Société des LunetiersSociété des Lunetiers was founded in 1849 and consisted of a number of instrumentmakers who started to work together in order to bundle their skills. According to the label on their theodolite in my collection and old catalogues they had their head office in Paris on 6 Rue Pastourelle (see figure 20).
They still exist today and are now known as Essilor, a manufacturer known of spectacle lenses, especially the Varilux, the first progressive lens ever conceived (1959). Essilor was founded in 1972, merged from Essel and Silor. The forerunner of Essel was the Fraternal Association of Ophthalmic Spectacle Makers, founded in 1849. They relied on a group of small Paris workshops until the end of the 1860s. The business developed by buying up workshops and factories whose owners then became "members" of Société des Lunetiers.1
Theodolites were manufactured in their manufacturing plant called "La Compasserie" (see figure 1), located in the east of France in Ligny-en-Barrois.1 The buildings along the river Ornain (see figure 2 and figure 19) are still part of the Essilor Group as its instruments manufacturing unit.1 At the time Société des Lunetiers had eight workshops around France; one at Paris, three at Ligny (Les Battants, La Compasserie and Le Moulin), one at St. Mihiel & Cousances, one at Songeons, one at Morez and one at Longueville (see figure 21).2
The photo's on above and adjacent postcards were taken from the Pont des Tanneries (figure 2, although the building seems to be slightly different now with a section even gone) and from the rapids east of de Pont des Tanneries (figure 1, here the buildings can be easily distinguished). Both were taken in a north-westerly direction and can now also be viewed in Google Earth's Streetview.
Instrument(s) in the collection
Notes: Historic details from Essilor website (last accessed May 2010) and their Public Relations department.
: Locations from a trade card in the collection of the former Geodesy faculty of the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands.
figure 1-figure 2, figure 22: private collection.
figure 3-figure 19: K.D. van Zijp.
figure 20: Jeannine Didier Thiriot.
If you have any questions and/or remarks please let me know.
Ahrend Askania Carl Zeiss Jena Chesterman Doyle & Son Jenoptik Jena Kern Aarau Keuffel & Esser Lerebours SAT-SAGEM Secrétan à Paris Société des Lunetiers Tibaut Desimpelaere Wild Heerbrugg