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WWI British Army Binoculars


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#1 Gamburd

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 11:47 PM

I am searching for color photos of WWI British Army binoculars and their cases from 1914 and 1916-1918 (I have a good set of photos of a 1915 pair).

I need photos (preferably color) of the front, back, top, and bottom of the binoculars and cases, if at all possible, but I would be happy with whatever photos you can provide.

I am looking for the kind that would have been used by British officers and snipers.


I searched the internet and this forum, and could only find a little information.


I am speculating that this pair would be a 1914 Ross pair because they are the
galilean make (i.e., essentially it is like two telescopes stuck together by a metal ban):

(scroll down to the bottom)

http://www.oldbinocu...collecting.html


According to a post at this forum, there were five prismatic and four galilean types of binoculars used by the army in 1914 (or at least by the Artillery):

QUOTE
The 1914 Handbook of Artillery Instruments covers binoculars on pages 33-40 and they list 9 "principle binoculars in the Service", 4 Galilean and 5 prismatic.

Manufacturers are not named, just specfications (unless 'Ross Pattern' and 'Zeiss Pattern' refer to manufacturers - I have to pleased ignorance there).



Additional article:

http://www.europa.co...pe/telbnapr.txt


However, the galilean binoculars were inferior compared to the prismatic binoculars; so I would prefer photos of a 1914 British Army prismatic pair.

The prismatic ones are wider in appearance, similar to today's binoculars.


This is a Ross prismatic pair from 1915:

http://www.militarya...=qseffhulstzqkz


I can't place the year on this pair; they are also Ross manufactured, but look a bit different from the pair above; I admit I do not know a lot about binoculars:

(scroll down)

http://www.britishse...llectables.html



I know some of the pairs used by British officers were privately purchased; I am looking for pairs that would not be too out of the ordinary.



Thanks



Alex

#2 CroppyBoy1798

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 04:58 PM

QUOTE (Gamburd @ Aug 19 2009, 12:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am searching for color photos of WWI British Army binoculars and their cases from 1914 and 1916-1918 (I have a good set of photos of a 1915 pair).

I need photos (preferably color) of the front, back, top, and bottom of the binoculars and cases, if at all possible, but I would be happy with whatever photos you can provide.

I am looking for the kind that would have been used by British officers and snipers.


I searched the internet and this forum, and could only find a little information.


I am speculating that this pair would be a 1914 Ross pair because they are the
galilean make (i.e., essentially it is like two telescopes stuck together by a metal ban):

(scroll down to the bottom)

http://www.oldbinocu...collecting.html


According to a post at this forum, there were five prismatic and four galilean types of binoculars used by the army in 1914 (or at least by the Artillery):




Additional article:

http://www.europa.co...pe/telbnapr.txt


However, the galilean binoculars were inferior compared to the prismatic binoculars; so I would prefer photos of a 1914 British Army prismatic pair.

The prismatic ones are wider in appearance, similar to today's binoculars.


This is a Ross prismatic pair from 1915:

http://www.militarya...=qseffhulstzqkz


I can't place the year on this pair; they are also Ross manufactured, but look a bit different from the pair above; I admit I do not know a lot about binoculars:

(scroll down)

http://www.britishse...llectables.html



I know some of the pairs used by British officers were privately purchased; I am looking for pairs that would not be too out of the ordinary.



Thanks



Alex



I can get you a few pics of my set if its any use to you, see link below:
http://1914-1918.inv...mp;#entry992319

#3 MikB

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 08:37 PM

There's a pair of Ross No.2 on the bay here:-
170344182375

These are to an early design common in WW1 although they carry a later date.

The chief weakness of the early Ross pattern is that the bridge arms are extensions of the prism case endplates rather than the body castings. This puts lots of stress on the securing screws, and makes them very awkward to reassemble compared with Zeiss patterns. Later No.2s and 3s used the better design.

There were shortages of all sorts of optics in the British forces in WW1, and many civilian instruments were taken into military service, of all types including older Galilean glasses - so there's not really a 'typical' pair as such.

Snipers, at least followers of Hesketh Prichard, preferred to use multidraw telescopes with their higher magnification and greater steadiness in observation from their length. The 'Tel. Sig. also GS' Mks.II - IV scope is typical, but here again there were many private purchases and donated instruments in use.

Regards,
MikB

#4 Gamburd

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 02:21 AM

CroppyBoy,

Yes, I would be very interested in seeing more photos of your pair of binoculars; also, if possible, I would like to see some photos of the case as well.


