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Historic Nautical Instrument Maker John E. Hand & Sons Acquired By San Diego- Based Firm, Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunset Cliffs Merchandising (SCM) Corporation and its subsidiary Deutsche Optik announce the acquisition of the legendary John E. Hand & Sons Company of Cherry Hill, NJ. Purchase price was not disclosed. At present, John E. Hand will continue to operate its factory in New Jersey with its headquarters now in San Diego.

Founded in 1873, the venerable instrument house of John E. Hand & Sons was begun by British immigrant John Hand just after his arrival in the new world early in 1872. At the age of 21, he was an ambitious and talented instrument maker with a 7-year apprenticeship behind him and a new bride to provide for. He opened for business on York Street in Philadelphia where he manufactured logs, peloruses, and adjusted compasses. So skilled was he in the art of nautical instruments that he became known as the first man in America who could adjust a compass aboard an iron ship. Over the years, he built increasingly larger factories, first in Philadelphia and then in New Jersey, and had the joy of seeing his two sons join him in the business. He died in 1927 as the nation's leading expert in maritime instrumentation.

After his death, his two sons carried on the business, followed by his two grandsons. When WWII came, John E. Hand & Sons found itself building compasses and navigational instruments for hundreds of allied ships and employed well over 100 people at its main factory in Haddonfield, NJ. It has been estimated that more then 30,000 assorted compasses bearing the John E. Hand name were made during the war years. After the war, the company worked closely with the Navy to develop many new items and was granted a number of patents covering marine compasses, binnacles, and correcting systems. Today, the Hand Lifeboat Compass remains the only Coast Guard-approved Lifeboat Compass still in production, and John E. Hand & Sons continues to be one of the oldest American companies to specialize in navigational instruments.

SCM Corporation publishes the well known mail order catalogue Deutsche Optik and distributes fine optics, instruments. and clocks around the world. A full complement of John E. Hand parts and products are now available from Deutsche Optik, and SCM Corporation is inviting inquiries from any qualified businesses or individuals that may be interested in licensing the John E. Hand name. SCM Corporation will also entertain the purchase of any historic John E. Hand documents or instruments to add to its museum.

SOURCE Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation
 -0- 10/06/97

/CONTACT: Mike Rivkin of Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation, 619-287-9860, e-mail:

CO: Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corporation; John E. Hand & Sons Company ST: California, New Jersey IN: PUB REA HOU SU: TNM

SU-SR -- LAM103 -- 9965 10/06/97 15:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 6, 1997
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