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    Archives of an email list on the history of binoculars.

    home page:



    Binocular List #201: 21 January 2002.


Subject: News from Denmark

    From: <>

    More from Copenhagen:

     Sollux Nr 66, Sollux nr 88, and Hellux nr 208 are all made or at least sold by: Werkstätten für Präzisions-Mechanik und Optik, Carl

    Bamberg. This comes from an offer, the company sent to the danish army in 1919. The numbers seems to be factory model


     Has anyone heard of a Voigtländer 18x80??? looks like a Zeiss Delfort in configuration.

     The swedish company mentioned last time has a logo...take a look if you like:

     Hope to get back here with some more detailed info some time soon. Michael Simonsen


    Bamberg manufactured some of the finest astronomical and geodetic instruments, but not binoculars, unless these products were not

    listed in catalogs or histories. Since Sollux & Hellux are Busch names, it seems likely that Bamberg acted as agent. In 1919, Bamberg

    began the process of joining with Otto Toepfer, Hermann Wanschaff, and Hans Heele, to form Askania, also renowned for the finest

    quality instruments. --Peter


Subject: Fujinon Mariner 7x50

    From: WIta057@___m

     (On ebay was) a rubber armored version of the Fujinon Mariner 7x50. I believe the mariner body is plastic so this pairs construction is similar to Steiner. It would be interesting to see if anyone on the list knows anything about this pair. It could have been a prototype submitted for government contract. I will let you know if I get any more information. Wayne Itamoto.


Subject: Various web sightings

    --Minox, Germany, has some unusual binoculars. The 8 x 58, and the ED glass 10 x 58 & 15 x 58, introduced September 2001, look

    excellent. A 10 x 52 looks great but has only a 50 degree field. The 6 x 20 was new in December, and has the 'skeleton' look popular in Japanese mini-binoculars from the 1950s. The Fullgrabe

    'Fata Morgana' 4 x 12 from the 1920s, illustrated in Seeger p48, is the only non-Japanese model of this design that I'm aware of - does anyone know of any others? Since Minox introduces their 6x as having the 'nostalgic look', and I expect they're not nostalgic for

    Japanese models of the 1950s, I assume they're referring to the Fullgrabe or another early model. Minox also has binocular brochures in .pdf at --A British binocular periscope unlike anything I've seen:

    --Seiler has a page on the M65 battery commanders telescope:

    --Undoubtedly the worst idea for a binocular, ever.

    Billboard Binoculars: =================================================

    Subject: Conferences that should have a paper on binoculars

     Proposals are invited for contributed papers to sessions on THE ROLE OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS IN WARFARE to be held at

    the 2002 History of Science Society (HSS), the 2002 Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), and the 2003 Society for Military

    History (SMH) conferences and to be combined into a published survey volume on the topic.

     SHOT meets in Toronto 17-20 October 2002

     HSS meets in Milwaukee 7-10 November 2002

     SMH meets in Knoxville 1-4 May 2003

     The goal of these sessions is to investigate the military uses of scientific instruments, either as distillations of scientific concepts for paraliterate users or as generative objects for the development of military sciences and thought. Examples of the former might include objects such as rangefinders that allow unskilled soldiers to utilize advanced ballistics, while examples of the latter could include

    diagnostic instruments which identify soldiers for certain duties or create ‗types‘ of soldiers. More broadly, contributors might consider peculiarly military uses of general scientific instruments, from microscopes, testing machines, or even more broadly, computers or

medical devices. Generally, however, the concept of scientific instrument should here be understood as a material object or

    technology which embodies scientific theory which used in a military setting in a way that distinguishes it from a civilian setting.

     It is hoped that these papers will cover scientific instruments in war from a wide chronological base (pre-modern to present) and from

    many different perspectives (organizational, artifactual, logistical, or perceptual) and many different disciplines (mathematics, physics,

    chemistry, acoustics, biomedical, and so forth). Ultimately, the published volume will seek to do more than combine narrowly focussed

    investigations of individual objects, and published contributors will therefore be asked to place their specific investigation in a wider

    framework, whether chronological or thematic. Solicited contributions may be sought to fill gaps so that the published volume serves as

    an introduction to the field as well as showcasing individual important research.

     Further inquiries or paper proposals (for either conference or a chapter in the published volume) should be directed to:

     Steven A. Walton <sawalton@___u> MTU-Dept. of Social Sciences 209 Academic Office Bldg. Houghton, MI 49931

     Tel. (906) 487-2459 Fax. (906) 487-2468

     Please include a title, abstract, and brief C.V. Initial inquiries should be made before Feb. 15 and completed proposals should be

    sent by March 1 for the fall conferences, and Sept. 1 for SMH.


    I hope there is some work on binoculars at one of these sessions, and I'll be following the sites to check. Unfortunately, the

    announcement above contains the following 'red flag':

    "published contributors will therefore be asked to place their specific investigation in a wider framework, whether chronological or


    This means that if you research some unexplored aspect of binoculars in war, and write an essay with original findings that explains a

    previously unknown history -- that is not enough. You are also expected to have a 'thesis', and if there is no clear conclusion to be

    drawn from your research -- you're very likely to speculate until you have found the 'wider framework' you've been asked for. This

    means that the proceedings of these meetings will be puffed out with endless & idle speculation on how these instruments fit

    someone's chronology or theme. It is unfortunate that research & findings are not sufficient for professional historians. Theses &

    theories are thought of as required in every paper & not recognized as an appropriate conclusion to years of work. A new field like the

    history of instruments needs data first, then the theories can be appropriate. --Peter =====================================================


    Binocular List #202: 28 January 2002.