MikB

Thanks for the information; I wasn't exactly sure if there was a standard government issued pair of binoculars that was distributed widely or not.

I came across some excellent information you posted about the telescopes:

http://1914-1918.inv...howtopic=127613



I have a few more photos of some binoculars.

This photo is from the Green Howards Regimental Museum:

http://www.ww-ghosts...iforms0060.html


And this is a photo of a pair that may perhaps be from 1916:

http://www.blitzandp...taria/main2.asp



Alex

#5 MikB

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 08:07 AM

Hi Alex,

Both of those pairs are, of course, Galileans. Some of these reached a magnification of 5x, but 3x or so was more usual - and the field of view was pretty limited too. The fact that prismatics of 6x to 8x with larger fields of view were almost universally preferred reflects their real technical superiority. The continued use of Galileans was simply due to considerable shortage and the fact that these, for all their faults, are still substantially better than nothing, especially in bad light.

Galileans are much in evidence in WW1 photos, although they were effectively obsolescent - my copy of Hesketh Prichard's 'Sniping In France' shows a sergeant sniping from a trench at Hebuterne in 1915 using a long Lee-Enfield, with a pair each of Galileans and prismatics on the sandbag beside him. The prismatics are nearer his hand - those being available, I wish I could ask him why the Gallys are there at all... biggrin.gif

Regards,
MikB

#6 CroppyBoy1798

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 11:18 PM

Here's a few pictures for you Alex, hope they are of some use. If you want any particular angles, elevations etc just let me know.

















#7 CroppyBoy1798

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 11:21 PM

Sorry, I can only add three images per post it seems and when i try to add more in a reply it tells me that I cant unless someone replies first! Very strange setup here dry.gif .





#8 Andrew Upton

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:32 AM

QUOTE (CroppyBoy1798 @ Aug 21 2009, 12:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry, I can only add three images per post it seems and when i try to add more in a reply it tells me that I cant unless someone replies first! Very strange setup here dry.gif .


Usually in this case if you just give it a minute or two it recognises the new post/reply as such - otherwise it trys to count it as an edit/addition to the previous post.


#9 MikB

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:06 PM

I'd say this pair on the Bay:

300338841055

...are about as good as any I've seen. They're Kershaws showing the early Ross design and have the most elaborate triple-wedge Broad Arrows engraved on the prim case endplates. They come in a case by Negretti & Zambra which is certainly correct for the period though I don't know if it's original - it's entirely possible that N&Z sold glasses made by other reputable makers, in fact althought they definitely manufactured telescopes and probably Galilean binoculars I'm not sure they ever made prismatics.

Regards,
MikB

#10 Wardog

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:19 PM

On the mentioned eBay binoculars, http://cgi.ebay.co.u...Vie...=1&_rdc=1 do the yellow arrows hint at period and type of use? I'm not clued up on the subject but have a pair of Barr and Stroud Naval type-1940-with these yellow arrows. Any info on such yellow arrows? Cheers, Paul.

#11 MikB

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 12:40 PM

QUOTE (Wardog @ Aug 21 2009, 01:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...do the yellow arrows hint at period and type of use? I'm not clued up on the subject but have a pair of Barr and Stroud Naval type-1940-with these yellow arrows. Any info on such yellow arrows? Cheers, Paul.


Well, others might know but I'm afraid I don't. As an educated guess, I'd say the yellow arrows - from their plain and blocky design and from the binocular types I've seen 'em on - are a WW2 feature, perhaps indicating the Kershaws on the Bay were reissued in that war. It seems a bit OTT to have added them when there were already some unmistakable ones on the endplates, as if orders about colour and positioning were being followed to the letter. Added to this, I don't ever recall seeing these painted arrows in WW1 photos showing binos.

But the Art Deco style of the engraved Broad Arrows screams "early 20th C Imperial" at me, and together with the early design would date their manufacture to WW1, and probably early WW1. It's also noticeable that the Broad Arrow very often took the triple-wedge form when engraved with handtools at this time, with the groove deepening and widening away from the arrow point - and these appear to be an enlarged machine emulation of this. Late WW1 and WW2 arrows are usually plainer, less precise, and often rotary engraved, perhaps by pantograph. In solid items like tools, cartridge cases and barrel-breeches they're often stamped, of course.

Regards,
MikB

#12 Wardog

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 06:44 PM

Thanks MikB. I'm going to guess its a WWII added marking that shows the binoculars are on a ship or station stores list and not issued to an individual. Quick Google points to RN use. I could well be barking up the wrong tree though. Cheers, Paul.

