Product Milestones in the story of Wild Heerbrugg Ltd.

The aim of this page is to give you some idea of how Wild Heerbrugg Ltd. has developed.


  • On 26th April the firm "Heinrich Wild, Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Optik" is founded in Heerbrugg by Colonel Jacob Schmidheiny of Balgach, the geologist Dr. Robert Helbling of Flums and the surveyor Heinrich Wild of Glarus. 
  • With a workforce of about 30, Heinrich Wild starts designing and constructing his first instruments, among them the T2 Universal Theodolite.


  • In autumn, the first phototheodolite is operational, and a school for apprentices in precision mechanics is set up.


  • The joint-stock company "Verkaufsgesellschaft Heinrich Wild - Geodätische Instrumente" is founded to market the products. 
  • The financial participation of Ernst Schmidheiny gives the young company a decisive boost.
  • The first A1 Stereo-Autograph is tested in Dr. Helbling's office and the factory sells its first level. 
  • Ahrend Holding N.V., Amsterdam, become the first Wild agents abroad. 
  • The company sets up its own building and housing department.


  • The first T2 Universal Theodolites are dispatched. "Heinrich Wild, Werkstätte für Feinrnechanik und Optik" is taken over by the "Verkaufsgesellschaft".


  • Design work is in progress on an optical alidade for a plane table. In June the first Universal Autograph is completed and undergoes tests in Dr. Helbling's office. 
  • The T3 Precision Theodolite and the N3 Precision Level are also on the drawing board. 
  • By the end of the year the workforce has increased to 130. 
  • Albert Schmidheini joins the firm as Managing Director.


  • The manufacture of optical parts moves to Rebstein, where a school for training in optics is also established. 
  • The A2 Autograph goes into production. 
  • W. Kriszat AB in Stockholm and SIPI in Milan become the second and third Wild agents, followed by agencies in Denmark, Belgium, France, Portugal, Czechoslovakia and overseas in Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay and South Africa.


  • The first aerial camera, the C1, leaves the factory. 
  • Further agencies are established in Spain, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, Chile, Brazil and Japan.


  • The T2 and T3 theodolites, the N1, N2 and N3 levels, the P3 Phototheodolite and the A2 Autograph go into serial production. 
  • Gebr. Wichmann K.G., Berlin, become the Wild agents in Germany.


  • The C2 and C3 Aerial Cameras go into production.


  • The factory building in Heerbrugg has become too small and an upper floor is added. 
  • By the end of this year the workforce has risen to 260. 
  • An agency is opened in Mexico, bringing the total number of agencies to 27.


  • The international financial crisis takes its toll and the workforce drops to 151.


  • The manufacturing program is extended to include the NK1 Compact Level, the T0 Compass Theodolite, the T1 Repetition Theodolite, the 2-metre Subtense Bar, the E1 Rectifier for aerial photographs, the A4 Autograph, a mirror stereoscope and a cathetometer. 
  • Agencies are set up in Finland, Greece and the United States.


  • The T0 Compass Theodolite, the C12 Stereometric Camera and the A4 Autograph appear on the market. 
  • The workforce is down by a third, to 125.


  • The first T1 Theodolite and E1 Rectifier leave the factory.


  • Thorolf Gregersen AS in Oslo, Diethelm & Co. in Bangkok and B. & L. Terner Eng. Ltd., Haifa, become Wild agents. 
  • An agency is also established in Turkey.


  • Agencies are set up in Luxemburg and EI Salvador.


  • The N2 Engineer's Level gets its well-known "rolling" telescope with reversible tubular level.
  • The A5 Autograph - for years to come the world's plotting "workhorse" - and the RC3 Automatic Aerial Camera are put on the market.


  • The A6 Second-Order Stereo-Plotter and the S3 Stereoscope are launched, and the BC2 Ballistic Camera designed. 
  • The first seven sheds are built and the existing factory buildings enlarged. 
  • Wild now has a workforce of 630 and is represented in 37 countries.