Subject: Army Binoculars of WWII

    From: Arthur Tenenholtz <>

     Many Army binoculars from WWII, have the engraving "HMR," whether it was made by Nash Kelvinator or Westinghouse. Does

    anyone have any idea what the letters stand for? Arthur Tenenholtz ---------

    These 3 letters are not in a list of inspectors of army weapons & supplies, and not in my files. From an earlier list:

    From: SrsIII353@___m With regard to the "wpb" and "hmr" markings on certain wwii binoculars; i believe that"wpb" stands for "war

    production board". this was an agency set up vary early in the war to coordinate all industrial production for the war effort. As to the

    "hmr" marking; is this not associated with, primarily, instruments supplied to canada? if this is the case the perhaps "hmr" stands for

    "his majesty's....(something-or-other). just a thought.


Subject: Change of address

    From: "Earl Osborn" <optical_repair@___m>

     I recently got bumped from one I.P. to another by my phone company. Could you update my email address to the list:

    <mailto:optical_repair@___m>optical_repair@___m so I can stay updated with the folks.

     Our new address is 14114 N. 88th Ave, Peoria, AZ 85381. (623)847-4705/Fax(623)847-4706. =================================================

Subject: Fujinon

    From: Binofixer@___m

     Back to Wayne Itamoto's e-mail. Fujinon has a more economical model, same optics as the AR series, but housed in a carbon fiber

    body. I may be somewhat inaccurate in this, I've been out of retail land for several years now, but to say they are like Steiner's is a

    total error! Fujinon actually get's their optics within an acceptible tolerance. And nobody betters them when it comes to waterproof

    integrity. Also, from a tech's stand point, working with a Fuji (repair) is intuitively logical. Steiner's... good luck! Need parts? Forget it!

    Steiner's with that highly touted Ruby-Coating? Come on, get real! What the heck is "Sparc Coatings" (Semi-Penetrating-anti-

    reflective-Coating)? Sounds Tekkie to the unaware, but to the trained, it's a fine coating to use for shaving your face in the morning!

    Steiner simply out runs their head lights. If their product ever catches their hype, they may get up to Fuji's game level. Last time I

    checked, looks like they have a ways to go. Just my opinion, Cory ----------------

     One of the real mysteries of binocular-world is why Steiners are regarded in such high esteem by many people you meet at military &

    hunting events. Perhaps it is because they were used by the US military. They are quite rugged, if I'm correct. But I find their imaging

    quality to be mediocre, though I haven't used the 15 x 80. --Peter


Subject: New Leica

    From: "Rolf Penzias" <>

     I do not have any further information, but Leica is ready to launch the Duovid 8+12x42 binocular. It is not a "zoom"; but switches

    (maintaining focus) from 8 to 12 (and visa versa 12 to 8) magnification with the mere manipulation of some mechanical feature. I am

    sure an e-mail to the site operators would elicit more info. They are talking pre-delivery orders now at:

    Best regards, Rolf


    Subject: The sad slow demise of centre -focus porro -prisms ? From: Kennyj2@___m

     As I have mentioned in previous postings , I am looking to purchase one (or more) top quality binocular(s), mainly for the casual

    pleasure of medium to long -range terrestrial use but also for equally casual night-sky-gazing. The more I read about binoculars the more I feel inclined to purchase a separate unit for each purpose .

     I understand why birders , hunters , sports -spectators and most outdoor users demand features such as waterproofing and

    dustproofing , which are more easily provided in a roof prism design , and that for the astronomer, individual eye-piece focussing is not an issue , as a setting close to infinity will suffice for most objects.

     Call me "old -fashioned " but I prefer the looks and feel of a porro prism glass , the more three -dimensional view the wider -set

    objectives provide , and centre -focussing for ease of adjustment. Waterproofing is not really an issue for me , being a "fair weather " type of observer , and I cannot imagine engaging myself in much night -time sky watching when it is raining ! What began a year or so ago as a vague notion to check -out the odd review or recommendation from someone more expert than myself via the internet ,has

    developed into a very keen , some would say obsessive , interest in the whole subject of binoculars , which is why I have become such a grateful ( and perhaps undeserving ) member of this wonderful group . I have now spent over 100 hours of my free time reading

    reviews and articles etc. and have come to the conclusion that out of what one could call the " Top 30 " of highly recommended

    commercially available binoculars in the 8x to 15x power range , very few models are of conventional porro -prism design with centre -focussing .

     Even amongst these , the Nikon Superior E series ( one of which I will probably decide to purchase ) is criticised in some circles for not being waterproof or shockproof and for not having a tripod adaptor , the Canon Image Stabilised series for only coming with a one year warranty , and the Zeiss 15 x 60 BGAT ( no longer manufactured per Zeiss ) for being "ridiculously expensive " , even compared

    with the top of the range roof prisms from Swarovski , Leica and Nikon.

