Milestones of Kern & Co. AG

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


Founding of Mechanische Werkstätte  "Jakob Kern" Aarau, Switzerland

Jakob Kern (5. Aug. 1790 - 4. Feb. 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 for the well known General Dufour, who made the first triangulation survey in  Switzerland.


The two sons of Jakob Kern joined the firm.

Adolf Kern-Saxer (1826-1896)
Drawing Instruments

Emil Kern-Rychner (1830-1898)
Surveying Instruments


New location: Ziegelrain, Aarau:


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)