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jwp2007

Canadian officers binoculars ???

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jwp2007
Posted (edited)

Been sorting through my collection during the lockdown and came across these binoculars I picked up a couple of years ago in a local antique centre. my attention was drawn to the CEF officers name in the case, another name seems to have been added at some point, if you enlarge the name i think someone has gone over the original writing with a more modern pen at some time.

I googled the officers name and he did exist !

  

Lt. Col. W.O. Smyth
Swift Current's first lawyer and judge, W.O. Smyth was very active in Swift Current's armed defences both before and during World War I. He was the Commanding Officer of the Swift Current Squadron of the 27th Light Horse, but could not leave with the 27th for Active Duty because as a judge he was not permitted to leave his post. He was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel in October of 1914. It was W.O. Smyth who secured permission from Ottawa to raise the 209th Battalion of southwest Saskatchewan men. Smyth defied orders to not go on Active Service in order to accompany the 209th Battalion to Europe for a few weeks before he was called back to Canada by the Minister of Justice.

 

the case and binoculars makers dont match but found out the firm named on the bioculars made lenses for telescopes before the war then produced ones for binoculars during the war and assembled them using parts they bought in which may explain the missmatch. at some point one of the eyepieces has been replaced with a plastic one, they are broad arrow marked on the front.

Be interested to hear your thoughts on these, thanks, John.

IMG_20200520_100957.jpg

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more pics and a pic of the named officer.

IMG_20200520_101952.jpg

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IMG_20200520_101906.jpg

Edited by jwp2007

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MikB

Broadhurst Clarkson were one of the half-dozen or so pre-eminent telescope makers of the period. They started at that address in 1908 when Broadhurst bought out Clarkson, and effectively finished in (IIRC) 1972 when Broadhurst sold to Fuller. When I approached them (BCF) to see if they had production records of some types of telescope, they told me Broadhurst had destroyed all the records.

 

Although marked with a Broad Arrow, the central focussing suggests that this was built as a civilian glass - or else made out of components originally intended for the civilian market. It's pretty 'modern' for an early WW1 glass, though I don't know enough to be sure. It looks like a copy of a Zeiss design. If it was a civilian glass adopted during the emergency of 1914-15, I'd expect to see an 'S.1' engraved on it somewhere, with a registration number. It seems to have been overpainted at least once.

 

 

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jwp2007

thank you for your reply, most interesting. have looked to see if i can find any other markings, only thing visible is the number 3120 scratched very crudely inicated on photo,

many thanks once again.

 

 

IMG_20200520_101952.jpg

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MikB
Posted (edited)

I don't see how to go any further on this glass. It is *just* possible it's a fake - I've never seen the Broadhurst Clarkson logo use abbreviated names like that - 'BC & Co' in the lens cell graphic is usual, but I've not seen that either in instruments pre-dating the 1920s. The comma after '63' in the address doesn't look usual either. But I wouldn't put money on it either way.

 

Theoretically the 'London. E. C.' address suggests 1908 - 17, because that area became EC1 in the postal districts reorganisation of 1917 - but I've seen scopes still bearing the E.C. where I've had other reasons to suspect a later date, so I don't know if the change was universally applied. It took quite a few years for most people to accept and adopt postcodes in the UK around 1970.

 

The building still is called 'Telescope House' but the original shopfront is gone - a pity as it had a real Edwardian look. There appears to be a flat to let above it, for anybody with the required inclination - and funds!  :D

Edited by MikB

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jwp2007

thanks for that, be a shame if it is a fake but then i only paid £3.00 for them so no great loss :D

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Tom K
Posted (edited)

Binos, compasses and the like are not rare and on average do not command prices sufficient to go the trouble of faking them. 

 

The glasses are not original to the case as you have pointed out - the original Bausch and Lomb glasses that came with the case were War purchases by the Government of Canada, and by enterprising Officer's outfitters, from the USA beginning in 1914 (along with quantities of Sperry Gyroscope Company compasses, Colt .45 Model 1911 automatic pistols and Mills Equipment Co. Webbing Pistol belts).  

 

My first thought was that the glasses were post war - as MikB mentioned they look quite modern - they have been crudely overpainted black, so it is possible that some of the original markings (such as the aforementioned "S1") have vanished under the coat of paint. 

 

If you look through them, are there graticules (fine black lines for reference - like cross hairs in a telescopic sight) present in the field of view? 

 

It could be that Lt.Col. Smyth lost or damaged the original glasses and acquired a replacement pair, or, just as likely, the glasses and case bore no relation to one another until someone besides Lt.Col. Smyth united them; Someone with a loose pair of Binos acquired the empty case from a charity shop, at a car boot sale, etc.  after Lt.Col. Smyth disposed of it.

 

Still a very interesting pair of items and a real bargain to boot.

 

Tom K

 

Edited by Tom K

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jwp2007

thanks for your reply, no crosshairs visible in field of view, had a look on the net and came across this pair of broadhurst clarkson binocular which looks very similar and was said to be from the 1940s, so maybe WW2 mlitary issue ?, many thanks, John.

Untitled.png

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
Posted (edited)

The case is also stamped Bausch & Lomb, a big American optics company.

The name is still well known in British birdwatching circles as the trade name  is used by Bushnell, a British manufacturer of scopes and binoculars.

The Broad arrows look dodgy to me.

