Aultz Co. manufacturer of Ship Compasses : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

We recently found a ships compass and when we cleaned it up, we found engraved in the rim of the compass "The aultz Co., San Franciso".

Could you provide me with any information on this company or it's owners. If not, can you suggest where I might be able to find information on a business that once operated in San Francisco. The company would have been in business more than 40 years ago, and could easily have been 60 years or more.

Thank you for any help. Norma

-- Norma Lunsford (, December 16, 2002


give a clue as to how many letters might preceed "aultz".

Love a mystery.

-- Humph! (, December 22, 2002.

Perhaps the company might be called A. Lietz Co.? The A. Lietz Co. manufactured surveying and nautical instruments to include drawing equipment and was located solely in San Francisco. I have in my possession, a 1911-1912 catalog that describes in length the foundry/ machineshop/instrumentation shops that were located at 632-634 Commercial St., San Francisco, California. The company was founded in 1882 and the catalog has wonderful etchings/photos of the building before and after the fire of 1906. I have no idea as to the status of the company today but the carpenters level (transit without the compass card) my great-grandfather bought from them still works perfectly today.

-- will (, April 07, 2003.

an update...


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

-- will (, January 26, 2004.

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