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thorin6

Vietnam Era Compass 6-1957

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Is anyone familiar with this compass manufacturer? My understanding of the Airguide Instrument Company is that they won a US Military contract to make these compasses in 1953, but I don't know how long and how many. The company made compasses and other instruments for some years, then has been bought and sold a couple of times. I don't know if it came in the case shown, as I may have put the two together some years ago. Appreciate any information and comments.

 

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Compass top and face. The clear plastic has clouded up a bit. There is no tritium in this compass (at least the backside is completely blank).

 

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donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gif





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I am not familiar with the manufacturer but it looks to be a nice set!

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I think you should look to see how many compasses were contracted by fee and stemwedel. I believe it would help provide for part of your answer as I suspect that the contract was carried over when Fee sold his share of the company to Stemwedel. They are one of the more uncommon makers of the M1950 compass but they don't seem to command any better price than a regular compass. Most people want the Lionel train company version or the early radio active type. I think 6 and 7-57 are the only months I've noticed. Shortly thereafter the government started ordering the radio active compasses. I do not believe Airguide made any of those. Their dash mounted car and boat compasses were very popular in the late 50's and 60's.

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My 1959 Waltham, which was obtained directly from the army in new condition, has a radiation hazard sticker on the back. I have never seen such a sticker on other GI compasses. Was this an unusual thing, or did the stickers just get worn off with use?

 

I noticed the '57 Airguide in the photo has some dulling on the lens. I am beginning to see this on my compass. Is this surface scratching, or interior fogging? I am thinking the former might be treatable with the polishing compound one uses to brighten up automobile headlight covers.

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I'm not sure when the Army started using Tritium to illuminate the compass at night, but all compasses that have the Tritium in them had the radiation warnings on the backside. As for the clouding of the lens, I believe it is due to the aging of the lens and not fogging or scratches. Which is to say, short of replacing the lens there may be nothing you can do to improve it. Others may want to weigh in on this.


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gif





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I am afraid you are correct. After I thought about it, I realized this compass has had virtually no real use, so I doubt if scratches are the issue.

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