A. Frerk & Sohn (fl 1830-1877), Hannover & Celle.

August Georg Heinrich Frerk was a versatile and important instrument maker in Celle, Lower Saxony. This is evidenced by the extant historical surveying instruments bearing his name, a special mention of which would include the many levelling instruments that were employed in early railroad construction in Northern Germany. Next to levelling instruments, his workshop in Celle also produced theodolites, plane table alidades, drawing compasses, surveying chains; as well as physical instruments such as Wimshurst machines, magnetometers, air pumps and barometers. 

In 1830 Frerk appears in the Cellesche Anzeige where he announces the establishment of a mechanical workshop for the manufacture of mathematical, physical, optical and chemical apparatus. He spends his journeyman years in "Paris, Munich (ed.: very likely with Fraunhofer-Merz) and other large cities". [3] 






Frerk's son, Ludwig Anton Theodor Frerk (*1832) joins his father in 1856 [6] and a second workshop is opened at Heinrichstraße 9 in Hannover. The Adreßbuch der königlichen Haupt- und Residenzstadt Hannover 1857 lists the new workshop (below) and Frerk inserts a catalogue of his instruments in the advertisement section (fig. 2.).[8]. Fig. 3.: Frerk's repetition theodolite [2]

Fig. 4.: Frerk's mining theodolite [1] 


Fig. 1. In 1837 Frerk receives a silver medal from the Gewerbevereins für das Königreich Hannover for his levelling instrument [9].

fig. 2.                            fig. 3.                           fig. 4.

Drawing instruments by Frerk





Fig. 5.: Oldendorp's harp-planimeter and Hunderterzirkel, an early Planimeterzirkel featuring a counting mechanism.[1]


Fig. 6.: Frerk's Orthograph also designated as an Ordinatograph, used for plotting offsets from a baseline.[2] [7]


Fig. 7.: Frerk's Fünfzigerzirkel, used for measuring off 50 Ruthen.[1]

fig. 5.                             fig. 6.                            fig. 7.







1. Hunäus, Georg Christian Konrad; Die geometrischen Instrumente der gesammten praktischen Geometrie, Hannover 1864, Universalinstrument von Frerk jun. p. 250-252,  kleine Theodolith von Frerk sen. p. 298-300, Grubentheodolith von Frerk & Sohn p. 303-305, Meßtisch von Frerk jun. p. 360-362, Meßtisch von Frerk sen. p. 364-365, Kippregel von Frerk sen. p. 372- 373, Fünfzigerzirkel p. 606-608, Oldendorp's planimeter p. 633-635. 


2. Vogler, Christian August; Lehrbuch der Praktischen Geometrie, Erster Teil, Braunschweig 1885, Theodolith von Frerk p. 365-383, Frerk's Ortograph p. 546-547.


3. Baden. Helmut; Instrumentenbauer A. Frerk - zu Unrecht vergessen. In: Zur Geschichte des Vermessungswesens. Wiesbaden 1995. p.76-79, 3 ill. (VDV- Schriftenreihe. 8.)


4. http://www.gih.uni-hannover.de/fileadmin/institut/pdf/instrumente/firmendaten_geodaesie.pdf 


5. Mittheilungen des Gewerbevereins für das Königreich Hannover 1859, page 245-246. Google Books.


6. Handbuch der Leistungsfähigkeit der gesamten Industrie Deutschlands, Österreichs, Elsass-Lothringens und der Schweiz, 1873,  page 82:

A. Frerk & Sohn, mechanisches Institut. Gründer (1820): Aug. Frerk; jetziger Inhaber (seit 1856) Ludwig Frerk. 


7. Ordinatograph von Mechaniker Frerk in Celle; in Schweizerische Polytechnische Zeitschrift 1856, Issue 5, page 164. E-Periodica.


8. Adreßbuch der königlichen Haupt- und Residenzstadt Hannover 1857 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek – Niedersächsische Landesbibliothek


9. Frerk receives a Silver Medal for his levelling instrument: Mittheilungen des Gewerbevereins für das Königreich Hannover ; 1838/39 = Lfg. 15 - 20  


10. See Oldendorp's Hunderterzirkel