This compass was invented and patented in 1902 by Johann Ritter von Bézard (1871 - 1939), an officer of Polish origin serving in the Imperial Austrian Army (southern Poland belonged to the Austrian Empire at that time). The system was patented in several countries at about the same time, starting with the German Empire on November 25, 1902 by the then Captain Johann Ritter von Bézard domiciliated in Neusohl, Hungary (now Banska Bystrica in Slovakia). Ritter means Knight, a nobility title inherited from his father who had received the Medal Crown of Iron 3rd Class thus entitling its bearer to add "von" before his name. He taught military survey techniques at the Theresianische Militärakademie in Wiener Neustadt and at the Vienna Kriegsschule (War School) from 1905 to 1910. He was wounded and taken prisoner by the Russian army during WWI and exchanged against Russian POW's in 1918 because of his bad health (Spanish flu).After WWI and the collapse of the Austrian Empire he went back to his country of origin that had become in 1919 a part of a newly created Polish state and he served in the Polish Army, fought against Russia in 1921-22 and was eventually promoted to General Staff Colonel.
This original version (1905) has a wooden case (consistent with the patent). The divisions are printed on cardboard. The next development is the Armeemodel 1910.
On the aluminium case is written: PATENT BÉZARD D.R.P.:157.329 DIREKTION and a small arrow next to DIREKTION and pointing to the right.
On the inside of the lid just above the paper arrow the number 17668 is engraved.
On the back of this early compass is written: 8 KOMP J.R. : No 42