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Weems & Plath

In May of 1919, eight years before Lindbergh's famous solo flight, three small planes set out from Newfoundland headed for London in an attempt to make the first trans-Atlantic flight. Only one of them made it. Twenty-five hundred feet below on board a station tracking ship, a young navigator, Lt. Cdr. Philip Van Horn Weems, U.S. Navy, gazed up and thought there must be a safer and simpler way than using a small armada of ships as beacons for the flight. Lt. Cdr. Weems, a brilliant, inventive and determined young man knew as he tracked that first flight that navigation was his destiny.

He went on to revolutionize the field with his ideas, writings and inventions of navigational instruments. The challenge he undertook was complex and involved the invention of new methods and new precision tools and navigational instruments. He published numerous articles and taught navigation at the Naval Academy in the 1920's. He went on to establish his own school in Annapolis to teach The Weems System of Navigation. A century earlier,Carl Plath's company in Hamburg, Germany; C. Plath, had been manufacturing the finest commercial sextants and magnetic compasses available. C. Plath developed the first gyrocompass installed on a commercial vessel in 1913. Weems' school for navigation had become the purveyor of Weems' instruments. It was a natural development for Weems' company to become the North American source for C. Plath's fine navigational instruments; hence the alliance of two distinguished names; Weems and Plath. The exceptional workmanship that both Philip Van Horn Weems and Carl Plath required in developing the manufacturing of precision navigation instruments and tools remains at the heart of all their products.

Today, Weems and Plath is still located in the Chesapeake Bay town of Annapolis where it began so many years ago. They are committed to supplying the world with the finest nautical products and navigational instruments available while maintaining the high standards of service that have distinguished Weems and Plath from its inception.

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