  • The K2 Optical Alidade and a mirror stereoscope appear on the market. 
  • Wild decide to produce microscopes in order to offset any losses in the survey field. 
  • 311 of the company's employees are called up for military service at the start of the Second World War.


  • The Insurance Fund (the forerunner of a pension scheme) is set up, covering the entire personnel.


  • The Company Welfare Fund is established and the new building for the research departments and the laboratories is ready.


  • The RC5 Automatic Aerial Camera and the ST1 and ST2 Mirror Stereoscopes go into production.


  • The TM0 Rangefinder is launched and production of stainless, chromium-steel drawing sets commences. 
  • The factory buildings are extended and an observation tower constructed.


  • The T4 Universal Instrument appears on the market.


  • New agencies are opened in the Philippines and Venezuela.


  • Agencies are set up in India and Singapore.


  • The first M9 and M10 Microscopes are sold. 
  • The OMAG company in Allschwil, near Basle, is taken over by Wild. 
  • Agencies are established in Nigeria and New Zealand.


  • The Aviotar - the first of L. Bertele's series of high-precision photogrammetric lenses - is produced. 
  • The first company-owned foreign agency, "Henry Wild Surveying Instruments Supply Company of America, Inc.", is founded in the USA. 
  • Messrs. R. & A. Rost become Wild agents in Austria.


  • The A7 Autograph, with connections for the EK Coordinate Printer, goes into production. Research and Development Departments are set up for geodesy, photogrammetry and microscopy.


  • Production of the A8 Autograph and the RC7 Aerial Camera with the Aviotar Ions commences.
  • The T12 Pocket Theodolite and the RDH and RDS Self-Reducing Tachometers appear on the market. 
  • The Attachable Camera 1, the first Wild camera for photomicrography, the 20x, 40x, 50x and 100x Wild Fluotar objectives and the corresponding compensating eyepieces are now on sale.
  • An agency is set up in Iran.


  • Wild Paris, a company-owned agency, is established in France.


  • The BC4 Ballistic Camera for ballistic measurements and satellite triangulation goes into production, and the A7 and A8 Autograph are shown at the 7th International Photogrammetric Congress in Washington. 
  • The Aviogon Ions is put on the market. Conventional phase contrast equipment and the novel "Wild- Variocolor" accessory for color phase contrast are included in the microscopy program.
  • An electromagnetic fine-focusing device, a projection and drawing mirror and a simple polarization outfit are on sale.


  • The new administrative building is opened in Heerbrugg. 
  • A company-owned agency is established in Sydney, Australia.


  • The RC8 Aerial Camera with the Aviogon fens goes into production and the first BC4 Camera is sold. 
  • The Reprogon Ions appears on the market and the M11 and M20 Microscopes are now on sale. 
  • The name of the company is changed to the now universally-known "Wild Heerbrugg Ltd."
  • "Wild of Canada Ltd." is founded in Ottawa.


  • The TM10 Tacheometric Rangefinder for distances up to 500 meters goes into production and the T16 Direct Reading Theodolite is on sale. 
  • The STKL Precision Stereocomparator for analytic photogrammetry and coordinate printers for the A7 and A8 are developed. 
  • he Attachable Camera 11 with H-phototube is introduced.


  • An improved version of the T2 Universal Theodolite leaves the factory. 
  • The cine attachment with projection tube is on the marked for cinemicrography. 
  • The "Optik-Hus", a canteen and social center, is inaugurated in Heerbrugg.


  • The A9 Autograph for super-wide-angle photographs, the RC9 Super-Wide- Angle Camera, the U3 Diapositive Printer and the VG 1 Enlarger go into production. 
  • A drawing tube for the M 20 Microscope first appears in the sales program. 
  • Wild Portugal is founded. 
  • The workforce reaches 2000.


  • The T1 is given an automatic vertical index and becomes the T1A. 
  • The B8 and B9 Aviographs and the E3 Rectifier go into production. 
  • The RC9 Super-Wide- Angle Camera is on the market. Wild enters the stereomicroscope field with the M5. 
  • The company school for apprentices moves into a new building in Heerbrugg. Wild (South Africa) is set up in Johannesburg.


