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1867 - K&E founded by William J. D. Keuffel & Herman Esser at 79 Nassau St., Manhattan.

            Sold drawing materials and drafting tools. William J. D. Keuffel president until 1908.


1868 - First catalog published.


1869 - First production of their own hard rubber curves and triangles.


1870 - Moved to, and began manufacturing at 116 Fulton St.


1871 - K&E starts manufacturing in Dutch Street, New Your City.


1873 - Store established at 111 Fulton St., soon expanded to include 119 Fulton St.


1875 - Manufacturing moved to Third and Grand Streets, Hoboken, NJ.


1876 - Instruments added to sales line. Most likely these were made by

            Stackpole & Brother Instruments.

            First of the K&E Steel Tapes made.


1878 - Showroom and offices added at 127 Fulton Street and 42 Ann Street.


1880 - New factory built at Third and Adams, Hoboken, NJ. First slide rules imported.


1884 - Second factory built. Opened on January 24th 1885


1885 - First surveying instruments to be manufactured by K&E.  


1891 - First slide rules using Cox's duplex construction manufactured by K&E.

            Chicago Branch established.


1892 - K&E added 4 more stories to their building at 127 Fulton Street making it 8 stories high.

            First K&E catalog in Spanish was published.


1894 - St. Louis Branch, MO. established.


1900 - San Francisco, CA. Branch established. Second and third factory buildings added.


1902 - Herman Esser retires.


1905 - Fire at Adams Street Iron Foundry destroys part of K&E factory.


1907 - New factory built at Hoboken, NJ.


1908 - Montreal, Canada Branch established. On October 1st founder  William J. D. Keuffel dies.


1908 to 1942   W. G. Keuffel as president (son of the founder).


1916 - First Glass for optics made by K&E.


1918 - Young & Sons Inc. of Philadelphia, PA purchased by K&E and moved in 1922 to Hoboken, NJ.

            Young and Sons Department established at the end of 1922 with totally new designs of Instruments

            that were less expensive to produce, and serial numbers were then numbered in the K&E sequence.

           Young & Sons Incorporated, by Alfred C. Young March 17 1917. Alfred C. Young died May 1918.

           Young & Sons Incorporated, by K&E  January 2 1920. Young & Sons Inc. dissolved Jan 3 1920.

           Somewhere in low 12,000s serial numbers markings changed from Young & Sons Inc.

           to  Keuffel & Esser Y&S Dept., but still with old Young & Sons Inc. serial number sequence.

           Young & Sons Inc. is listed in Philadelphia Directories through 1921 with Max Montzne ( sp?) as manager.

           Young & Sons Inc. Dissolved, by K&E  Dec 20 1921.


1935 - K&E Research and Testing Laboratories reorganized, centralized and enlarged.


1936 - Detroit, MI.  Branch established.


1939 - Los Angeles, CA Branch established.


1941 - K&E enters wartime programs and greatly expands production.


1942 to 1946  C. M. Bernegau as president.


1944 - K&E builds copies of the Wild T-2 for the US Military.


1946 - K&E builds first 10 second optically read theodolite

            prototype for US Army, but not put into production,

            only one made and not marked. PHOTOS


1946 to 1951 Karl Keuffel as president.


1949 - Optical Tooling Instruments line introduced. K&E introduces P5087 Paragon

            10 second Direction Theodolite which the circles are optically read.


1950 to 1961 C. W. Keuffel as president.


1956 - 1962 - New six digit model numbers are introduced replacing the 4 digit model numbers.


1958 - K&E begins major expansion of R&D in optics, electronics and chemistry.


1959 - K&E Optics and Metrology Division established.


1960 - New wing of K&E central chemistry laboratory opened.


1961 to ?       A. E. Busch  as president


1961 - K&E enters audio and visual field and increases photogrammetry.


1962 - The DECILON slide rule introduced.

            Sitemarker Instruments made by David White Corp. Labeled as K&E appear in catalog.


1965 - Corporation went public listed on NASDAQ.


1967 - New Home Office and Research Center built at Morristown NJ.

            Assembly of instruments and photo reproduction continues.


1967 - All instrument manufacturing began at K&E subsidiary of York Products Corp.,

            Kennebunk, ME. Assembly was done at Morristown, NJ


1969 - Optical tooling production at Teterboro, NJ.


1974 - K&E builds optically read "Degree Theodolite" prototype for the US Army,

            only a small number produced.


1982 - K&E bankrupt files chapter 11


1982 - Azon buys Paper product line from K&E and ownership of all K&E Trademarks.


1982 - Kratos Corp. buys the facility at Morristown, NJ. Optical Tooling Instruments

            and some Surveying Instruments continued to be made for a short time. Vectron 

            electronic theodolites produced. Kratos Corp. leases K&E name and trademarks

            from Azon Corp.


1986 - Cubic Precision Corp. buys Optical Tooling line from Kratos Corp. and

            moves all production to Teterboro, NJ. Leases K&E name and trademarks

            from Azon Corp. All production stops at Morristown, NJ.


1997 - Brunson Instrument Corp. buys Optical Tooling line from Cubic Precision

            drops all K&E trademarks and renames the company Brunson New Jersey.

            They move all manufacturing to Kansas City, KS. Dropping some of their line

            of optical tooling in favor of that as produced by Cubic Precision. Assembly

            of  products and repairs continues at Teterboro, NJ. In April 2007 the

            Teterboro, NJ plant closed.

            Brunson's web site: http://www.brunson.us/


           All K&E trademarks and name are still owned by Azon Corporation.


Copyrighted a 2005 Robert Parrish, 271 Allman Hill Rd. Weaverville, NC 28787-8510




Please look at this: A very fine 1903 K&E Expedition Transit


Please look at this one of a kind theodolite. PHOTOS


Find K&E catalog scans here: www.surveyantiques.com 

Find K&E Serial Numbers here: http://www.surveyhistory.org  

Find K&E Slide Rule Information here: http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/ke-sliderule.html

Find more K&E information here: http://www.mccoys-kecatalogs.com/
K&E User Instruction Manual PDF File Keuffel_Esser_Care_And_Adjustments.pdf

K&E 1900 Catalog PDF File esser1900.pdf

K&E 1921 Catalog PDF File 1921 K&E.pdf
K&E 1904 Forestry Catalog PDF File 1904-instrumentsForForestWork-ne.pdf



Copyright date      Known Catalog      Edition                      

 1870  1870  





 1876 - 123 pages





































































1903 pocket ed.






1906 pocket ed.



1909 pocket ed.



1909 hard cover






























1937 ( 96 pages )















1949   2 Vol. set






1954   1 or 2 Vol. set






1962 Loose leaf  binder.

Separate catalogs

for each year or changes.









 Email to:  Robert Parrish   robert@antiquesurveying.com