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Remembered Today:

Ross binoculars


perejler
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Collecting binoculars, the periode from the 1890's to after WW1 are heavy represented. Recently I saw a Ross 8X with the name of the owner imprinted and beside that, the firm that sold it. The Binocular are english, it is sold in Sydney by Fairfax & Roberts, hold the owners name and a date, and have been found in france, where I bought it.

It's in bad shape ; it do work but the image are dull, the okulars are stuck one have been screwed off and placed again, the eyecups in bakelit are missing and the vear are that you will expect of an item made in brass and glass after some time in the ground. The corner dirt are earth beside it seem to have been wet causing surface corrosion.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20524129679/in/dateposted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20524148149/in/dateposted-public/

The firm who sold this Ross 6X with Serial Nr. 34987 and the markings on the bino are; "Fairfax & Roberts Sydney , Willanson March 13th 09".

Sadly we collect binoculars that function and some time later, we found one simular with bag and in perfect condision. But this don't mean that the original one can not be restored., nothing is broken, but it need a complete overhaul plus new eyecups from Uk.

I found this group to ask what "you think will be the best with this binocular that was owned by an australian, -- how could it end up in france, can that person be found from the name and date on the binoculars. I contacted the Sydney firm that still exist, but theur papers from those times, do not exist anymore.

Any advise are welcome.

Finaly the binocular we got that is identical it can be found in our binoculars collection when you look for Ross 8X.

Sorry it is difficult to add images, but the fora only allow a particular format I suppose.

Our collection are in F.b. so to enter that, you must be a member;

https://www.facebook.com/per.corell/media_set?set=a.10200768073022562.1073741825.1184722724&type=3

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Many privately owned binoculars and telescopes went with their owners to war or were donated to military units by patriotic owners. There was a shortage of suitable instruments made worse by the loss of Zeiss as a source.

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There is no trace of a soldier named WILLANSON but 347 named WILLIAMSON/

If 09 means 1909 it is possible that the owner did not go to France but gave or sold them to a soldier. Did you find them? Do you have a location?

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We was looking for early Ross binoculars, first and second serie, when by chance I looked at the frensh Ebay. Sometimes an item don't show up on the internasional listings but only in the contry where it is offered, and I am quite sure this pair have been stored for a very long time but the dameages from my limited knowleage seem to be corrosion typical for wet suroundings. The brass "rust" are like on antike brass items that been buried. Als inside looking thru the front lenses, the dirt has not entered thru air. a Rivit on the halve leather string carry a lot of "white rust" typical for brass that has been in a salty or wet inviroment.

I checked the name inscript again --- it is difficult to read, but maybe you can, atleast there are more than the surname now;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20701294466/in/dateposted-public/

The seller know nothing and the pair looks like it at some point have been tried being cleaned, but the wrong screwdriver has been used. The corrosion would not be there if it had been taken out once in a while, it is very dark and dense allmost covering all inscription, but you can look thru and the prisms even dirty, seem undameaged. It is a millitary model, a very early one and manufactoring date according to the lists, fit with the date, -- with uncirtainty maybe a few years before, as Ross started their numbering with item number one in 1899. From what I know. Anyway after 1907, all factories started to manufactor the binocular design as we know it today, as by that year, Zeiss's patent ran out and binoculars could show a longer distance between the lenses than between the okulars you look thru, offering a better stereoscopic view. But as these was sold in Sydney, they could have been in store for some years. --- A lot of gussing here.

Hope these new informations can lighten up the mysterie.

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Nice collection.

I cannot read the name properly. Looks like H Will....?

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This is a very important, It would be very nice if more about this piece can be uncovered. So I will se if it is possible, -- maybe with a bit chalk dust or something that leave no harm and can be removed again, to see if the letters can be made more clear.

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Many private binoculars was given to the millitary and those that were good, recived the arrow markings. In our collection one that never got that stand out, the "folding Minin" ;

"The Folding Minim" 5.5 x 16 by Negretti & Zambra London
The Company, which was formed in 1912, manufactured the Folding Minim binocular, designed by J.H.Barton. Only its very high purchase price stopped this binocular from becoming very popular.
World War 1 found Britain very short of quality binoculars and in June 1915 the War Office purchased 250 folding MINIMs from Negretti and Zambra for distribution to the Army, then posted to the Western Front."

Later when they was called back, only one Folding Minin surfaced.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20543165058/in/dateposted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20108562524/in/dateposted-public/

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Australian service records show 4 Henry and three Harolds. None with HN or N as a second name. Without a bill to original owner perhaps we will never know.

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Thank's, my own seartch also was brought to a hold when I tried asking Fairfax & Roberts Sydney, --- no records from that time existed. And even a prism binocular with their stamped name must be something of a Gem, they allready used a much simpler Theater binoculars they had restored for display. . But there are offcaurse many options, even it is rare to see a binocular that like this, has both date, name of owner and name of shop. Still even it was sold in Sydney, no one know more than what is printed on it, --- and offcaurse what traces there are.. But I am glad you spended some time looking up the name.

It was quite normal, that soldiers brought their own binoculars, many factories produced special small or flat binoculars round mag. 8 that would fit in a pocket and magnify more than the average army binoculars. Often the same binocular but under different names, was sold in both england, france and germany.

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No trace on CWGC. Does the seller know where they were found?

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The seller proberly got these in his shop and just put them on sale as a pair of antike binoculars, you has to be something of an expert to reconise the traces, just to know this is a millitary model, when and how it was interduced, what dameages binoculars from that periode will recive under different situations, -- but binoculars and esp. prism. binoculars, was very expensive in those years. 7£ 12 sh. was a lot of money back then when only very few would be able to pay that for a binocular. For a collector the existance of even 3 writings would have been extraordanary, but for the average Vintage/antike dealer, they are just old binoculars.