  • The M5 is quickly joined by the M4 Stereomicroscope. 
  • The new company school is so popular that an apprentices' hostel has to be erected. 
  • The Optical Computing Department gets its first computer, a Zuse 22 R.


  • The drawing tube for the M5 Stereomicroscope is available. 
  • The Insurance Fund is changed into a Pension Fund.


  • The M4 Stereomicroscope gets its own drawing tube. 
  • On 2nd October 1961 the workforce of Wild Heerbrugg Ltd. reaches the 3000 mark. 
  • A subsidiary factory is opened in Oberriet and Casa Wild S.A. is set up in Rio de Janeiro.


  • The NA2 Automatic Level, The RK1 Self-Reducing Alidade, the ZNL Zenith and Nadir Plummet and the DI50 Microwave Distancer go on sale. 
  • The BS Stereomat, the C120 and C40 Stereometrie Cameras, the U9 Fixed-Ratio Printer, the E4 Rectifier-Enlarger and the U4 Diapositive Printer go into production. A new discussion tube is available for the M11 and M20 Microscopes, and the M21 Polarizing Microscope appears on the market. 
  • The new four-story optics building is inaugurated in Rebstein. 
  • Wild Heerbrugg takes over the Leidolf camera factory in Wetzlar, West Germany, and Wild S.A. is founded in Dakar, Senegal.


  • The GAK1 Gyro Attachment for existing theodolites and the ARK1 Gyro Aiming Circle, both independent north-seeking instruments, go into production. 
  • The Universal-Aviogon lens, corrected for visible and infra-red light, is on the market. 
  • A new phototube for stereomicroscopes, the M5 pol. and a new projection head are introduced. 
  • The new building for microscope assembly is completed. 
  • The subsidiary company OMAG moves to its new factory promises al Mels, south of Heerbrugg.


  • The B8 Stereomat, the E4 Rectifier-Enlarger and the A40 Autograph are shown at the International Photogrammetric Congress in Lisbon. 
  • The 1000th Autograph is delivered to Japan. 
  • Wild enters the field of inverted microscopes with the M40 and M50. 
  • The Photoautomat is now available. 
  • The company medical service starts work. "Wild Heerbrugg (U.K.) Ltd." is established in Maidstone.


  • The Transmitted Light Base for stereomicroscopes, the M4C Stereomicroscope for industrial applications and interference attachments for microscopes become available. 
  • An IBM 360/40 computer (with 128 K storage) is installed in a special building in Heerbrugg. 
  • The "Wild-Verkaufsgeselischaft Mikroskopie GmbH" is founded in Munich.


  • The 40,000th T1 Repetition Theodolite leaves the factory. 
  • Wild de Mexico S.A., Mexico City, and Wild del Peru S.A., Lima, are established.


  • The M4A Stereomicroscope, a simple instrument with magnification changer drum, appears on the market and the first M500 Infra- Red/Ultraviolet Image Converter Unit leaves the factory. 
  • In July 1967 the workforce in the Rhine Valley factories totals 3724, the highest figure since the company was founded in 1921. 
  • A self-service restaurant is added to the "Optik-Hus". 
  • Wild Heerbrugg Svenska AB is set up in Stockholm.
  • Won contract to conduct first feasibility study for the 621B program, which was the U.S. Air Force predecessor to the Global Positioning System


  • The Research and Development Department for Microscopy moves into a new building. 
  • The A2000 Stereomat is shown at the International Photogrammetric Congress in Lausanne. The DI10 Distomat Infra-Red Distancer, developed in Cooperation with Messrs. Sercel of France, appears on the market. 
  • The EK8 Coordinate Printer, the RC10 Universal Film Camera with the Super-Aviogon 11 lens, the A10 Autograph and the ST10 Strip Stereoscope go into production. 
  • The company's 2000th Autograph - a Wild B8 - is delivered to England.
  • Introduced the world's first commercial Transit satellite navigator, the MX702CA, immediately after the U.S. Navy released Transit for non-military use


