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Archives of an email list on the history of binoculars. - page 120 / 150

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inscriptions). All the inscriptions are machine-stamped on the covers and stand out in relief.

    At the front of the binocular, on the bridge near the right-hand housing cover, the serial number of the binocular is stamped: 8894. The right-hand optical unit contains a reticle in the form of a cross with scale but without numbering. The binocular is made partly of zinc (housing and bridge), partly of brass (front and rear housing covers, objective covers, the axis of the bridge, focus-adjusting knobs). Each front housing cover is fixed with 2 brass screws, each rear housing cover with 2 brass screws as well. The housing of the binocular is covered in black material (probably leather, fully-preserved) and all the remaining metal parts are painted black (about 80% of the black paint remaining).

    The binocular is complete with an apparently original medium-brown leather removable strap with brass rivets; the leather furniture and the carrying-case are missing. The eye-cups are made of bronze covered in black plastic (one eye-cup has a tiny chip through which metal is visible). The front part of the bridge has a large brass circular knob for fixing the bridge at the required interpupillary distances; the circular scale of interpupillary distances at the rear part of the axis of the bridge is missing (it must have been unscrewed and lost long ago). The binocular is in fairly good, unfalsified condition (its present condition is “as found”, without any attempts at restoration); it is functional, with slightly misaligned prisms and some small fungus growths on the glass surface in the right-hand optical unit (the damage to the optics is not severe and the binocular is still usable).

    It is obvious from the construction of the specimen (individual focus, the presence of a reticle, metal eye-cups covered in plastic, resemblance to the Goertz-Armee-Trieder Modell 1908 8 x 26) that it is a military binocular; however, no information about any Goertz Imperial Russian Army binoculars could so far be found in any English- or German-language sources or in the Internet (sources mention only Carl Zeiss military binoculars with Cyrillic inscriptions: Feldstecher 8 x from the first decade of the 20th century). The Sankt Petersburg branch of C. P. Goertz, established on January, 1st, 1905 (cf. Festschrift, p. 50), probably existed until the outbreak of the war in August 1914. Hans Seeger, in his book Militärische Ferngläser und Fernrohre, 2.3.4 - I, pages 83-101, writes: “By 1906, Goerz field glasses 'are officially introduced into the following countries: Germany, Russia, Austria, Hungary, England, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Rumania, Bulgaria, Greece, United States of North America' (text from a brochure)”, which suggests that this type of binocular might also have been officially introduced into the Russian Army.

    The numeral 663 stamped on the binocular may be a company product-number, since some Goertz products contain similar markings, e.g. the auxiliary artillery aiming-device (Hilfsrichtkreis), shown on page 61 of the Festschrift, is marked C.P. Goertz A.G. No 779. On the other hand, the number 663 might also mean something else. It not clear whether the binocular was made in Germany or in Russia, though the former is much more probable; the Festschrift, published in 1911, does not mention any binocular production carried in Russia at that time. The number of binoculars produced by Goertz for the Imperial Russian Army is unknown, but might have been quite significant (several thousand?). What makes this binocular particularly interesting is the striking fact that, paradoxically, during the I World War the same model of an excellent German binocular might have been used by German and Russian officers on opposite sides of the front, e.g. during the great battle of Tannenberg in 1914. Since Polish optical industry was established only in 1921, in the years 1918-1921 similar binoculars were also used in the newly-established Polish Army, especially during the war between Poland and Soviet Russia in 1919-1920 (they can be seen in photographs; they are sometimes Goertz-Armee-Trieder Modell 1908 8 x 26 or Goertz-Armee-Trieder Modell 1908 6 x 24). No doubt the situation in the newly-established Soviet Army was exactly the same.

    The Russian variation of Goertz 8 x 26 Dienstglas with Cyrillic markings is apparently quite rare nowadays. I hope the above information may be useful to those interested in the history of Goertz military binoculars or compiling databases of their serial numbers. Any information about German-made binoculars used by the Imperial Russian Army would be welcome.

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