     On the subject of "prices ", I wonder if anyone would have any idea why the new Minox 58mm Roof Prisms ( kindly brought to my

    attention via your last posting ) are 35% MORE expensive in the U.K than in the U.S, particularly when they are supposedly made in

    Germany ? -- Regarding the new 58mm Minox models , it would interesting to read comparative reviews with the 56mm models from

    Zeiss and Swarovski .

     The U.K price of the Minox is around 90% that of it's leading "rivals ", but doubtless much of this high cost is due to the use of E.D ( flourite ) glass . The use of flourite in the Swift Audobon 44mm glass increases retail price by around 70% over the ( more recent

    waterproof ) standard version , yet opinions I have read indicate that the actual optical superiority thus gained by the E.D glass

    amounts to a minimal amount , and certainly not worth the extra cost . I wonder how and why it is that Nikon appear able to create a

    binocular at least optically equal to any other without using E.D glass ?

     One relatively " low-priced " recent introduction to the giant porro -prism market place is the new 20 x 80mm Chinese model from

    Oberwerk , regarding which I also eagerly await a "professional " review . I have a hunch that this could prove to be a low to medium

    priced binocular that may satisfy the requirements of some " tripod -mounted higher -power " amateur astronomy enthusiasts, although

    in my case ,residing in the U.K rather than the U.S again brings financial penalisation , uplifting the cost to approaching that of the revered Fujinon 16 x 70 .

     Alas , I am worried that we are witnessing a dearth of top quality centre -focus porro -prism designs . Most research , technical

    development and marketing money seems currently to be squarely behind roof prism designs and if this continues I feel it will be a very sad situation , which might eventually even bring to an end a great chapter in the history of binoculars.

     I hope I am proved wrong. Regards to all on the list , Ken Jones ----------

     Plenty of people on this list are partial to Porro I binoculars. It is unfortunately true that most engineering is directed towards roof prisms; I can only guess that the body style is though to be more sell-able.

     ED glass has no precise definition, if I'm correct; and the term can be found in less-than-accurate descriptions. It is true that for low power uses, the color correction provided by a standard achromat is sufficient. I'd guess that a high power binocular can often profit by use of this glass. I recall that comparison of Nikon's excellent HP 7 x 50, with their Prostar 7 x 50 using ED glass, indicates only a very subtle difference, if any at all.

     I like center focus binoculars for all uses, even for astronomy, I find myself 'tweaking' the focus almost every time I use it. --Peter =======================================================

    Subject: Edmund Scientifics -- How the mighty have fallen From: "William Cook" <>

     Well folks, I have never used this forum for proselyting at least as far as gospel principles go. Nevertheless, I think a little group

    prayer might be in order.

     I just got the latest copy of the SCIENTIFICS catalog and flipped through the binocular section. When I first see a bunch of shuck

    and jive, my natural reaction is, ―Here is someone else, trying to rip-off their fellow man.‖ However, with all the blarney I saw in those ads, it was plain to see that they were written by someone who probably really thought he knew what he was talking about.

     ―Large 50mm objective lens gathers 87% of Incoming light.‖

     Yes, I know what they meant. BUT, there was not one word said about coatings!

     That particular telescope, which was a folded REFRACTOR, was advertised as:

     ―An innovative Newtonian-style reflecting lens…‖

     On the Fujinon Techno-Stabi they speak of it being hard to hand hold higher powered instruments:

     ―…making it very hard to view above 7x10 magnification.‖

     They also have a 7x50 Ruby coated binocular that has: ―Large 50mm PRECISION objectives gather light effectively, for bright hassle-free viewing.‖

     I guess some sizes cause some people a hassle!?

     The same bino has a right eye adjustment the ―can correct for any eye combination.‖

     I guess that means that if you have 3 eyes you are still set. That ad concludes by saying that the ―optical components are precision

    and fully coated.‖

     I guess I shouldn‘t be too critical. I once had a telescope that was coated with ―precision.‖

     Then they advertise the ―WORLD‘S SMALLEST 6x16 binocular.‖ However, directly below that ad is an ad for a 17.5mm bino that is

    half the size and weight of the ―World‘s Smallest.‖

     On top of the next column they advertise their 30x50 ―NEWTON REFLECTOR BINOCULAR‖ . . .which of course. . .is not!

     Finally, we have the ―Little Mak hand-held telescope.‖

     In the first place, the corrector looks like a Gregorian and not a Maksutov. Secondly they say, ―Little Mak delivers an image that is as

    sharp at the edge as it is in the center.‖

     I can believe that. However, with a central obstruction that appears to be literally 65% or largest, it wouldn‘t really matter – ona

    counta u ain‘t gonna getno contrast anywaze.

     The most intriguing comment was on the Night Owl image intensified bino:

     ―Mirrored Optics Provide Faster Light Transition‖

     I think they were looking for ―light transmission.‖ However,that is not the point. Light can travel the distance around the earth 7.45

    times in ONE SECOND. So how much quicker is light going to travel through a 6-inch binocular because of mirrored optics!?

     Yeah, I know, I‘m bad. . .I will go away now.

    William J. Cook, Opticalman Chief, USNR-Ret.

