Heinrich Wild (1877–1951), a leading designer of geodetic and astronomical
instruments, was born in Switzerland and began his career as an apprentice
surveyor. In 1908, having invented a military rangefinder and convinced Zeiss to
manufacture it, Wild moved to Jena and became head of GEO, the new Zeiss branch
responsible for surveying instruments. Wild returned to Switzerland after the
First World War. In 1921, with the help of Swiss financiers, he established a
Werkstätte für Feinmechanik und Optik in Heerbrugg, in the Rhine Valley. In
the early 1930s, having recognized that he was not cut out to be a factory
manager, Wild moved to Zurich, severed his connections with the firm in
Heerbrugg, and designed instruments for Kern in Aarau. His old firm became Wild
Heerbrugg in 1937. It merged with the optical firm of Ernst Leitz of Wetzlar in
1987, acquired a majority interest in Kern in 1988, was renamed Wild Leitz AG in
1989, and became part of the Leica holding company in 1990.
Ref: G. J. Strasser, "Heinrich Wild’s Contribution to the Development
of Modern Survey Instruments," Survey Review 18 (1965–1966): 263–268.