#13 lee h

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 10:07 AM

Here are the two pairs i have. hope they are of interest. Sorry i couldnt get the images to post sad.gif



http://img39.imagesh...?g=dsc0577c.jpg

Pair one, the larger pair, have the name of D.T.Patterson etched on, who i am informed was a sgt in a Scottish division, but i can not confirm this. Can not confirm date used.

The second smaller pair belonged to Lt Frederick J Smith Nothumberland Fusiliers. which i do know to be true as i have other items of his equipment. Lt F.J.Smith was active 1916 to 1918.

#14 Gamburd

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 04:25 PM

Thanks MikB for the additional comments; they are very helpful.


CroppyBoy, those are great photos of the case; thank you; if possible, I would still like to see some more photos of your pair of binoculars.

If you are still having some trouble posting them here, I have updated my Profile to receive email, so you may contact me that way at your convenience.


Lee, thanks for your photos of both pairs of binoculars; your second pair will help me with the years 1916-1918.

#15 MikB

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE (lee h @ Aug 22 2009, 11:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Pair one, the larger pair, have the name of D.T.Patterson etched on, who i am informed was a sgt in a Scottish division, but i can not confirm this. Can not confirm date used.


Hi Lee,

The S.4 on the larger pair indicates their acceptance for service as second-grade Galilean glasses, and their lowish register number would suggest late '14 or early '15, if that helps.

Regards,
MikB

#16 CroppyBoy1798

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:56 PM

Another cúpla pics happy.gif :







#17 CroppyBoy1798

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:58 PM







#18 lee h

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 08:00 PM

QUOTE (MikB @ Aug 23 2009, 08:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi Lee,

The S.4 on the larger pair indicates their acceptance for service as second-grade Galilean glasses, and their lowish register number would suggest late '14 or early '15, if that helps.

Regards,
MikB


Cheers for that MikB wink.gif

#19 4thGordons

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 11:32 PM

I am not 100% certain these are Great War vintage but I always assumed they were.
Broad arrow marked, as is case. S.1.92003 engraved on right body, RR stamped on left side (See pic)
Supplied by W Watson and Sons Bond Street.
Binoculars made in Paris by AFSA marked "STHENARA 6X MG

Attached File  bins1.jpg   13.52KB   5 downloads Attached File  bins2.jpg   15.35KB   5 downloads
Attached File  bins3.jpg   11.34KB   4 downloads Attached File  bins6.jpg   23.78KB   4 downloads
Attached File  bins7.jpg   8.47KB   4 downloads Attached File  bins9.jpg   9.76KB   6 downloads

hope these are helpful any information much appreciated
Chris

Attached Files



#20 MikB

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 06:58 AM

QUOTE (4thGordons @ Aug 24 2009, 12:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am not 100% certain these are Great War vintage but I always assumed they were.
Broad arrow marked, as is case. S.1.92003 engraved on right body, RR stamped on left side (See pic)
Chris


Yes, they are Great War - the S.1 is diagnostic. It signifies they were 'Specials' (ie. civilian glasses taken into military service) classed as first-grade prismatic glasses, and the register number suggests they were accepted maybe late-ish 1915 (bit of a guess there).

Regards,
MikB

#21 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:30 PM

Ross dated 1905 with 1904 dated case.

Mick

#22 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:39 PM

Crown Optical Company 6x30 Military Stereo. (Brass ones).

Kershaw & Son Ltd.

Carl Zeiss dated 1916 - fantastic optics.



I have some more somehwere will post when I find them.

Mick

#23 Gamburd

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:59 PM

CroppyBoy, Chris, and Mick, thank you very much for these photos of your binoculars.



Alex

#24 billy_s

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 08:35 PM

Just came across this thread. Here are a couple of pictures of a pair of Ross x 5s that were handed down through the family. They have been well-used and are dated 1904. No box unfortunately. Forgot to say that the serial number is 10465. Don't know if this is significant?
Cheers
Billy

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#25 Bensi

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 07:25 AM

QUOTE (4thGordons @ Aug 24 2009, 01:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am not 100% certain these are Great War vintage but I always assumed they were.
Broad arrow marked, as is case. S.1.92003 engraved on right body, RR stamped on left side (See pic)
Supplied by W Watson and Sons Bond Street.
Binoculars made in Paris by AFSA marked "STHENARA 6X MG

hope these are helpful any information much appreciated
Chris


I am a new Italian member of the forums.
My passion is the history of WW1 and WW1 binoculars.

I send you pictures of my last purchase but if you want to see other binoculars ... go on my blog ... I am sorry that is written in Italian, but no photos ...;-))