    Manager, Precision Instruments & Optics, Captain's Nautical Supplies, Seattle Editor / Publisher, Amateur Telescope Making Journal


Subject: Skeleton binoculars

    From: Arnold Cohen <ancohen@___t>

     RE:Skeleton binoculars. In addition to the great variety of such binoculars made by many different Japanese makers in the 50's and

    60's in powers from 5x to 12x-I think I even saw a 15x once-Nikon reintroduced a commemorative 6x15 a few years ago to mark the

    anniversary of their first binoculars which were made in that style. Additionally, they made a limited run of 7x15. These all were top of

    the line Nikons with their best coatings and superb mechanics, wide field, extra close focus and deapth of field. A wonderfull travel

    glass due to its small size.

     The only problem with most of the type is the method of collimation-tiny screws moving the prisms. The greatest advantage is

    relatively small size for performance-especially with pre-phase coating technology as they are as compact as a roof but with a porro

    prism. In additon they just look COOL. Arnie


Subject: The Virtual Binocular

    This is a hand held viewer that puts a computer screen in front of each eye. It really doesn't have a lot to do with a 'real' binocular, but

    I find it interesting because: 1, They made it look like a binocular. 2, We already have 'night vision' binoculars; and it is not going to be

    very long before we have a 'virtual binocular' hooked up to two cameras (one for each eye), and then the possibilities are extensive:

    we could show an image in other wavelengths- radio, infrared, ultraviolet, x-ray; see behind ourselves or with enhanced depth

    perception; we could superimpose GPS, rangefinding or identification data; view an image of the site as it was in the past, with a text

    on the history; and much more.

    There's a good article in the February 2002 'Popular Science' on 'Augmented Reality' instruments, where a GPS and a compass allow

    a computer to analyze what you are looking at and display data about the object. They mention a hospital that uses surgical goggles

    that superimpose an ultrasound image onto the view of the surgeon. The entire article is online at Other information on these ideas: ------------

     The Virtual Binocular Handheld Immersive Display System Applications for the device include:

    -simulators that require a substitute for real binoculars (e.g. air traffic control, ship handling, aircraft identification)

    -public exhibits that require unassisted use of immersive displays -workstation based virtual reality applications that require users to switch their attention between the immersive display and the

    conventional screen

-medical applications

     n-vision‘s Virtual Binoculars have set the price/performance standard for simulated binoculars since their introduction in 1995.

    Combining high-resolution miniature CRTs and low distortion eyepieces, the Virtual Binoculars are a flexible, cost-effective hand-held

    immersive display.

     Mechanical features include focus adjustment, interpupillary distance adjustment, and mouse-compatible buttons on the top of the

    unit. The buttons can be programmed using any software tool kit that supports mouse gestures. Uses for the buttons include toggling

    reticules and indicators, zoom control, and motion control in virtual environments. The Virtual Binoculars are housed in a rugged plastic clamshell housing with sides cushioned by ergonomic rubber grips. A rubber heel

    in the top center of the shell adjusts interpupillary distance. Underneath is a standard-threaded tripod mount for statically mounting the

    binoculars using off-the-shelf fixtures. The binocular display system is designed for easy and unobtrusive mounting of tracking sensors

    internally or externally.

    Integrated Tripod Mount

    IPD Adjustment: 58-73mm. Weight: 36oz.

     The system can be adapted on a custom basis to simulate practically any binocular or monocular optical instrument. Successful

    implementations include simulated endoscope eyepieces, riflescopes, spotting scopes and a number of vehicle mounted sighting


    Optical: Monocular FOV (diagonal): 42?, 60?. Image Plane Focus: infinity to 0.5m. Pupil Diameter: 6mm Display Technology: 1" CRT Video Formats: 640x480 to 1280x1024 (multisync)

    Price: $14,000 (VGA) $16,500 (XGA) $25,000 (HiRes)

    Also: VDB-30 model. $3,400.

    n-vision, inc., 7915 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 1201, McLean, VA 22102, USA, 703.506.8808 voice sales@___om,

     Another model shown in use by NASA for training astronauts: NASA JPL NASA scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, California employ the Virtual Binoculars HiRes to scan the

    landscape of Mars, millions of miles away. The scientists report that the Virtual Binoculars give you a sense of spatial awareness that

    allows you to look around and feel like you are actually standing on Mars. Integrated with advanced graphics computers for Silicon

    Graphics, Sense8 visualization software, motion tracking from InterSense and stereo cameras mounted on the Sojourner surface

    exploration vehicle, the Virtual Binoculars provide NASA scientists with realistic, high-resolution images of the Martian views captured

    by the distant cameras. In addition to viewing the Martian scenery, NASA scientists use the integrated Virtual Binoculars system to

    navigate a visual user interface developed to archive data and comments about the surface features of Mars. Image at:

    There's a Quicktime movie of limited interest at: ============================================================================


    Binocular List #203: 31 January 2002.


Subject: New book on Barr & Stroud binoculars.

    From: Peter Abrahams

     Bill Reid has distilled his work on Barr & Stroud into a new book, 'Barr & Stroud Binoculars and the Royal Navy'.

     I'll be posting a review of it, but meanwhile I can recommend it as a truly excellent, in depth history, of a topic in the development of


     Amazon books on line does have it, at list price, but I warn you that if you buy from them, they will send you advertising emails

    seemingly forever, saying that 'you can stop these spams if you log into our web site using your password', and I don't believe I ever

    got a password. An annoying business. Try your local bookstore first; but I would guess that a lot of them won't be able to find it.

