Milestones of Kern & Co. AG


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Since Kern & Co. AG, Aarau is also related to Wild Heerbrugg and I also collect Kern instruments I will give you also a overview about there history.

And on the following page will I give you some information how to date your Kern instrument:
How old is my Kern instrument

Date Action / Milestones
Founding of Mechanische Werkstätte  "Jakob Kern" Aarau, Switzerland Jakob Kern (August 17, 1790 - February 4, 1867)
The first items produced were drawing instruments.
(This picture came from the first pricing brochure)

Later, he became well known for his geodetic and astronomical instruments:
This theodolite was purchased in 1835 by the well known General Dufour, who made the first triangulation survey in  Switzerland.
New location: Ziegelrain, Aarau:

The two sons of Jakob Kern joined the firm. 
Adolf Kern-Saxer (1826-1896)
Drawing Instruments
Emil Kern-Rychner (1830-1898)
Surveying Instruments
1863 Jakob Kern retired from business 
1885 Adolf Kern retired from the business and his son Heinrich Kern  (1857-1934) assumed management responsibility for the firm.  
1885 new name: Kern & Co.
1897   Emil Kern retired from business
1914  foundation of a company: Kern & Co. AG 
1.June 1920 New location: Schachen, Aarau  (1920 and 1979)
1933 Heinrich Kern retired from business
His son Walter Kern  (*1888) was
managing the firm. 
1945 The first subsidiary firm formed in the USA. Others were formed in 1972 in Canada; 1976 in Brazil and Denmark.
1961 Peter Kern, 5th generation family member, (1921-    ) joined the board of directors.
13.May 1988 Merged with the Wild Leitz group.
1991 After over 170 years, the company Kern & Co. Ltd. Aarau closes

Thanks to the initiative of a group of farsighted people in 1988, a valuable collection of historical instruments and equipment, business and development files, drawing sets, production and advertising material was passed to the City Museum Schlössli in Aarau.


The "collection Kern" as the estate of a once successful, global industrial company is an important part of the history of technical and industrial culture.


After an extensive renovation of the premises of the civil defence building, close to the Schlössli Aarau, the "Kern study collection" was opened to the public.


Now they also have a website: (a click on the Logo will lead you to there site)



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