In July 2000, I inquired via e-mail of Dr. Mergen at Hensoldt AG, " whether there exists a chronological list of Hensoldt (including 'bmj') binoculars according to type and serial number," and received the following:
"Thank you very much for your inquiry. Unfortunately at Hensoldt's a chronological list of Hensoldt binoculars according to type and serial number does not exist. A good overview over the different Hensoldt binoculars and their year of market launch you will find in
- Hans T. Seeger, Feldstecher, Verlag Bresser Optik, Borken, 1989
and an overview over the German Military Letter Codes and Hensoldt binoculars for the military you will find in
- Hans T. Seeger, Militärische Ferngläser, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-00-000457-2
- http://www.radix.net/~bbrown/codes_full.html where you also will find some more sources for information.
'The difficulty in matching Hensoldt serial numbers with the year of manufacturing is that obviously serial number only between 1 and 999 999 were given and after the serial number 999 999 was given they seem to have sarted with 1 again. As Hensoldt is manufacturing binoculars since 1897 we unfortunately do not know how many "cycles" the serial numbers went through and as we lost all our records, drawings, tools and spare parts in the aftermath of WWII, we regret being unable to locate the exact year of manufacturing of any Hensoldt binocular manufactured before 1945.
"Yours sincerely, Hensoldt AG Zeiss Gruppe Vertrieb Zeiss Ferngläser Dr. Mergen (Webmaster)"
Subject: Soviet glass
I use the Soviet era optical book by Begunov, et al. Cost was trivial . Do not know if it is still available. It was from Mir, Moscow, and was at collegebookstores in the 80s. Have you seen it, or have feel for Russian optics books?
I was very disappointed with the 15 x 110 and 20 x 110 that Mitch of Sovietski and Rivkin of Deutsche Optik were pushing. I wrote to Soviet Embassy in l970 after seeing one used in shot in Time mag during the Sino-Soviet brder problems. No response. Why all the yellow glass? They obviously copied the interocularspacing-prism lateral motion Cardano mechanism from the Zeiss 12 x 60 and 25 x 100. I wonder if they took any 12 x 70 or 15 x 90, if any were made, and if any were not first taken by u.s. or to Heidenheim? The 20 x 110 is too complicated, has yellow glass, weird distortion patterns, too many elements, etc, but is mechanically sounder than the 15 x 110 from Siberia. Every specimen, of both models, which I have seen has been out of collimation, though the comparatorless, collimatorless hack at Sovietski, moonlighting from Sweiss's , said one was ok. But definitely was not.
What is the story on the Kunming , etc copies of the East German copie/adaptations of the prewar Asembi? All these seem to be out of collimation, plus improper spacers, etc? Maybe Osborn will choose to shed some light on this topic. He was pushing those for a while. Or the French modifications of the WW II Busch 10 x 80? He had some of those also. --Gordon Rayner
Subject: Maker identification
From: "Grimsey" <grimsey@___ld.com>
Recently I picked up a small 8x25 porro binocular. It has a marking on the top left plate "Ruka Rathenow". Would that be the model i.e Ruka or the maker? Personally I have not heard of this before. They are coated of quite good quality, centre focus and have 2 prism adjusting screws on each housing. The quality of the leather case suggests they are far from cheap glasses.
Any information from the group would be welcome. regards Phil Grimsey