    Even Amazon didn't have the ISBN.

    Reid, William. Barr & Stroud Binoculars and the Royal Navy. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 2001. (176pp) List Price: $39.95 (US) 20 pounds (UK). ISBN 1-901663-66-3.


Subject: Steiners

    From: "William Cook" <>

    >Steiner's "Sparc Coatings" (Semi-Penetrating-anti-reflective-Coating)?

     The ―S‖ in SPARC does not stand for ―Semi.‖ The rights to NAVY ONE have been purchased by the Trogdon family of Weems & Plath of Annapolis read nice, honest people. They have asked me to help them slice through the shuck and jive in the ads from the previous importer. I can‘t include the whole letter here – but I did want to pass along a couple of my points:


    ―…SPARC (Simulated Penetration Anti-Reflection Coating)…‖

     Let‘s suppose for a moment that James Cagney stood before you and emptied his Tommy Gun into your chest. If the ―Penetration‖

    was ―Simulated,‖ would you be injured? There is no such term in the optical industry. Fortunately, they did not go on, as they have in

    previous ads, with: ―reflects electro-magnetic waves back into the light beam.‖


    ―No Thorium content.‖

     I am ecstatic knowing that an element which hasn‘t been used in commercial binoculars in many decades has also NOT been used

    in the Navy One. I feel much better knowing that. Thorium was used in some military equipment during WWII. However, it was

    controlled. It was also used in certain aerial camera lenses. -----

    Just a thought,

    William J. Cook, Chief Opticalman, USNR-Ret.

    Manager, Precision Instruments & Optics, Captain's Nautical Supplies, Seattle ========================================================

Subject: Steiners

    From: "Loren A. Busch" <>

     I don't know how many Steiners are still in service with the US military, but weren't there reports of up to 100,000 of them showing at

    at various DRO facilities right after Desert Storm, the first real test for the Steiners??

     Also, after watching binos coming in for repair for five plus years, I saw far more Steiners coming in than Fuji's, and most of those

    went to the factory. I can say this for Stiener: Most of the stuff going to their factory was fixed at a quite reasonable cost to the owner.

    When not fixable, Steiner always offered an equivalent factory refurb in exchange and again at a reasonable price. Good follow up

    policy on a mediocre product. Their reputation seems to be based on their advertising. ============================================================

Subject: Nikon

    From: "Loren A. Busch" <>

     If Ken can find (now out of production) Nikon 8x30 E he should look at it. The new Nikon EII series is as good or better,

    approaching the Superior E series.


Subject: Porro prism binoculars and Steiner

    From: Arthur Tenenholtz <>

     Kenny J writes, from England, of the paucity of 8x, and higher power porro prism binoculars, with center focussing. I cannot write of

    the quality, but the Swarovski Habicht binoculars are available in 7x, 8x and 10x. One salesman told me that they were the equal of

    the roof prism Zeiss binoculars. As mentioned, for close viewing porro prism glasses give more plasticity or depth than do roof prism

    binoculars, which may have something to do with the perceived greater depth of field of the porro type. If any one wishes to help me

    choose among the Leica, Zeiss and Swarovski Habicht 7x42, I would welcome his advice.

     I am interested in a top notch, modern 7x42 glass because I find 8x rather hard to hold steady for star gazing. Additionally, the

    annual ephemiris of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada used to have an article, which stated that by middle age the pupil

    cannot dilate wider than 6mm. This means that a 7x50, with a 7mm exit pupil is wasted on an old fogey like me. I am currently of the

    opinion that 7x40 or 7x42 is the best compromise for hand held star gazing.

     A correspondent, from a rural Georgian area, informed me that an old pair of Square D binoculars were superior to Navy Ones for

    moon gazing. He was a bit upset because he had just sold me the Square D glass. Apparently Navy One has something to do with


     Writing of the ephemeris reminds me that all American readers, east of the Rockies, should be aware of the occultation of Saturn

    by the moon, on the evening of February 22nd. The best part may be emergence of the planet from illuminated limb of the moon.

    With good wishes to all, Arthur Tenenholtz


Subject: Multi-magnification binoculars

    From: Arnold Cohen <ancohen@___t>

     RE:Duovid binocs from Leica. I just acquired an interesting glass from c.1938(At least the case has that date written in the lid, and

    by gross inspection the 1930s would seem correct.) Lemaire, stereo, made in Paris on the left and Changeable 8-10-12 on the right

    telescope cover. They are an uncoated, Porro I, 30mm objective, center focus binocular with interesting oculars. They rotate with

    distinct click stops at the three powers and in so doing rotate a different ocular lens into the center of the eyecup and simultaneously

    the ocular moves up and down, thus remaining parfocal/in focus, much like a good microscope when rotating the turret objectives. The

    image is remarkable sharp, esp. for a French glass!! and the mechanics smooth and precise. While it certainly cannot compare to a

    modern Leica, it does prove that there is nothing new under the sun!! Arnie ========================================================

Subject: Fujinon (and Steiner)

    From: "Rolf Penzias" <>

     Although I have only looked through one Steiner - an 8x30 "military" - I have to say I was not impressed at all either. Of course

    military equipment is often selected for reasons over and above excellence in design, fabrication and function. But the "mil spec" label

    often carries much weight when it comes to marketing.