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

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jwp2007
56 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

The case is also stamped Bausch & Lomb, a big American optics company.

The name is still well known in British birdwatching circles as the trade name  is used by Bushnell, a British manufacturer of scopes and binoculars.

The Broad arrows look dodgy to me.

thanks for that, oh well for £3.00 was worth a punt :lol:

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
37 minutes ago, jwp2007 said:

thanks for that, oh well for £3.00 was worth a punt :lol:

The Bausch & Lomb stamp looks authentic and in keeping with their stated age. No problems with that.

Just the arrows don't  look right  to me.

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MikB
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Tom K said:

Binos, compasses and the like are not rare and on average do not command prices sufficient to go the trouble of faking them. 

 

...

 

Still a very interesting pair of items and a real bargain to boot.

 

Tom K

 

 

That's true enough now, but back in the day - say before the 1980s or so - binos were more expensive items and brand names actually had some connection with the makers (much less so today). Adding a prestigious name could more than repay the cost of doing it. Even now, there are lots of telescopes about bearing names and dates that are entirely spurious.

Edited by MikB

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PhilB

Was the abbreviation “Lieut-Col” standard in those days as opposed to the more usual “Lt-Col”?

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reese williams

Bausch & Lomb started in 1853 and became one of the top optics makers in the US. They had large military contracts from about 1900 through the end of WWII. They also supplied lots of binos to Canada in WWI. The case and logo are right for WWI/WWII B&L binoculars.

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jwp2007

thanks all for your input, not questioning just out of interest what is it thats dodgy about the broad arrows ? must admit have seen some that just appear to have been painted on freehand, always thought they looked dodgy ;) cheers, John.

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MikB

Bausch & Lomb copied Zeiss body and prism case design in early 20th C models, but went on to develop their own cast body style without separate covers for the prism cases at the objective end. This provides far stronger support for the objective lens cells, and most if not all of US WW2 designs are of that style.

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MikB
7 minutes ago, jwp2007 said:

thanks all for your input, not questioning just out of interest what is it thats dodgy about the broad arrows ? must admit have seen some that just appear to have been painted on freehand, always thought they looked dodgy ;) cheers, John.

They look as if they've been engraved freehand, whereas in the majority of WW1 binos, they're of a '3-converging-wedge' format that looks as if done either by machine or by expert hand technique. The 3 gashes on yours look more like WW2 or later markings that I've seen on telescopes. Personally, I'm quite happy to think they're genuine, but well-post WW1.

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jwp2007
58 minutes ago, MikB said:

They look as if they've been engraved freehand, whereas in the majority of WW1 binos, they're of a '3-converging-wedge' format that looks as if done either by machine or by expert hand technique. The 3 gashes on yours look more like WW2 or later markings that I've seen on telescopes. Personally, I'm quite happy to think they're genuine, but well-post WW1.

thank you, so it looks like a case from WW1 period and glasses from WW2, anyway I have had £3.00 worth of very interesting debate so that can't be bad :D

Cheers, John.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
2 hours ago, jwp2007 said:

what is it thats dodgy about the broad arrows ?

It doesn't look symmetrical, the arrow shaft doesn't look as though it's in the midline

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MikB
3 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

It doesn't look symmetrical, the arrow shaft doesn't look as though it's in the midline

 

True, but I've seen a casual style similar to that on WW2 Scout Regiment telescopes known to be genuine. I've wondered whether engraving was taught as a standard skill prior to and perhaps during WW1, but declined later. Certainly the standard of manual engraving seen on WW1 equipment is often very much higher.

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jwp2007

found these WW2 glasses on google, look quite crudely marked too !

 

 

Screenshot_2020-05-23 WWII British Binoculars with Case.png

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MikB

Here's a WW1 example. You can see it's done by hand, but there's a deliberate wedge effect obtained by (I think) starting the cut deep and shallowing it out. I've seen that on many WW1 instruments, but it seems the skill is gone, or at least rarer, by WW2.

1426234882_Tel_Sig.(Mk.III)Ross1915WelcombeHills310509007.jpg.e71532e8b2c73a4581940ee0e0067717.jpg

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

That's a fine example of a broad arrow.

Broad & symmetrical.

The stamp on the  binoculars is narrow and asymmetrical.

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MikB
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

That's a fine example of a broad arrow.

Broad & symmetrical.

The stamp on the  binoculars is narrow and asymmetrical.

 

Here's another, less perfect but showing similar technique and also illustrating the general standard of hand-engraving available to the WD inspectors in WW1. This telescope was presumably accepted in the emergency of 1914, with a very low registration number.

 

Why they gave it a 'Special, Grade 2" category when it was the top-of-the-range offering from one of the best optical makers in London, and the nickel-silver option (13 -oz lighter than brass) to boot, is something I wish I knew. Maybe it was too big, and too shiny - or maybe it just didn't fit the Army standard tripod... ?

NZLairdWDMkgs.jpg

Edited by MikB

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

I think the technique for stamping is similar to the way the ancient Assyrians wrote in Cuneiform script. Even though they used a regular square edged  wedge shaped stylus,  by pushing one side  in deeper, it gives that distinctive wedge shaped engraving.

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MikB
Posted (edited)

Well, even Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Modern Major General' claimed he could "write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform" :D.

 

But it looks as if a different graving technique was used for the alphanumerics.

Edited by MikB

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