A sampling of exotic Zeiss binoculars

rev3The famous Zeiss scientist and manager, Ernst Abbe created the first commercially successful prism binocular 1894. The design was soon copied or near copied by almost every optical company across the world. This is a sample of an improvement of that design in monocular form. It is known as the rotating Marineglas with 5x and 10 eyepieces. These were an 1896 design and are exceeding rare to day in both binocular and monocular form.

Monoculars were made of each variant of the early binoculars which were typically marked with the name “Feldstecher” and the size of the magnification. The earliest were 4x, 6x and 8x. Soon after, this revolver and individual 5x and 10 sizes along with 7.5x and 12 x. These were all marked with a raised silver soder script rendering of the firms name. After 1904/5, the famous lens cell logo came into almost universal use at Zeiss.

About 1905, Zeiss began to use roof prisms in their binoculars. Such prisms were teleplaspioneered by the firm of Hensoldt in Wetzlar which became a part of the Zeiss family of companies at a later time. This picture shows a 3x binocular with the trademark of Teleplast. This trademark was also used for another contemporary 5x roof prism binocular and for the famous Scherenfernrohr trench binoculars. These are among the rarest of all Zeiss binoculars since they were made for a very short time.

As you can see, they had the wonderful attribute of being quite small and folded to fit into your pocket although a case was provided.

thebestZeiss made more variants of prism binoculars than any other firm. At first brass and heavy alloys were used to for the body of the binocular but over the time between 1905 and 1935, new improvement came to these glasses. Aluminum became stronger and less expensive. New oculars were computed and the quality of the glass available became better and better. In 1934, Dr. Smakula perfected the first lens coating process and they were soon incorporated into German military equipment. This pair of 8 x 60 H were a gigantic leap forward in design and coating. These were made before 1941 and were not available for civilian use. The light passage and the coating made this the best glass of their day and would challenge even the best binoculars of today. This was an example of the Nazi governments commitment to the best materials regardless of cost.

Additional examples of cost was no barrier to the product are these pair of special militaryteleflak binoculars. These were mounted on wide base rangefinder to seek out targets of various types from shore batteries, antiaircraft positions or artillery targeting sites. Special eye rests for long viewing periods and special long lens shades and protective devices were standard on these military issue. Many lessons were learned for postwar civilian products but most were claimed by Allied souvenir hunters and their like would never be produced again. Many special devices were added to these in case of gas attack, moisture prevention, cold and heat resistant solvents. These were usually marked with special military source codes instead of the name of the manufacturer. This was to lower the possibility of the manufacturer being targeted for bombing runs to lower manufacture and distribution to the military.

milpairWith all of the diverse uses of what was labeled optical munitions, the housing and the design was an especially major concern. These were to be mounted in various ships, bunkers, observation towers and equipment stanchions. Both of these binoculars are the same design but in radically different housing. These are both the same design as the rare prewar Septarem model and were the standard binocular issued to the U-boats in wooden cases containing 10 or more of the same model.

Zeiss made additional items such as sighting devices and special civilian and military telescopes of various types. Military catalogs are rarer than rare and even civilian catalog are prized.