     Another item I was not impressed by (mentioned in a past bino list), the "Apache" 7x25(?) binocular. The one and only I have

    handled at a gunshow felt solid enough - until I put them to my eyes. The image appeared so dark and dull I glanced at the lenses to

    check for accumulated soiling. Seeing none, I set them down and quickly walked - not wishing to say anything to offend the seller -

    who looked as if he believed he had a premium piece of gear for sale.

     Subject: The sad slow demise of centre -focus porro -prisms ? (and the prices on items in the U.K. much higher compared to the


     Having lived in the U.K. for many years I noticed this with many items. I would have thought that the "Value Added Tax" would be at

    least partially balanced by shipping costs here to the U.S.A. But American importers probably buy and ship in such numbers that they

    get discounts unavailable to any in the U.K. and pass that savings on to greater and lesser degrees depending on the item, and the

    U.S. market. Much like large discount chains buy at costs that allow them to retail at prices below what small specialist retailers pay


     Subject: Edmund Scientifics -- How the mighty have fallen

     Mr. Cook wrote: "...I just got the latest copy of the SCIENTIFICS catalog and flipped through the binocular section. When I first see a

    bunch of shuck and jive, my natural reaction is, "Here is someone else, trying to rip-off their fellow man." However, with all the blarney I

    saw in those ads, it was plain to see that they were written by someone who probably really thought he knew what he was talking


     I often get the impression that engineers and techs in many fields must howl - with laughter and/or perhaps pain - when they see

    some of the marketing junk published about their goods. This no doubt often takes place in marketing for a given item or product line at

    retail level. But I have also observed such things in factory ads or promotions, and do not understand why such material is not routed

    through engineers, techs and other product developement staff for final edit or veto before being sent off for print and distribution. In

    these cases perhaps it is due to the use of contracted "marketeers". Best regards, Rolf


Subject: Replies, 'virtual' binoculars

    From: "William Cook" <>

     Dear Kenny: Thank you for your kind words. I really do get my knickers in a twist when people are out there making millions of

    dollars in profit a year having their lunitic lies eaten up by a ill-informed customer base. "Only two things are infinite; the universe and the stupidity of makind. . . .and I'm not really certain about the former." ----Albert Einstein

As far as what I think about "virtual" binoculars:

    a) The resolution will not be as good as with real binoculars. b) constructing it as an electronic device, and not an optical device, collimation will be a bear. And just because the designers work for

    JPL or NASA, you may not conclude that they have more than a basic underestanding of collimation. Cory and I have had to save

    those types from themselves on more than one ocassion.

    c) If such a device could give one an up close and personal view of the surface of Mars (as indicated in one of the posts), at least if I

    didn't breeze through it too quickly, we would have no need for Palomar, Keck or Hubble. D) I am all in favor of the advancements in technology. However, for the time being, I would only be willing to purchase "virtual

    binoculars" with "virtual dollars" -- the real dollars are MUCH too hard to come by. Kindest Regards, Bill


Subject: Japanese binocular industry.

    I posted scans of a collection of photos provided by David Bushnell. They show the Fuji Film Company; and Fuji Photo Optical, Omiya

    Japan; in May of 1953. I'll soon be posting this list on the web site, with some brief explanations. The file names give names of

    persons, when known, or a clue about what is going on in the photo. The plan is, to write up what little we have on Japanese binocular production, post that with these photos, and then I'll lean on a couple

    of list members who know big names in the Japanese binocular business, to forward a note to these persons. We'll try to persuade

    them that there are people seriously interested in the history of the Japanese optical industry, and that we need to get the information

    in the near future, before it is unavailable. 36k 114k 131k 132k 106k 130k 108k 127k 79k 96k 107k 95k 132k 111k 124k 77k 140k 104k 147k 139k 197k 157k 160k 137k 146k 160k 131k 137k 127k 124k 45k 45k 95k 81k 106k 120k 60k 202k ==============================================


    Binocular List #204: 05 February 2002.


Subject: Thorium

    From: "randle dewees" <>

     Radioactive materials in optics: The thorium content requirement is still relevant in the industrial and military optics world. For

    visible band optics the need for radioactive elements is long gone but the boiler plate 'content requirement' will probably live on and

    crop up in odd places as long as optics are being made that do use radioactive ingredients. Thorium fluoride is still commonly used

    for anti-reflection coatings for infrared lenses. Thorium and other radioactive elements are presently being experimented with in heavy

    metal fluoride IR transmitting glasses for high energy laser (HEL) purposes. If anything, antireflection coatings using thorium fluoride

    are coming back in vogue for critical HEL use. For the IR FLIR systems I design and build I used coatings that do not contain

    radioactive materials, but only because these systems can tolerate slightly diminished performance. I do occasionally refurbish and

    make optics that use radioactive materials and I follow standard industrial hygiene guidelines, and I document the radioactive content

    for downstream users of these optics. Randle Dewees


Subject: Japanese 18 x 50

    From: "Grimsey" <>

    A bit of help required. I have just acquired a pair of Japanese 18X50 prismatics that I have never heard of before . On the top plates

    are Left hand side CHIYOKO i na lens outline like Zeiss. Right hand side Model name CLIO field of view 3.0 degrees. They look to be

    a copy of a Zeiss design and are quite good to look through. Any information would be appreciated. regards Phil Grimsey


Subject: Navy One

    From: "Herman, Mike" <MHerman@___rg>

     Regarding the comments on the Navy One Binocular and SPARC coating, etc, I would be interested in seeing the full text of Mr.