Shops like Fairfax & Roberts Sydney, and Negretti & Zambra London sold many different binoculars, here in copenhagen it was the firm "Cornelius Knudsen Kjøbenhavn" who sold all sorts of optics and some still exist today.--- thank's for the ad, I would not have found that,--

Binoculars were not something you could find and buy just like that. Most often the millitary had sole rights to buy all the bino's even produced and civilian had to apply to get permision, Millitary personell were allowed to buy, but the costs of a quality bino like this, Beside the fact it is a millitary model, could make a hope that there still are enough leads in the different writings on the bino, to trace it back. --- Even as I found out, papers from those times are long gone.

Thank you.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20568481390/in/dateposted-public/

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There is a website with Models and numbers. Your number seems to be quite rare.

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The bino in question have a Serial Nr. 34987, but the "new" one we found that is in mint condision are realy older by it's Serial or production no. 26328. Ross often in the first two series added a date round year 1900, but that pointed to the patent of that particular design, The date "March 13th 09", are not made by Ross but must have some important meaning for the first owner, and has nothing to do with the production date. -- These designs can easily be around year 1900 or before, but prism binoculars were so expensive that only very few could buy them.

Sad that we maneage our collection in a way where having such a Gem restored is out of question. That the seller lived in the border area with mainly german names for towns and places -- I looked it up being the area around Strasbourg, --- but this don't say anything, what I think are the important issue are that it is a binocular that hide a mysterie as how can a millitary binocular produced in england, sold in Sydney, by a person with a proberly englishname, end up being sold in france. -- Beside offcaurse the date another issue that it is proberly to late to uncover. But anyway from my small expert knowleage, I still wonder the dirt traces as they are not as what you usealy find with Antike binoculars. Again guessing, that if these has been found it would have been an expensive treasure and whoever found them, would see them as a pair of binoculars, not a war find as we see that today but anobject that can be used. Some Antike prism bino's that "changed side", lost the writing that could indicate the origine, many german binoculars had the writing removed, but this carry the full set plus more beside as I allready mentioned, the traces of dirt outside and inside, made _me_ wonder if they could be a warfield find.

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It seems that they could have been found anywhere. If it could be narrowed down it might be possible to confirm if the Australian Army were in the area.

With no record for the name on them it is impossible to know who they belonged to. The serial number on them is extremely rare?

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Thank's , -- yes it is one of the few lists even it from my point of view lack precise information about year for the particular pieces registrated. Still there are a wealth of just as important information there.

Sorry but I spended the day having an exebition of my paintings, so ; exhousted.

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With Antike binoculars, war relics often show up. Back before WW1 prism binoculars was very expensive and often civilian were simply not allowed to buy them. Millitary personell were often allowed to have a private binocular and the factories offered a a lower price then. But still such an "instrument" had a price tag of more than what most would earn in one even two month. The german binoculars often carried several nmbers ; serial number that most often reflected the production date, and a "private number" something most factories offered to point to the owner of the binocular, but beside these, a regiment number all way down to the group this particular item belonged. In these 3 foto's you can check how german Df 03 WW1 binoculars was marked;

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20228630784/in/dateposted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20851203085/in/dateposted-public/ --------- This "1 J/L" are a mysterie, no one has been able to decifer what that mean.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62811941@N00/20858373961/in/dateposted-public/

Still, our collection do not focus millitary binoculars. But many of the first prism. bino's were such as there was a demand for good binoculars. After both WW1 and WW2 these binoculars was often sold by the various armies and that way collectors could consider these, Still many was simply lost or dameaged, making the remaining samples rare gems. We hold several of the early millitary binoculars, but as with the Ross 8X there were an idea to try trace it, there with many of the others the writing are a code for what group the binocular belonged, --- still with the one in the foto's we did find out "what battles they saw".

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Sorry about my misspelled words, no exchouse but I often make these mails at a late hour. I guess the serial number are quite special. See Ross started the numbering at "one" and each new binocular recived next number. But from 1907 and forwerds, designs of allmost all binoculars except Zeiss changed. Zeiss by luck got a patent stating a design with a better stereoscopic image by the front lenses being further apart than the okulars you look thru. Untill 1907 everyone else had to make the lenses paralell as with this Ross or the opposite of zeiss, that the front lenses were more narrow than the okulars. A major barrier for develobment of new designs.

Beside Ross only produced round 30000 binoculars of first and second serie at 1907 where they made a sudden jump in the numbering and started that again with number 50000 . --- These are not exact facts, but near truth. Anyway, the bino in question carry number 34987, and that is allmost 5000 more than registrated in the link you mention. So I think the number are particular in some way, from some reson I don't know

Still as Ross produced of both of the first two series, both 4X opera bino's, 6X, 8X, 10X and 12 times magnificaton within these 30000 pieces, then there are only room for very small batches of each type. What I say are, that all these early Ross first and second serie, are rare when you consider how many must have been lost, dameaged beyond repair, jettisoned, -- very few must remain.

P.s. if this tread are better placed elsewhere, I don't mind. As for me it was difficult to find the right subject.

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Yes, as I said in the end of my last mail I think it is allright to move the tread. Reson I put it here was that there are only a few main subjects and none realy support this issue.

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Many privately owned binoculars and telescopes went with their owners to war or were donated to military units by patriotic owners. There was a shortage of suitable instruments made worse by the loss of Zeiss as a source.

Officially donated and accepted binos in British Army use would carry the Broad Arrow and an 'S' no. to indicate their grade as inspected on receipt, plus a registration no., theoreticaly - but probably not practically - for traceability.

Absence of these markings would effectively prove they were private purchases or gifts, if there's independent evidence they were in fact in military use.

Regards,

MikB

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