  • The M501 Sampling Microscope and the Electronic Micro-Length Measuring Attachment are available.
  • Submitted the 621B report, which defined many of the basic concepts underlying the Global Positioning System


  • The Wild M7 Zoom Stereomicroscope god's into production. 
  • Work is started on a new, five-story Research and Development building opposite the existing administrative block in Heerbrugg. 
  • In view of the labor shortage in Switzerland, the Board of Directors decide to set up a subsidiary factory in Völkermarkt, Austria, under the name "Wild Heerbrugg G.m.b.H. (Kärnten)"
  • This will be the company's first large-scale production plant outside Switzerland. 
  • A total of over 4200 people are now employed by Wild Heerbrugg Ltd. in its factories and various sales and service organizations throughout the world.
  • Delivered the first of a long series of Integrated Navigation Systems, combining Transit, Doppler sonar, Gyrocompass, and other radio aides, for precise navigation of offshore exploration vessels
  • Began manufacture of the world's first portable Doppler geodetic survey instrument for the Defense Mapping Agency, the AN/PRR-14 Geoceiver


  • The Board of Directors decide to set up a subsidiary factory in Singapore. 
  • The B8S Aviograph, the P32 Terrestrial Camera and the APK1 Panorama Camera go into production. 
  • The new NAK0 and NAK1 Levels, the T2 Universal Theodolite with part-digital reading and the new DI60 Microwave Distancer are shown at the International Congress of Surveyors in Wiesbaden. 
  • The five-story Research and Development Building is opened.  
  • Designed and built early prototype receivers for the U.S. Navy's Timation satellite navigation program, which helped demonstrate the validity of the high precision clocks which were adopted for GPS
  • Designed and built the first prototype receivers for the 621B program, which demonstrated the effectiveness of spread spectrum techniques for GPS
  • Received contract to define the Timation Satellite Navigation Modulation (Timation was the Navy's predecessor to GPS)


  • End of the production on the drawing instruments (1943 - 1972). 
  • Release of the new models:
  • Wild T2 (digital reading) 
  • new level models (NAK0; NAK1; NAK2; N2)
  • Autograph A8
  • Photo camera P31 and P32
  • Received contract to define the 621B Signal structure
  • Introduced the MX902, the first single frequency Transit navigator expressly designed for merchant ship navigation


  • DISTOMAT Wild DI3    


  • GLO Laser ocular
  • Wild RC10 Aerial camera    
  • Received contract to develop Phase I GPS user equipment


  • new models Wild T05, Wild T1 and Wild T16
  • new microscope M8


  • Epimakroscop Wild M450 
  • Photomakroskop M400
  • Avioplan Wild OR1 
  • Introduced the world's first fully-integrated, microprocessor-based Transit satellite navigator, the MX 1102
  • Received contract to develop GPSPAC Spaceborne Receiver for the Landsat Satellite
  • Developed and delivered more Phase I GPS equipment than any other company, including the five channel XSet, the two channel YSet, the single channel ZSet, and the Manpack


  • Wild Tachymat TC1
  • The Magnavox X-Set was the first to track a GPS signal from space (NTS-2 Satellite GPS Experimental Satellite).


  • new models Wild N3
  • new models Wild ZL (automatic zenith plumet)
  • new models Wild NL (automatic nadir plumet)
  • Introduced the world's first integrated Transit and Omega navigator, the MX1105
  • Introduced the world's first microprocessor based satellite survey instrument, the MX1502 Geoceiver


  • Mikrophotosystem MPS45


  • Aviolyt AC1
  • Aviotab TA2
  • Start of production of the surgery microscopes M610 / M630 / M650
  • Delivered the first space qualified GPS equipment (GPSPAC) used to determine orbits for several types of spacecraft


  • Wild DI10
  • Wild Di20
  • Introduced the MX4102 marine satellite navigator, which brought high quality Transit satellite navigation to the pleasure boat community