    Cook's letter to the Trogdon family, if it is available. I would also like to know his opinion (and that of others on this list) of the Navy

    One 7x50 Binocular (putting aside the well merited criticism of the marketing hype used by Pioneer, the former importers).


Subject: " Virtual Binocular Confusion "

    From: Kennyj2@___m

    To all list members .

     Just the presence of Bill Cook's comments regarding "virtual binocs" in the last post must have confused readers even more than the

    content !

     Having read the article about these mind -boggling instruments in the previous bulletin I had sent Bill a private e-mail asking his

    valued opinion on this "giant leap in optical technology " with special regard to the price and serviceability of such hi -tech

    instruments . I figured that any repairs to such would likely require specialist skills and knowledge developed in areas of study and

    experience considerably removed from those possessed by "traditional" optical technicians amongst whom the likes of Cory A.

    Suddarth and W.J. Cook himself are so rightfully well respected .

     Unless I win the National Lottery Jackpot , I doubt very much that I will ever be purchasing a " virtual binocular " ( and if they are as

    good as the article suggests the wife and kids would probably want one each too ! ) but this does not prevent me from being curious

    about aspects such as whether or not , even at $25,000 for the high resolution version, the customer gets any more than the standard

one year warranty that comes with most other "electronic gadgetry " goods . I was rather hoping that my query would bring the "

    humourous " side out of Bill and was not disappointed in that respect . In fact on a lighter -hearted note , I hasten to add that there was

    no mention of whether or not a soft leather carrying case , de -luxe neck -strap or cleaning cloth was included in the price !

     Back to reality , I thank Loren A. Busch for his thoughtful suggestion regarding the older Nikon 8 x 30 and Arthur Tenenholtz for

    bringing to my attention the older Swarovksi porro -prism models .

     I think the "shrinking pupil dilation theory " could easily be proved to be true in the case of most ageing eyes , although I have read

    ( somewhere ) of exceptions .

     Sky and Telescope's Alan MacRobert ( again somewhere / sometime - I can't remember ) explained what I recall as being two

    simple D.I.Y ways to measure one's maximum pupil dilation . He is also one of very few " binocular experts " I have read who tends to

    support my own observations that 7 x 50s in general are somewhat "overrated" instruments for astromomy purposes , except for young

    eyes in very dark skies . Good luck Arthur with your selection process !


Subject: Introduction

    From: "James J. Gorman" <>

     Hello, My name is James J. Gorman, and I have been collecting binoculars fairly seriously now for about five years. I am an

    aeronautical engineer by training (BS & MS @___ specializing now and for about the past twenty five years in advanced materials. I

    am intrigued by the unusual confluence of science, engineering, art, and craft represented by the best binoculars, and suppose that I

    am most interested in the development of their technology and mechanics. To that I must add that I live about 30 miles west of

    Boston Massachusetts in an area that still permits "walks in the country" and always take along one or more of my perhaps 40

    glasses for use and comparative critique of the different types. I am interested primarily in prismatics, generally from the turn of the

    last century to perhaps the 1960s. There is little in the past 30 years in binoculars that grabs my interest, except perhaps the

    possibilities of gyro-stabilization. With respect to that issue, however, I will always rather pay for optical quality than electro-

    mechanical gizmos. I have a very soft spot for Porro II binoculars in general and Ross binoculars (Porro I & II) in particular. Being a

    designer of aerospace structures myself drives my interest in the direction of figuring out the different and sometimes unique ways the

    binocular designers traded-off power, resolution, brightness, bulk, and general utility. I tend perhaps toward the more eclectic

    solutions to this general design problem, which is why the Porro II ond other less common prism systems appeal. I have some

    professional experience with optics, from the viewpoint of constructing optical benches and telescope tubes of Graphite/Epoxy

    composites for customers ranging from hobbyists to NASA. Over the past five years I have developed happy and illuminating relationships with several collectors and dealers in the USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. I have been very lucky to find

    individuals who are generous of their time and experience to guide this developing interest. My Holy Grail at present is to find a mint

    condition SARD 6 x 42 Mark 43 binocular, a quest that is proving to be challenging as I am sure you are aware. The problems of

    achieving sharp wide field images in a user friendly fashion are of course challenging, and several other wide field glasses of some

    reputation have only served to show how difficult it is to do properly. It seems particularly difficult in my case, since my IPD is always

    at the upper extremity of a binocular's adjustment. Anyway, this note gives you some idea of my interests, which tend to be

    technical/performance related rather than "collectability" related. I look forward to some interesting interchanges. Thanks, Jim



Subject: Photos of Japanese industry

    I scanned & posted the last of some photos provided by David Bushnell. I am hoping we can identify the 'unknown' factory (and its

    beautiful 'optiker').

