A key to success for an instrument maker: Collaboration with a scientist The case of Haag-Streit (established 1858) and Heinrich Wild (1833-1902)
The firm known today as Haag-Streit was established in 1858 at Bern by F. Hermann and H. Studer, the latter being succeeded in 1865 by J. H. Pfister, to make precision scientific instruments. In the same year, H. Wild became professor of physics at the University of Bern, being also responsible for meteorology and metrology. He ordered from the young Bernese workshop the instruments he needed, both the rather simple ones for meteorology or geodesy (land-surveying) and the top-quality, one-off used for metrology. This was the beginning of a collaboration that was to last until the death of Wild, even during Wild’s stay at Saint Petersburg (1868-1895) as Director of the Central Physical (Meteorological) Observatory, and after the retirement of Hermann and its replacement by A. Streit in 1889. Instruments unrelated to meteorology or metrology were also designed by Wild: the “Polaristrobometer” (a precision chemical polarimeter), was a commercial success.