Wild BC1


  • Theomat Wild T2000
  • surgery microscope M690
  • new models M3B; M3C; M3Z


  • Introduced the first five channel commercial GPS receiver, the T-Set


  • DISTOMAT Wild DI1000
  • electronic Theodolite Wild T1000
  • Was one of only two companies to develop the full range of military Phase II GPS user equipment
  • Introduced a GPS upgrade for the MX 1100 series satellite navigators, thus extending the life span of these popular and durable products


  • Wild Heerbrugg AG entered a new surveying field, when it manufactured the Wild WM101 (and the dual-frequency version, the WM102) in partnership with the Magnavox Corporation.
  • Introduced the WM 101 GPS Surveyor, the first truly compact, fully sealed GPS survey instrument.
  • Introduced the compact and rugged MX4400 commercial GPS navigator


  • AVIOPHOT Wild RC20 Luftbild-Aufnahmesystem
  • Introduced the MX4818, the first six channel differential GPS reference station and navigator


  • Laser level Wild LNA2
  • DISTOMAT Wild DI2000
  • Theomat Wild T3000
  • Theomat Wild T1600
  • Tachymeter Wild TC1000
  • Tachymeter Wild TC1600
  • Introduced the WM 102 dual frequency GPS Surveyor, featuring the patented code aided squaring technology, which provides a 13 dB advantage in tracking the encrypted L2 signal


  • surgery microscope M655
  • Mikrophotosystem MPS46/52
  • Plotter Wild TA41
  • Developed FARA (Fast Ambiguity Resolution Approach) for solving integer ambiguities with a very short observation time. FARA is the basis for Leica Rapid Static and set the industry standard


  • Zoom-Stereo microscope M10 
  • Digital level: -  Wild NA2000, the world's first automatic digital level, awarded the innovation prize of the U.S. high-technology magazine "Photonics".
  • Developed and delivered the worlds first combined GPS + GLONASS navigation receiver
  • Introduced the first all-digital six-channel GPS receiver, the MX 4200


  • Laser tracker: Leica SMART310, the first dynamically-measuring, interference-based laser tracker for use in industry  
  • Developed the first commercial DGPS systems using marine radiobeacons to transmit error correction data, which were first deployed in Sweden and Finland
  • Introduced the most compact and portable GPS Survey instrument, the System 200, featuring the SR299 receiver, also with patented code aided squaring. The System 200 included the world's first Rapid Static GPS Surveying capability. Leica also pioneered the concept of the handheld GPS controller.
  • Developed the first single board GPS EngineTM. The Engine is still highly regarded in the performance segment of this market.


  • Introduced SKI, the first Windows-based GPS Planning and Postprocessing Software.


  • DISTO Hand held distance meter: Leica DISTO, the first hand-held laser meter. Awarded the Batimat innovation
    prize, Paris 
  • Announced as one of the first winners of a Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP) by the US Government to develop GPS-based Computer Aided Earth Moving (CAEM) technology in cooperation with Caterpillar and Spectra-Physics Laserplane


  • VECTOR Binoculars: Leica VECTOR, the "intelligent" binocular with Leica DMC digital magnetic compass.


  • Introduced the world's most accurate L1 GPS navigation receiver, the MX 9400, featuring code tracking and patented, extended, carrier aided code smoothing (Accucode)
  • Introduced an enhanced GPS Survey System, the System 300, featuring the SR399 receiver with patented code aided cross correlation to retain a 13 dB advantage while providing full wavelength phase measurements
  • The Leica System 300 was the first to successfully complete FGCS testing of Real Time Kinematic (RTK)

  • Leica Geosystems designs and installs * the world's first high-precision real time reference station network for the Oresund project between Denmark & Sweden. The system comprises 6 automated, permanent reference stations with integrated integrity monitoring.
  • Introduced the compact and rugged SR9500 GPS survey receiver with 12 satellite dual frequency tracking and an extended temperature range capability

  • Reflectorless total stations: The new Leica TPS1100 Professional Series and TPS300
  • Basic Series are the first systems to measure with a coaxially-integrated laser meter completely without prism.


  • ClearTrak™ GPS receiver technology from Leica