     Fuji Meibo factory, 1950 Installing prism cluster in binocular --95kb Assembling binoculars --117kb Lens coating vacuum jar --178kb Lens coating rack & vacuum jar --153kb Collimation --115kb Lens grinding & polishing --83kb Polishing a group of lenses --99kb Machining barrels --133kb ------------- Kowa engineer Narimatsu on right --58kb --------------

     An unknown factory; one photo shows a Tamron part. Assembling binoculars; building exterior --82k Assembly; finished binocular --63kb Inspecting, coating, Kanji found in scrapbook --94kb Designers --60kb Lens grinding & polishing machines --51kb Machining metal parts --81kb Baseball & Judo teams, 'Tai Sei' --80kb A worker --51kb Several workers --57kb



    Binocular List #205: 09 February 2002.


Subject: Japanese 18 x 50

    From: nekogahora <PXA06470@___com>

    >Japanese 18X50, CHIYOKO in a lens outline like Zeiss, CLIO field of view 3.0 degrees.

     Chiyoko brand was used by Chiyoda Kogaku (now Minolta) as late as early '60s. They began manufacturing binoculars in the WWII

    era and exported a good number in the postwar era. The pair look to be made in the '50s as they have no MIOJ markings. Hayao


Subject: Leupold 7 x 30 Golden Ring Binoculars

    From: Thomas Press

     I recently acquired a Leupold 7 x 30 I.F Porro Golden Ring binocular, and wondered if you or anyone on the list has any information

    as to the actual maker? It's a somewhat unusual configuration, and the diopters are click stopped but the overall appearance and

    diopter markings are very similar to the late lamented Bausch & Lomb Japanese Zephyrs and Discoverers.

     All that Leupold will tell is that this binocular was imported from Japan in the early 1980's and that it is still covered by their Golden

    Ring Lifetime Warranty. There are no JB#s in the usual places and the identification of Japan as the country of origin is truly hidden -

    simply the word 'Japan' in tiny letters on the right telescope near the hinge, very similar to the tiny reference to Portugal as the country

    of origin for the current Leica compacts. Good binocular, by the way, very sharp to the edges, fairly wide field (7.8 degrees), excellent

    depth of field and very handy. Not waterproof or fogproof, unfortunately, but still a very useful binocular in the field. Best regards,



     Leupold is a very interesting company, located about 10 miles from my home, outside Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1907 to repair

    surveying instruments, they began manufacturing surveying transits & instruments in 1907, and have been very successful at

    producing rifle scopes since 1947. They branched out into binoculars with some success. Their top of the line 'Gold Ring' binoculars

    are very fine, although the compact models are merely good. The less expensive 'Wind River' models are mostly mediocre to good. I

    posted a review of the Leupold Gold Ring 10 x 40 and 9 x 25 binoculars in list 88.

     Prior to 1992, Leupold sold imported binoculars, including some with the 'Golden Ring' designation. In 1992, Leupold introduced 9 x

    25 and 10 x 28 'Golden Ring' models. These 'Golden Ring' models were designed and prototyped at their Beaverton, Oregon plant.

    The lenses and prisms were made in Japan, the bodies were made and the binoculars were assembled in Beaverton. Some reports

    say the compacts were entirely made here.

     In 1992, the 'Golden Ring' was taken off imported binoculars, and in 1994, all imports were labeled 'Wind River, imported by Leupold'.

    In 1996, Leupold introduced Golden Ring 8 x 32, 10 x 40, and 12 x 50 binoculars, similarly designed & fabricated in Beaverton, using

    imported glass parts. As of about one year ago, they ceased production of binoculars, and if my information is correct, any new

    models sold with their name are manufactured elsewhere. I have not found a JB number on Leupold binoculars, some at lease use

    Kyocera optics. Leupold showed remarkable discernment in selecting Wright Scidmore to design the 'Golden Ring' series of

    binoculars. Scidmore graduated Columbia (in optometry) in 1950, had a long career of designing optics for the U.S. military, being

    involved in the design of the M19 binocular - at least peripherally. The 'Scidmore' eyepiece of the 1960s is a very wide angle ocular

    that is a predecessor to the Nagler eyepieces; the patents for the Naglers refer to Scidmore's patents. Scidmore did not publish many

    articles, but the few that appeared were very creative: a 50cm f1 catadioptric objective, and a binocular with 140 degree true fov

    ('overlapping monoculars').

     I wrote in an early list: During a visit to Leupold, we discussed the use of an industrial x-ray machine to help reverse engineer old

    binoculars. I had been told by a lens designer that x-rays could be used to help determine the type of eyepiece in an instrument, and

    that instrument makers use it for similar purposes. I loaned Leupold a Hensoldt 8 x 30 Diarex (uses mirrors instead of prisms) and a

    Minox T8 Taschen-Teleskop (folded optical path to produce a low power telescope the size of a stack of 10 credit cards), which they

    had radiographed. The electronic scan of the x-ray is not particularly successful, and little detail is visible, but perhaps this will

    encourage others to pursue this field. Any city has an industrial x-ray business. I am grateful to Leupold for providing this image. It is

    posted at: An x-ray of a Hensoldt 8 x 30 Diarex and a Minox T8 Taschen-Teleskop. 88 kb.

    Leupold's web page:


Subject: Identify photos

    From: <>

     I just acquired these two old press release photos, from the text on the back, this is an italian sailor.

    dated january 19th 1943. The pics are probably taken earlier.

     But the bino? Which type is that?

     Close up


     Does anyone know?..Doesn?t look like a Zeiss tripod to me. Michael Simonsen ===============================================

Subject: Reid book

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