A Pioneer in Navigation Technology

The history of Anschütz has strongly influenced the navigation on board of ships. It all started with the gyro compass.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the young Dr. Hermann Anschütz-Kaempfe, who studied history of arts, joined scientific expeditions to Svalbard. He got involved in navigation and observed a classic problem of high-seas navigation: reliable course-keeping, especially near the poles, where the magnetic compass does not work properly.

Anschütz was obsessed with finding a suitable course-keeping instrument and concentrated on locating the geographical north direction with the help of a gyro. In 1904, he was able to test the first “gyro course keeper” on the Kiel fjord, which led to the first patents.
Anschütz was fascinated by the technology, and driven by his ambition to solve the encountered problems. Anschütz had the opportunity given by the German Navy to test his invention on board the ship “Undine” in the Kiel fjord, where he had perfect test conditions. He observed that the new apparatus was quite stable against any vibrations, but that it was dramatically influenced by the waves on the outer Kiel fjord! He concluded that the basic principle was good, but he was sure that further improvements had to be integrated to stabilize the system for usage on seagoing vessels.

Anschütz was no scientist but a practical thinking man - and he continued optimizing his gyro compass until it was suited to withstand the rough conditions at sea. In 1908 the company presented the first gyro compass that could be used on board a ship, and a later idea in 1911 was to combine three gyros for more stability. Already in 1905, the company Anschütz & Co. GmbH was founded and started the production of gyro compasses in Kiel, Germany. Few years later, commercial shipping was keen to get gyro compasses as well. The first commercial ship equipped with an Anschütz gyro compass was the passenger ship “Imperator” of HAPAG Line in the year 1913.

The Imperator, with a size of 52,000 tons, was the biggest ship in those days. Further innovations followed the gyro compass, for example, the world’s first chart plotter, a great grandfather of the present generation of electronic sea chart systems.

Further innovations of Anschütz have made a deep impact on navigating: the first autopilot for ships, the so-called “iron helmsman”, the track control system, and the first type-approved integrated navigation system. Since 2023, Anschütz is part of the German DMB Dr. Dieter Murmann Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, a diversified, medium-sized global group. Anschütz previously belonged to the Carl Zeiss Group and Raytheon Technologies (formerly Raytheon Company) for many decades. During this time, Anschütz has expanded the product range to include radar systems and electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS), and has developed into a versatile integrator of customer-specific and sophisticated bridge systems and mission systems (command and control systems).

1898 First Polar expedition by Dr. Hermann Anschütz - Idea: to find a new travel route to USA via the North Pole with a submarine
1904 Invention and patenting of the first gyro compass “GYROSCOPE”
1905 Founding of ANSCHÜTZ & CO in Kiel
1907 The world's first gyro compass in operation
1912 The first three gyro compass on board a ship
1920 World's first autopilot for ships (“Iron Helmsman”)
1925 Start of production of the two-gyrosphere compass (developed with help of Max Schuler, Prof. Albert Einstein)
1930 Dr. Anschütz-Kaempfe transfers his majority shares to Carl Zeiss
1945 Destruction and dismantling of the factory during World War II
1952 Reconstruction of the Anschütz factory in Kiel-Wik
1952 Further development of the gyro compass and beginning of production for commercial shipping; around 90 employees
1956 Development of an autopilot which controls the ship's heading on an electro-mechanical basis
1964 Development of a horizon gyro system; about 400 employees
1969 Development of a gyro compass with scaleddown gyrosphere
1969 Development of the first electrical autopilot
1974 Development of the first computer supported course and track controller
1976 Incorporation of the sister company Zeiss Ikon AG, Kiel with their cinemascope product program into Anschütz & Co. GmbH
The company employs about 1,300 people in Kiel
1980 Development of a heading reference, 3-axial stabilized platform for technical research and naval applications
1982 Development of an "adaptive autopilot"
1985 Development of microprocessor-controlled navigation and steering control systems
1988 Development of a navigation and information display for the "modern bridge"
1991 Introduction of a product line for sophisticated seagoing yachts
1991 Development of navigation and planning system
1995 Raytheon Company, USA, acquires the nautical and cinema product line of Anschütz & Co. GmbH. New company name: Raytheon Anschütz GmbH
1995 Introduction of the modular bridge design IBS
1996 Introduction of the Electronic Sea Chart
1996 Acquisition of Standard Radio, Sweden
1998 Introduction of the new Pathfinder/ST MK 2 Radar Generation
2000 Relocation of Radar and ECDIS production to Kiel
2003 Introduction of the new Gyro Compass-Series Standard 22
2007 Opening of the Shanghai Representative Office
2009 Raytheon Anschuetz Singapore Pte Ltd founded as sales and service hub in South East Asia
2010 Introduction of a new steering control and autopilot systems based on CAN-bus
2011 10,000th Standard 22 Gyro Compass sold, most popular gyro of all times
2012 Synapsis is the world’s first Integrated Navigation System according to new IMO Performance Standards, making integrated bridge safer and marking the first milestone towards network based and more automated navigation systems
2012 Opening of Raytheon Anschuetz do Brasil Sistemas Maritimos Ltda
2013 Introduction of a first software application for command and control / surveillance
2014 Introduction of new radar sensor generation using network technology
2015 Raytheon Anschütz Panama opens as another service center
2016 Introduction of the maintenance-free Anschütz gyro compass Standard 30 MF
2016 Introduction of the SYNTACS command and control system
2017 Introduction of the first user-defined ECDIS - Synapsis ECDIS NX
2018 Own innovation hub opened at the Anschütz facilities in Kiel
2019 Start of introduction of a new software application generation, in accordance with human-centered design and using modern software technologies
2021 Launch of the eLog electronic logbook
2022 Market launch for the NautoPilot 5000 NX, a fuel-saving autopilot
2023 DMB acquires the whole Anschütz business. New company name: Anschütz GmbH