Dating of Kern instruments is sometimes difficult because of two mainly reasons:
- pre 1900, instruments like levels and theodolites did not have serial numbers
- on drawing sets, they also used old items with old logos in newer sets (I have a set where they used logos from three periods ...)
So if your instrument has a serial number I might be able to tell you the approximately production date.
pre 1900: no serial number (first registered serial number is 16615 from Jan.16. 1899)
- 1900 17'000
- 1910 19'500
- 1920 23'500
- 1930 27'500
- 1940 30'500
- 1950 40'000
- 1960 73'000
- 1970 155'000
- 1980 220'000
If not, you might use the following overview over there company logos to date your instrument:
(based on my drawing sets and brochures)
I divide them mainly in six categories (all data are approximately since they used different logos in a single set to use up there stock):
1819 - 1885
" I. Kern à Aarau " EN SUISSE / Switzerland
1885 - 1914
1885 wurde Kern & Co. gegründet
Auf Reisszeugsets wird meisstens Kern & Cie à AARAU, EN SUISSE verwendet
1914 - 1926
Logos wurden etwas abgeändert
Jakob Kern retired from business
Adolf Kern retired from the business and his son Heinrich Kern (1857-1934) assumed management responsibility for the firm.
new name: Kern & Co.
Emil Kern retired from business
foundation of a company: Kern & Co. AG
June 1. 1920
New location: Schachen, Aarau (1920 and 1979)
Heinrich Kern retired from business
His son Walter Kern (*1888) was managing the firm.
The first subsidiary firm formed in the USA. Others were formed in 1972 in Canada; 1976 in Brazil and Denmark.
Peter Kern, 5th generation family member, (1921- ) joined the board of directors.
May 13. 1988
Merged with the Wild Leitz group.
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:
(click on the Logo will lead you to there site)