in England.

Gowlland New Light Magnifier #215.  Made in England.

Gowlland New Light Magnifier #215. Made in England.

Gowlland Compound Magnifier #1067A.  Made in England.

Gowlland Compound Magnifier #1067A. Made in England.

Gowland Watchmaker's Eyeglass #231.  Made in England.

Gowland Watchmaker’s Eyeglass #231. Made in England.

Gowlland Twin Magnifier #216.  Made in England.

Gowlland Twin Magnifier #216. Made in England.

Pyser-SGI make their Inspecta range of loupes (magnifiers) and magnified measuring scales in Britain and various other optical and electro-optical equipment including night vision goggles and monoculars, measuring equipment, and specialist optical & monitoring equipment for broadcasting and CCTV.  It says on their website that “all manufacturing is UK based in … two specialised factories in South East England’ – http://www.pyser-sgi.com

Pyser-SGI Measuring Magnifier MAG 6.  Made in Britain.

Pyser-SGI Measuring Magnifier MAG 6. Made in Britain.

Coil make some of their magnifying glasses and magnifiers in Slough in England, but it does not say which on their website. For example, the Coil 6262 Sliding Pocket Magnifiers are made in China. You will have to ask them if you are interested in a particular product or look at the packaging if you can find a retailer I guess.  There is a list of Coil distributers on their website. The Vision Enhancers website has a rather useful “what will I see with this product” feature.

H Roberts & Sons (D.I.) LTD sell search and detection, torque and metrology equipment, including inspection mirrors and bench magnifiers. They no longer seem to sell Roberts branded magnification equipment. Their bench magnifiers used to be made in the UK but I am unsure if this is still the case, so please check before purchase – http://www.hroberts-di.com

ACO Electronics specialises in the design and manufacture of equipment for the detection of counterfeit and forged documents, including search equipment, forgery detection equipment, magnifiers, ultra-violet lamps, infra-red document examination and fingerprint comparison equipment. Some of their products are made in the UK, for example all their ultraviolet desk lamps are manufactured by them in the UK, but please check before purchase. Non of the magnifiers ACO Electronics sell are made in the UK. Of their portable ultraviolet lamps only the battery powered UV-Illuminator and the mains powered UV-Illuminator II are manufactured in the UK – http://www.acoelectronics.com

http://www.deskaccessories.co.uk make magnifying glasses (handheld or with a stand) in brass in Wales and various other desk accessories – http://www.deskaccessories.co.uk

Other than the above it seems most other magnifiers, etc are now made abroad.  Does anyone know of any more magnifiers or magnifying glasses that are still made in Great Britain please?

Brushed Brass Magnifying Glass by www.deskaccessories.co.uk

Brushed Brass Magnifying Glass by www.deskaccessories.co.uk